Interview with Sangwon Yoon

If you are interested in inclusive education, the master's programme in Special Needs Education would be the best option for you to study, according to Sangwon Yoon. 

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Sangwon Yoon - Doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Special Needs Education (Photo: Colvin / UiO)

Sangwon Yoon moved from his hometown, Incheon in South Korea, to Oslo in 2011 to study at the Master's programme in Special Needs Education (SNE).  

Prior to coming to Norway to study, he had earned three bachelor’s degrees in Elementary Special Education, Secondary Special Education, and Physical Education, respectively, from Daegu University in South Korea. In addition, he had worked as a physical education teacher at a special school and a special education teacher at a secondary school, altogether for twelve years in Korea.

After graduating from the master's degree programme in SNE, Sangwon was accepted as a doctoral student at the Department of Special Needs Education. He is now in the midst of his PhD studies working on his PhD thesis project appraising the psychometric properties of instruments to measure child maltreatment. 

- What prompted you to pursue a Master in Special Needs Education?

- My reason for studying special needs education at the UiO was that the Department of Special Needs Education offered several courses related to inclusive education from social perspectives such as Education for All (SNE4110), Inclusive Education (SNE4120), and Social and Cultural Perspectives on Special Needs Education (SNE4130).

As research into special education in Korea concerns itself mostly with individual or psychological perspectives, it was difficult for me to find programs and scholars in Korea researching subjects akin to my own interests related to the social or cultural perspectives of inclusive education.

- What was the subject of your thesis?

- My master’s thesis was about finding the relevant individual and environmental factors useful for planning Individual Education Plans (IEPs) to promote inclusive education among students with physical disabilities. The title of my master's thesis was ‘Deriving Code Sets for Pupils with Physical Disabilities from the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, for Children and Youth (ICF-CY)’.

- Are there any specific topics or methods taught to you during the master's programme which are more relevant to your PhD? 

- The course in research methodology (SNE4231) was most relevant for my current PhD as it enabled me to develop research skills and taught me how to write a research proposal. It provided practical knowledge about the quantitative and qualitative research methods like surveys, interviews, observation, and the compiling of basic statistics. In addition, it showed me how to develop my research proposal around a specific research topic with my professors providing me with continuous feedback. This course helped me choose an appropriate research method and write a consistent research proposal for my PhD application.

- What have been some of the highlights of your time studying in Oslo?

- Lake Sognsvann made me feel free. Whenever I felt academic pressure, I went to the Sognsvann and hiked around it. When I was by the lake, I didn’t need to worry about anything. The fresh air, the clean water, and the peaceful scenery helped refresh my mind.

- Any additional comments you would like to add for future applicants to the SNE programme?

The Norwegian education system emphasizes equity and cooperation. If you have an interest in how this equity-based education system impact on inclusive education for children with special needs, the SNE programme at the UiO would be the best option for you.

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Published Jan. 20, 2020 4:14 PM - Last modified Mar. 18, 2021 9:34 AM