This study analyzes high school students’ level of acceptance of modern Korean poetry by classifying them into four main attachment types: secure, preoccupied, dismissing, and fearful. It aims to contribute to the understanding of the various aspects of learning and build a solid basis for realizing the significance of literary education in their lives.
The test covered the students’ degree of intimacy, sympathy, understanding, empathy, and general sentiments towards poetry. It focused mainly on attachment which is defined as “a basic psychological mechanism that involves forming relationships with others and the world around them.” 333 students from women’s high schools in Seoul participated in the Attachment Type Test and evaluated eight poems chosen by Korean teachers from literary textbooks.
“Secure type” students’ responses to the poetry showed high levels of intimacy, understanding, and empathy while “insecure type” (preoccupied, dismissing, and fearful) responses were mostly on the mid-range. When it came to poems < Ha-gwan(Lowering A Coffin) > and < Ja-dongmun apeseo(In Front of the Automatic Gate) > which were the most chosen among the students, there was a substantial correlation in degrees of intimacy-sympathy, intimacy-understanding, and comprehension-related correlations.
The results and analyses establish the importance of acknowledging the different attachment types of students in literary education. By choosing different poems, students indicated varying personal preferences in poetry and even if they chose the same poem, reactions were dependent on the person’s psychology and were, therefore, unique to the individual. Regardless, educational consideration of the student is deemed essential. This study is significant in that it is the first attempt to apply Attachment Theory to literary education and it has identified the distinctive inclinations of various learners that must be acknowledged and understood.