It was around 2003 when Dr. Cho came back from New York and opened a psychological clinic in Seoul. A headmaster at an English-speaking international school contacted him by phone and explained his troubling situation in detail.
“Dr. Cho, we have a student who has been attending our school for a long time, but he has difficulties in learning the English language and there is no academic progress.
Thus far, we have helped this student in every way we could, and a special education teacher has been helping him with an individualized curriculum. I know that his parents have tried to help him from private tutoring to Hagwons (private academic institutions). Do you have any other way to help this student?”
In 1896, an American psychologist Dr. Lightner Witmer started the very first psychological educational treatment program for such children at risk in his community. In his thesis published on March 15, 1896, he stated,
“For the past 10 years, I ran a psychological clinic at a psychology lab at the University of Pennsylvania. Public school students in Philadelphia and nearby city visited here with their parents and teachers. These children were not having academic progress at the same rate as their peers and had moral issues that could not be handled with the typical educational approaches……. There was a 10-year-old boy whose health check-up report showed no problems but he could not read the alphabets for four years at school……. He seemed to have an average level of intellectual ability but he showed a delay in academic progress.”
The children who were referred to Dr. Witmer in the late 19th century did not have any noticeable physical or neurological problems, but only experienced difficulties in learning and language development. Through scientific procedures, Dr. Witmer applied his clinical knowledge to treating their language and academic struggles. This historic mission is now given to Dr. Cho and his team.
Among the children who had to adjust to English-speaking environments due to migration or having to relocate abroad with parents because of work, are these children who have the Korean language ability, but are failing to achieve the English language and academic. They are now experiencing secondary symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation, and behavioral problems, even after several years of receiving private tutoring and attending hagwons and after-school services. Dr. Cho and his team are aware of the silent suffering of the children and their parents.
Our Active Learning program is a specially designed clinical program to help these children with educational strategies, developed based on psychological treatment methods. It is a place where children who were once unable to speak start to speak, begin to acquire the English language and understand the mathematical concepts, and young adults who once gave up on learning altogether start to dream about having college life.