What about teaching GO in Korea ? – Here an interesting insightabout GO and comparison with Western teaching…
reported by Paul Matthews (c/o [Go Tourney Ratings])
(Sunday November 2, 2014) – Students at the Feng Yun Go School got a special treat last month when [Kwon Kapyong] paid a visit. “Among other accomplishments, Mr. Kwon was [Lee Sedol]’s teacher,” reports Paul Matthews on the school’s website. “In fact, almost 20% of all Korean professional players were taught in his school.” Matthews reports that Feng Yun 9P “had a long talk with Mr. Kwon, and offered to help in his efforts to promote go in the United States.” They also discussed differences between teaching young students in Korea and in the United States. Parents in east Asian countries are willing to support their child in putting a lot of time into go study because there are more professional career opportunities there, American parents want to use go as an educational tool to train critical and logical thinking, problem solving, concentration, and good learning habits. The October 3 visit included a friendship match between six of Mr. Kwon’s students and the Parsippany students. Accompanying Mr. Kwon were Kim Young Ran, CEO of the Kwonkapyong International Baduk Academy, Joseph Sung, translator, and Kim Dae Yol, a very strong amateur player and go club entrepreneur in New Jersey.
(10/03/2014) – On October 3, [Kwon Kapyong] 8-dan professional from Korea visited Feng Yun’s go class in Parsippany, New Jersey. Among other accomplishments, Mr. Kwon was [Lee Sedol]’s teacher; in fact, almost 20% of all Korean professional players were taught in his school. Accompanying Mr. Kwon were Kim Young Ran, CEO of the Kwonkapyong International Baduk Academy, Joseph Sung, translator, and Kim Dae Yol, a very strong amateur player and go club entrepreneur in New Jersey.
Perspectives on Teaching Go
Feng Yun had a long talk with Mr. Kwon, and offered to help in his efforts to promote go in the United States. Feng Yun and Mr. Kwon also discussed differences between teaching young students in Korea and in the United States.
Everyone should know that there are more professional career opportunities for go players in east Asian countries such as Korea, China and Japan, than there are in the United States. Accordingly, parents in east Asian countries are willing to support their child in putting a lot of time into go study, and serious students may study 40 hours or more a week. In comparison, **American parents want to use go as an educational tool** to train critical and logical thinking, problem solving, concentration, and good learning habits; many hope that their child will win some distinction as an amateur player before going to college, and of course, playing go with other kids is a good social activity. For Americans, learning to play go is one of many desirable extracurricular activities, and most families divide their child’s available time to pursue several different ones. A central challenge for a professional go teacher in the United States is to enable students to make progress given the limited time commitments of the students.
Mr. Kwon told Feng Yun that he has about 200 students in Korea. Of these, 50 are professionals who study and train every day, all day long; 50 are inseis (strong amateurs who hope to become a professional) who study from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day; the rest of his students come to class at least three times a week. Mr. Kwon was amazed that many of Feng Yun’s students reach a high amateur dan level in just a few years, if they just attend class for a couple of hours once a week. Feng Yun explained that part of her formula is summer workshops where students can concentrate on go exclusively and surge forward; another part is to focus always on just what students really need to know so that every hour counts. Feng Yun also noted that creating a competition environment is important so that students can compare themselves with the other students and develop healthy rivalries: if a student is falling behind, then he/she is motivated to study harder to catch up.
Feng Yun told Mr. Kwon that, “*I do realize the cultural differences between West and East. Instead of training world champions, I adjust my goal and focus on teaching students to go as far on this road as they are willing and able.*” Basic questions for the students (and parents) are, “What level do you want to achieve?” and “How much time and effort are you willing to invest in studying this game?”
About Feng Yun
Feng Yun is a professional weiqi player who has taught thousands of students in the United States since 2002. She is one of only three women ever to earn a professional 9 dan rank, the highest possible, and was a member of the China National Weiqi Team for two decades. Feng Yun was women’s world champion in 1995, and has won national championships in China and in the United States.
Feng Yun started learning go in the Henan province of China when she was 9 years old, and became a professional player in 1979 at the age of 13. She was selected for the China National Weiqi Team in 1982, and retired from the National Team only after emigrating to the United States.
Please see the following for more biographical information.