Korean drama "Descendants of the Sun" series meets school physics tests

By An Hong   April 26, 2016 | 12:50 am PT
If there is any way to make exams less stressful, some high school teachers in Vietnam have absolutely nailed it.

Some Vietnamese high school teachers have added questions about a popular Korean television drama, which has recently swept millions across Asia off their feet, to test papers in the hope it will motivate students to ace their tests.

The hit South Korean drama series titled “Descendants of the Sun” tells the story of an army captain on a peacekeeping mission to a fictional war-torn country, where he meets and falls in love with a surgeon working with a medical non-profit organization.

The drama has not only obsessed millions of Asian viewers but also caught the attention of politicians who have applauded the drama for its sense of sacrifice, loyalty and duty.


A high school student posted a picture on Facebook and captioned it "The 13th and 14th questions (on 'Descendants of the Sun' drama), we fans will surely ace them at a glance!"

A high school in the central province of Quang Tri is the latest to join the trend with teachers taking a passage from a news piece about the drama series and using it in the final literature exam for 12th graders.

By basing the questions around the drama series, the school board was trying to mix knowledge with something exciting that would spark creativity in students and instill a sense of patriotism among them, said the deputy head master of Le Quy Don High School.

A Facebook user posted a picture of English test questions on the drama and captioned it: “The 13th and 14th questions, we fans will surely ace them at a glance”.

People think physics is hard. Would physics problems be less tricky if they were based around a Korean drama series with a military romance? Teachers from Nguyen Huu Tho High School in Ho Chi Minh City believe they would so they've included a famous scene from the drama in their test papers where the lead actor flips the phone out of the lead actress’ hand.


Phone-flipping scene 

Don’t encourage our children!

However, not everyone is impressed and some have questioned whether Korean pop culture is getting out of control. Many, especially parents, have voiced their concerns about the influence of Korean pop culture on Vietnamese teenagers.

"As parents we are trying to educate our children to live a meaningful life, not idolize celebrities and pop stars, so why are teachers doing the exact opposite?” said a VnExpress reader in a comment.

Some teachers don’t think this will make more students interested in learning physics. They said asking questions about the drama series is a sure-fire way of getting their attention, but it’s more likely that their attention will focus more on the entertainment side rather than the learning aspect.

Following strong complaints and public opposition, the headmaster of a high school in Ho Chi Minh City was forced to admit the physics test questions were not “appropriate”. But he also clearly explained that what the school board had tried to do was in line with the spirit of educational reform.

Teachers traditionally include “interesting current affairs” and “matters of daily life” in social science subjects and now this has also been applied to natural science subjects such as physics, he added.

The headmaster said the school would be more careful about choosing examples to put on its test papers in the future.

“The ultimate goal of examination reform is to bring about changes to the way subjects are taught and studied in school. Test questions that were designed without careful thought reflect nothing more than a change on the outside,” said an education expert.

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