Agora in Sookmyung
Agora in Sookmyung
  • Bae Hyewon, Lim Yunjung
  • 승인 2009.09.08 18:08
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Agora in Sookmyung
The Discussion clubs enlarge their view and relationships through ‘Discussion.’ Their debating form and
character are different, but their merits and pride are quite similar. They can go on step forward,
communicating with each other. Also, they learn being proud and speaking logically through their
members. With a wide view, the Sookmyung Times (SMT) met three different discussion clubs and listened
carefully about their real discussion.

Modern Virtue of Lightning Bugs and Snow - Hyungsuljigong

Answered by NAM Sunkyung (NAM) who is the representative in Hyungsuljigong SMT Please introduce your club, Hyungsuljigong. NAM Hyungsuljigong which is a meeting to feel keenly and overcome undergraduate’s lack of leadership skill was established in September in 2006. In Hyungsuljigong, members are induced to write reports about subjects directly and we cultivate knowledge through reading and offer the chance to read various texts
based on Eastern and Western literature. Also, we exchange opinions to train critical thought ability through a weekly meeting and discussion.

SMT What are your special events in your club? Otherwise, do you have
outside events in which you participate regularly or occasionally in Hyungsuljigong?

NAM There are events like opening semester meeting, ending semester meeting, teachers’ day and the
foundation day. We celebrate teacher’s day with a mind of thanks toward Professor Lee Eunja who participates in
the discussion in the vortex of busy work together. And we have a cozy party to commemorate September 7th when our club was established. On teachers’ day and the foundation day, we have a meeting where our seniors and juniors join together. As outside events, club members individually participate in the Sookmyung Debating Contest and received an encouraging prize in the 2007 Sookmyung Debating Contest.

SMT Among many debate methods, Hyungsuljigong has selected brainstorming. What is a clear definition
of brainstorming?

NAM  It is called brainstorming debating profoundly with one topic and numerous people. Every week the announcer selects a subject that she wants to discuss in a specified book. Therefore the debating is not limited to only the subject. Every debater can speak various matters on current issues in the contents of the book. Before beginning school, the specified book was selected by each announcer freely. The books are basically
Eastern or Western classic books and we always accept recommendations about books. The book is decided by meeting with members and a professor at last.

SMT Through this club, what can members obtain?

NAM  The most important thing in debate is listening closely. If you do not listen to the other’s speaking, you cannot important trying to listening carefully to others’ speech. Through debate time, members of Hyungsuljogong can cultivate how to listen correctly. Not only during debating time, in Hyungsuljigong, but every time members become confident when they speak in front of other people. Ability to arrange opinions and speak logically is also enhanced too. Above all, Hyungsuljigong provides a chance to interact with classic books so that we can raise thinking of humanity.




We Debate the World -SMDC (Sookmyung Debating Club)
Answered by Choi Soojeong (CHOI) who is the representative of SMDC

SMT Introduce SMDC Please.

CHOI SMDC was made by Sookmyung’s seniors and professors with the intent of leading student’s debate culture. Chief Professor in the College of Social Science, Hong Kyuduck, has been coaching and
leading SMDC with affection for ten years. SMDC meets every Tuesday at six o’clock. The meeting is for about two hours. Except for the basic meeting, there are small gatherings such as Speech club and study groups. Now, Newspaper study group and Philosophy study group are working. Moreover, to enhance mutual friendship, SMDC has colorful events like picnics, membership training (M.T.), and cultural trips.

SMT Among the various methods, which debate method is used in SMDC?

CHOI As informal debate format,
brainstorming with host is representative. Because brainstorming does not limit the number of participants, it is effective in raising participation levels. However, SMDC has numerous members when we use brainstorming methods, and some people cannot get a chance to speak. Therefore, sometimes SMDC uses formal
debate format, for example, SEDA, Karl popper debate or Sookmyung debate which is a transformed Karl popper
debate. These formal formats have rules and set times to each debater. SMDC is trying to experience various debate methods. In addition, subjects are selected on social issues, for example, ‘Why man should be moral.’ The
standard to choose subjects is how clear the arguments for and against become and how meaningful it is to discuss.

SMT For mature debate manners, what training is needed?

CHOI As the formal debate is given much more weight in SMDC, we should concentrate on courtesy toward audience and counterparts. Listening carefully to another person’s speech and consideration for audience become
paramount because debate is not speech for oneself. To increase this ability, SMDC exchanges Comments together. After debates, students playing the audience role give feedback about the debaters’ manners, persuasive power, or defective points. Then, the debaters perceive their weaknesses and reflect for the next debate meeting and they grow. It is not easy to prepare debate. However it is a good chance to develop confidence and speech ability while persuading others of one’s opinion. SMDC also possesses the advantage of overflowing joy caused by
personal growth.

SMT What is the SMU-SOCKOR?

CHOI The meeting among SMDC members and military men from SOCKOR (Special Operation Command Korea) call their family SMU-SOCKOR. The meeting started in 2004. For five years, SMUSOCKOR has been making effort not only to improve knowledge of English but to interchange to understand each other. We are visiting famous Korean places like Kyungbok place, Chungwadae, and Cheonggye stream. SMDC also invites SOCKOR into Sookmyung Women’s University (SMU) campus tour and the general meeting in SMDC. SMDC also
visits Yongsan army base and we work at the Superball party or Thanksgiving day potluck party. In addition, SMU-SOCKOR build lasting friendships with each other with various programs like playing bowling, watching DVDs or performances.




United English Discussion Club -Pioneer

Answered by KIM Yeo-eun (KIM) who is the representative of Pioneer and undergraduates of Seoul National
University of Education and PARK Kyoungnae (PARK) who is a member of Pioneer and undergraduates of English Language and Literature of SMU

SMT It’s so special the name ‘Pioneer.’ What’s the reason that you have this club’s name and the meaning of the
name? And please introduce about your club and club events briefly.

KIM Pioneer means an explorer of a hitherto unknown place, or making a constant effort to move forward. Like this meaning, our club members want to make a positive development by joining this club. Also, our desire is the
improvement of this club. The aim of the club shall be to promote academic cultural exchange among members both within and outside the club, thus making friendly relations possible and preserving mutual understanding among members of the human family. Pioneer club has a long history. It was established in 1962. Every Wednesday and Friday, we gather to have a program meeting and a regular meeting. In the program meeting, we
discuss current topics in Korean. In the regular meeting, we have an English session, Cultural Session, and discussion in English. Our club is very attractive not only because of the chance of English
discussion, but also the various events! We have spring M.T. (May), Athletic Meeting (May), English Training (Jun.), Cultural Day (Jul.), Summer Camp (Aug.), Fall M.T. (Oct.), Speech Contest (Nov.), Pioneer Day (Jan.), Winter Camp (Feb.). If you are interested in our club, please visit our homepage ‘’

SMT How is a form of discussion and the subject selection going? Judging from ‘English Discussion,’ there are many differences between yours and other discussion clubs.

KIM Each week before the regular meeting, we have a staff meeting. In the staff meeting, the program committee and the English committee announce the topic of the week. Then we exchange some ideas about the topic and choose the final topic of the week. The public committee then makes a Minerva, which includes the
topic, references related to the topic, and questions. With this Minerva, the presider asks the members’ opinions and we start our discussion.

SMT How are you feeling when you discuss in English? This form of discussion might be difficult, even when
you discuss in Korean.

PARK I agree that speaking in English in front of others can be a big burden and an embarrassing moment. Most of us had a hard time discussing in English, too. It is natural to have some kind of fear but I can promise you that you will be comfortable with this soon enough by practicing. A lot of our members used to say “Umm... Give
me more time please,” or “I completely agree with his opinion,” but after a few weeks they start giving answers. You don't have to say hard words or complicated sentences. Even if you say the simplest words, you are already in the process of improving your English skills. Don't be afraid! Don't hesitate! Our members are just like you who want to improve English, not those who are perfect in English.

SMT Do you gain much profit or merit like improvement of English ability?

PARK Of course it helps a lot to improve English skills. In my case, I worked as a staff of the English committee, which prepares the references of weekly discussions. I can say that it helped me enormously to get quite a good score on my IBT. When would I read The Korean Herald if I were not in Pioneer? Pioneer members learn about society in English through reading articles and sharing ideas or opinions. I believe that the most valuable thing I got from Pioneer is people. There are so many good people and the relationships with them are a blessing for me. They are like family to me now. You have two-hour-long meetings in a week, several occasions, one big exhibition day, and two trips per semester. Since there is nothing that I can do by myself, I have learned how to work with people and how to cooperate with others when I want them to support me.

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