Kailey Kim (Eunkyeol Kim 김은결) is a Minerva Baccalaureate student at Grace International Academy (GIA) in Seoul, South Korea.
Why did you choose to join the MBacc program and what were your initial impressions upon learning about the program?
When I read the book about Minerva University’s education, I knew it was what I was looking for. I have always looked for a passionate atmosphere with students who are eager to share ideas during and after class. I did not only want to learn for the tests; I wanted to create new ideas based on what I learn and implement them in real life. Of course, I was thrilled when I learned there was an actual education that encourages students to do what I desired, and even more so when I heard GIA partnered with Minerva Project to offer the Minerva Baccalaureate.
What is your favorite part of learning in the MBacc program at GIA?
My favorite part in the MBacc program is that it focuses on students' new ideas developed from existing concepts. I was in Korea’s lecture-style education in elementary and middle school and learned a great amount of raw information. But an MBacc class teaches not only the basic information but includes how the knowledge is applied in reality. Additionally, the learning outcomes (LOs), are trending among students when we have casual conversations. For example, if student A makes nonsense jokes, we reply, “OK, your #evidencebased and #sourcequality are highly questionable.” For another instance, when some students have a dispute, one might say, “I think our #interpretivelenses are different.” Like this, we just play around with LOs and apply them naturally in everyday situations. So I feel there are no boundaries between studying conditions and real-life conditions. We are already linking what we learned with practical situations automatically without pressure or any big effort.
What is the most challenging aspect of MBacc classes?
The most challenging part is time management, and consistent investment of time in the prework. If I do not invest enough time, I feel that I am acting passively in class, busy catching up on basic knowledge. Also, to get a maximized effect from what one learned, one should keep studying interesting fields beyond the classroom. Acting passively is the least desirable behavior in a Minerva education.
What is your favorite MBacc class and why? Can you describe a memorable moment in class or assignment from this class?
General high schools have no class that encourages students to develop and reflect on themselves apart from regular subjects. However, the MBacc program has a class called SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) which is my favorite. For example, when I am afraid and feeling uncomfortable about learning a new language, I objectively view myself by using #selfawareness skills and talk myself into having a “growth mindset” rather than a “fixed mindset”. Students tend to think of assignments as burdensome work to finish for study. However, one of the SEL assignments, “Stress, Inhibitory Control, and Exams”, had a purpose to help students stop procrastination and effectively manage their time. I thought this was a real opportunity to make a habit to manage time rather than just thinking of this as an assignment. I put extra effort into actually implementing this to solve my procrastination patterns.
What do your parents think about your MBacc experience?
My parents think this kind of new education is amazing and innovative because they have only experienced lecture style, teacher-focused education without interaction. They sometimes say they want to experience this too, advising me to work harder and to be thankful. And of course, I am so grateful for my parents openly supporting and accepting my choice to take this chance.
How do you feel that MBacc is preparing you for your future, academically or otherwise?
After experiencing the MBacc program for 3 months, I am sure it gives a definite advantage to students for the future. MBacc provides a class environment that accelerates relationship skills as well as a growth mindset. In every class, we have breakout rooms to discuss class materials. To have a discussion, we inevitably have to talk to other students. If I encounter students who have different perspectives, we have to compromise to reach a decision. No matter how close students in break-out rooms are, I have to be open to the best collaboration and outcome so that I automatically have to practice relationship skills. In society, we will have to meet more diverse people and unexpected new circumstances. MBacc students will already be familiar with sharing perspectives in those situations.
What advice would you give to a new MBacc student?
If you like to express your point of view or if you are afraid of expressing your thoughts but want to learn how to do so, the MBacc program will definitely fit you because it provides limitless opportunities to speak up. Explore your own interests to not only learn the minimum amount in class but to apply that knowledge into your field.