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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #100)

December 23, 2010

Welcome to the final issue of Expacked.  When we first started talking about making a newsletter for native English teachers in Korea, we never dreamt that it would make it anywhere near 100 issues.   Its been a great journey and I hope everyone has enjoyed reading Expacked over the years. 

I have really loved my time teaching in Korea and would recommend this experience to anyone.  This has been some of the best years of my life and I thank Korea for giving me so much. 

For those still in Korea, my biggest advice is to make the most of every opportunity. Be the best teacher you can be, make as many friends as possible and explore Korea and the rest of Asia!  There is an old saying made famous by Monty Python that everyone should remember, especially during the hard times you’ll find in Korea, “Always look on the bright side of life”.

Departures

Here are the teaching related stories this week:

Feel free to comment on any of these stories and continue to share Expacked with your friends. Enjoy the read and, of course, have a good laugh at this week’s jokes.

Thanks for supporting Expacked and goodbye for the last time,

Cheers,

Ken


The new E-2 visa regulations will be put in place – with exceptions The blue tourist passport is the only passport that can be used by U.S. citizens for leisure travel abroad. A no-fee passport looks identical to a tourist passport, but it can only be used for dependents who are traveling with their sponsor to an overseas duty station. Turn to page 26. If there is an amendment in the back of the passport, it is a no-fee passport. No-fee, official and diplomatic passports cannot be used for personal travel.

It seems the new E-2 visa regulations are to be put in place, but there is an exception being made for those renewing contracts. Ben Wagner used the e-People site to write an e-petition to the government asking them for clarification on the new regulations, and sent me the response.

The site can be used to ask questions of or make proposals to government agencies (Anti English Spectrum has used it on many occasions), and offers instructions in English on how to file a petition.

Below is the question and response:

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Gusts of Popular Feeling)

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Clip shows students harassing teacher

A video clip of middle school students verbally harassing a female teacher in a classroom is causing an uproar, which some Internet users claim is the result of the abolition of teachers’ authority following the banning of corporal punishment at school.

The footage shows both female and male students asking the teacher a series of sexually-harassing questions, despite repeated calls for restraint by the teacher.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Korean New Year’s Festivals

Celebrate the New Year Korean fashion by staying up all night (or getting up in the wee hours) to see the last sunset of 2010 and the first sunrise of 2011. No matter where you live in Korea, there’s bound to be a festival close to you. New Years 2010 Sunrise

So unless you’re set on a night out with friends or a jaunt down to Bosingak in Seoul to hear the bell tolled, read on!

NOTE: A number of festivals have been canceled this winter because of a recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. We’ve indicated the festivals that won’t be taking place by crossing out the names so you won’t end up on a deserted beach because you didn’t get the memo!

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: 10 Magazine)

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Seoul’s school meal ad causes stir Free School Meal Ad

A newspaper ad sponsored by the Seoul Metropolitan Government to proclaim its opposition to free school meals is causing a fresh round of heated disputes.

The debate centers on the suitability of the ad in a situation where the city government and city council are colliding over the issue, as well as concerns about the human rights of the ad model, a boy who appears naked.

 

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Private high school scheme flounders without students

The government’s autonomous private high-school program is sailing into troubled waters, with one such school, Yongmun High School in Seoul, begging the government to allow it to revert to being a normal school. The government said no yesterday.

The 64-year-old Yongmun High School became an autonomous school this year, which allows it to jack up tuition, choose any student it wants to enroll regardless of their scores on standardized tests, and draw up its own curriculum. But applicants for the 2011 freshman class only filled 34.7 percent of the 455 seats available.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Korea JoongAng Daily)

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High school to open for children from immigrant families

The education authorities will open the nation’s first public high school for children from underprivileged immigrant families in Seoul in March, 2012. Officials from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said Tuesday it signed a memorandum of understanding with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the city’s educational office for the establishment of the school. Students will be admitted for free.

The project was initially proposed by the Presidential Committee on Social Cohesion, which reviews policies for marriage immigrants and their families.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Chaos in the classroom

Bad behavior in our nation’s classrooms has gotten way out of hand. Teachers are being beaten up by students and even sexually harassed. Last week at a high school in Suwon, a freshman hit a female teacher in the chin and kicked her thigh in response to the instructor’s attempt to discipline the student.

Earlier this month, a fifth-grader at an elementary school in Seongnam pulled the hair of a female teacher trying to stop a fight. A teenager at a middle school even choked a female teacher and spit on her face for getting upset at his tardiness.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Korea JoongAng Daily)

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Do you really want to teach English in Korea? (Part I: Q & A)

Well deciding to teach English abroad can feel like ordering a mail order bride. You’ve got a description and a list of hopeful expectations; yet you can’t see what you’ve got until the day arrives. How will you know what you asked for will be what you wanted? Honestly, sometimes even when you’ve crossed over to seeing your prize, things can still seem a bit veiled; but at least you’ve tackled the biggest hurdle… making it happen!

Recently friends and readers have asked me about my experiences in the ESL classroom and how they can teach English abroad too. I’ve decided to make it a three part series. This is general Q&A I’ve gotten.

How did I find this gig?

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: GRRRL Traveller)

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Free meals for six territories’ schools

Five provinces and one metropolitan city will start offering free lunches in elementary schools starting spring semester next year, going against the objections of the central government, which says free lunches should be limited to students from poorer families.

The JoongAng Ilbo recently surveyed 16 provincial-level governments about their policies on free school lunches and found that six of them – Gyeonggi, South Chungcheong, North Chungcheong, North Jeolla, Jeju and Gwangju Metropolitan City – allocated budgets for free school lunches to elementary school students next year.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Korea JoongAng Daily)

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Korea to foster 20 world-class colleges

The government announced Friday an ambitious plan to nurture 20 vocational colleges into world-class schools and help at least three universities join the ranks of the global top 30.

In a report to President Lee Myung-bak on its policy plans for next year, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said it will expand policy benefits and allow greater autonomy for colleges to bolster their international competitiveness.

“We will launch a new program to choose the top 20 vocational colleges and nurture them into world-class colleges,” Education Minister Lee Ju-ho told reporters after the briefing session at Cheong Wa Dae.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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This week’s joke: Do you have what it takes to be an Educational Consultant?

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The following short quiz consists of 4 questions and tells whether you are qualified to be an educational consultantgiraffe

Scroll down for each answer.

1.  How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
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Correct Answer:
Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door.  This question tests whether you
tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.

 

2. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?
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Correct Answer: 
Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door. This tests your
ability to think through the repercussions of your actions.

 

3.The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals attend except one. Which animal does not attend?
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Correct Answer:  The Elephant. The Elephant is in the refrigerator. This question tests your memory. OK,even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still have one more chance to show your abilities.crocodiles

 

4.There is a river you must cross. But it is inhabited by crocodiles.  There is no boat or bridge, nor are there any big rocks to step on. How do you get across the river?
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Correct Answer:  You swim across.  All the Crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting. This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.

 

According to Andersen Consulting Worldwide, around 90% of the educational consultants they tested got all questions wrong.  But many preschoolers got several correct answers.  Andersen Consulting says this conclusively disproves the theory that most educational consultants have the brains of four-year-olds.



What Next? GOODBYE!

Thank you to all those readers who supported Expacked over the last couple of years.  Its been a joy to write for you and I trust that this newsletter has helped you in some way at you have taught English in Korea.

Signing off for the 100th, and last, time.

Cheers and goodbye,

Ken

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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #99)

December 18, 2010

I hope everyone is keeping warm! Even if you have only spent one month in a Korean winter, you’ll be sure to find eatyourkimchi’s video below entertaining. 

Another great vid from eatyourkimchi (www.eatyourkimchi.com)

Next week will see two major milestones reached for our Expacked newsletter.  The first one is that it will be our 100th weekly issue!  Its been a lot of hard work, but I am honoured to have so many loyal readers over this time.

Expacked started as a small pet project of mine with one simple mission – to provide timely, relevant and interesting information to native English teachers in Korea.  Expacked quickly became a big part of my life in Korea and its been rewarding keep everyone up-to-date on the key issues and debates on education in Korea. 

This leads into the second ‘milestone’ – The 100th issue seems a great way to go out in style!  Next week will likely be the last ever issue of Expacked.  I have now left Korea and, while I am still passionate about the country, it feels the right time to move on and I have a couple of other projects I am really excited to start on. 

If there are others who are interested in keeping Expacked up and going, I’d be happy to talk to them.  You can click here to send a message to me. 

Thank you once again for all those who have supported Expacked.

(Just a quick reminder – Expacked issue 100 will be coming out next week!)

Here are the teaching related stories this week:

Feel free to comment on any of these stories and continue to share Expacked with your friends. Enjoy the read and, of course, have a good laugh at this week’s joke.

Cheers,

Ken


Young people deprived of sleep by school work, video games

Young Koreans get an average of just 7 hours and 32 minutes of sleep per night, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said Thursday, citing a study by Statistics Korea.

The nationwide survey of 4,628 people aged between 10 and 24 years old found that 75.3 percent do not get the recommend amount sleep, which is 8 hours and 30 minutes per night according to the U.S. National Sleep Foundation. High school students got the shortest sleep time of just 6 hours and 31 minutes, with a whopping 96.4 percent of them failing to meet the recommended amount.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Chosun Ilbo)

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English kindergarten suspended over rotten food

An English kindergarten in southern Seoul, has been suspended from running their educational business after it had allegedly fed rotten food to children, causing them to suffer from stomachaches, vomiting and rashes for months.

EWAS specialized in English education for young children and charged about 2 million won ($1,733) a month in tuition per child. The Seoul education authorities confiscated the rotten food that had been stored in freezers at the institute. The shelf life of some packs of bacon had expired more than seven years ago.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Essays could soon replace school exams

In an attempt to prevent students from concentrating only on school tests, the Seoul Office of Education said on Monday that it is considering abolishing exams and replacing them with essays to encourage creativity and decrease reliance on private education. exam

At a seminar held by the education office on Monday, Choe Gwan-ui, a teacher of Daemyeong Elementary School, gave a presentation on abolishing school exams. In the presentation, Choe proposed that all elementary schools in Seoul abolish exams for grades one through three and that schools only administer final exams for grades four to six.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Korea JoongAng Daily)

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1,000 poorly-rated teachers will get mandatory training

More than 1,000 teachers who were rated poorly in an inaugural evaluation program will have to take mandatory training courses to improve their teaching skills, beginning next year.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced Monday that some 1,056 teachers who were rated “very poor” or “poor” will undergo the training program during winter vacation. In case of the group rated “very poor,” which numbers 130 teachers, they will have to take an obligatory program during the spring semester next year.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Expats speak to improve life in Seoul

Foreign residents and Seoul City officials gathered for an annual town meeting with a common goal of improving their living conveniences in Seoul. The 2010 Seoul Town Meeting, the eleventh to be held since 2000, was held in the Seoul City Hall Seosomun Annex on Friday under the lead of the Foreign Residents Assistance Division.

Some 180 expats were invited to discuss issues closely related to the living environment, such as transportation, tourism, culture, education and medical services.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Herald)

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Three things to take when traveling around Korea – and three to leave behind

Fellow blogger Nomadic Chick recently blogged about what works and what doesn’t in her travels. While traveling the world and traveling around a first-world country are two very different beasts, I thought I’d share three things you’ll definitely want when traveling Korea, and three things you can safely leave behind. ipod

  • MUST HAVE #1: Entertainment. An iPod Touch holds enough music and games to keep me entertained on even the longest bus or train rides. Finding an outlet while out and about may be a challenge, but you’ll always have one in your hotel room for the night. Note that a good book, a Kindle, an iPhone, or other similar things will work as well.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Chris in South Korea)

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TOEFL Junior helps students choose books

The organizer of the TOEFL test for children will provide test takers with additional information as guidelines to help them choose appropriate books and study material.

The U.S.-based Educational Testing Service (ETS) said Thursday the young applicants of the test will receive the “Lexile Framework for Reading” to link their reading section scores from the exam with Lexile measures. Test takers are able to use the Lexile measure to search for the right books to improve their reading skills.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Creative programs turn rural school around

Students gather for their regular morning meeting at Songsan School in Suncheon, South Jeolla. There are no teachers around and the students talk freely amongst themselves.

“I went to bed early last night so I couldn’t prepare my one-minute speech for today,” third-year student Jo Gyeom said. The candid confession made his classmates burst into laughter.

At that moment, another student started talking about a recent swimming competition and his favorite athletes.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Korea JoongAng Daily)

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Teachers step up campaign for their rights

The nation’s major teachers’ group is staging a campaign to protect and strengthen their rights as teachers.

The conservative Korean Federation of Teachers’ Associations (KFTA) said Tuesday more than 200,000 teachers, including non-members of the federation, signed up to support the campaign that seeks to revise education-related bills. They are seeking to protect their education and political activities. They also want to introduce a sabbatical year program, work only weekdays and lighten their workload.

The teachers’ group, which claims 160,000 members across the country, collected signatures from the members hoping to participate in the campaign between Oct. 25 and Dec. 6.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Do not study with UniTEFL Thailand

I’d totally forgotten about the TEFL course called UniTEFL until someone claiming to be Matt Kay reanimated an old thread by insulting and threatening me on it. UniTEFL also didn’t exist until this year when it was apparently born from the ashes of the sudden implosion of LICMU (Language Institute Chiang Mai University, in Thailand).

You’ve almost certainly never heard of UniTEFL either, but I hope the post below will also be of interest, e.g. to those seeking to avoid or fight dodgy TEFL courses in general. When I say “dodgy TEFL course”, that does not mean that I have some kind of inside scoop on the educational standards at UniTEFL. Like most non-Cambridge and non-Trinity courses, I can’t say anything about the standard of training that they provide one way or another (I was trainer and head trainer on two ViaLingua courses many years ago and I think we did a pretty good job).

As with most such courses, though, there is no need for me to know anything about the teacher trainers there and what they do. I can tell you that I would not go anywhere near UniTEFL from just these four things:

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: TEFLtastic)

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This week’s joke: The Christmas Gift…

A young man received a parrot as a early Christmas gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. parrot

Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to ‘clean up’ the bird’s vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hands, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet.

Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing that he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behaviour."

John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude.

As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behaviour, the bird spoke up, very softly, "May I ask what the turkey did?"



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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #98)

December 11, 2010

Another week closer to Christmas and most people will be looking forward to their winter holiday plans.  Whether that’s escaping the cold for Thailand, a flight back home to see your family, or just a great excuse to spend a well deserved rest in bed, this is a great time to recharge the batteries for next year. Seoul Rush Hour

Of course for many, there is also the winter camp to plan and prepare for.  While its nice to have had everything planned out back in November, I know for me this wasn’t the case…

For some, this is a great time to let their creative juices run wild, but for others (Like I was), its a time to panic as you had to develop a completely new camp programme – without any help or direction from other teachers.

The important thing to remember that you are not alone and there are many places to look for help.  The blog Kimchi Icecream is a great place to start, as he has written many articles on developing winter camp plans.  I have included his latest posting below and, if you are wanting some new ideas, I recommend you have a good read.

When it comes down to it, both winter and summer camps come and go very quickly.  Just put in a bit of work, have some fun and I am sure your students will love you for it.

Here are the teaching related stories this week:

Feel free to comment on any of these stories and continue to share Expacked with your friends. Enjoy the read and, of course, have a good laugh at this week’s jokes.

Cheers,

Ken


 

Korean education: Excellent overall, but no bright sparks

Korean students are overall excellent achievers in academic skills, but the cream of the crop lagged far behind that of other countries, according to the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment announced by the OECD on Tuesday. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Light_Bulb.jpg

Korean students in the upper 5 percent ranked ninth out of 65 participating nations including 31 non-OECD member countries in reading, fifth in math and 13th in science.

Korean students excelled in the overall rankings among the 34 OECD member countries, coming first in reading and math and third in science, and out of all the 65 participating countries they ranked second in reading, fourth in math and sixth in science. But Korea’s best lagged behind their counterparts abroad.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Chosun Ilbo)

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Student defectors shackled by English

Many defectors cross the North Korean border hoping for a better life, but those who hope to further themselves with education find that English quickly becomes a burden.

North Korean defectors who try to follow the South Korean education system, have a very hard time catching up with the academic standards here. According to a study released by ruling party lawmaker Hong Jung-wook, English consistently troubles defectors.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Herald)

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Elementary school teacher commits suicide in classroom

A 52-year-old female elementary school teacher in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, was found dead Monday in a classroom in an apparent suicide, according to the police.

The Gimhae Police Station said a fellow teacher found her hanging from a scarf in the classroom at around 6 p.m. The fellow teacher told the police that she went to check on the teacher since she did not call it a day even after classes had ended.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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SMOE Press Release: Medical check and Korean police record check

Hello SMOE Teachers,

Here is what you need to know for the Korean police record check (for those renewing in March, 2011):

It is called 범죄경력회보서 in Korean, you will need to go to a large police station (the district level one will be fine) and ask them for it, you will give them your ARC and it should only take a few minuets. There should be no charge. It will probably be best just to write the Korean on a piece of paper and give it to them if you do not speak any Korean.

Medical Check: This is called a 겅강진단서 in Korean. You must go to a public hospital, a private clinic will be extremely expensive and they do not do all of the tests that a large hospital will. This test must include the HIV and TBPE drug test. You might like to go to Seoul Medical Center. It is at Samsung Station on line 2 (next to the COEX Mall). It probably has the best price and they do speak English.

Your school should not count this as personal time off as it is an official business trip (you need to do it to work with SMOE). However it will not take all day to get these done.

Sincerely,

Mathew Coordinator, SMOE

smoemathew@sen.go.kr

Click Here for the further information (Source: ETIS -English Teachers in Seoul)

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EFL/ESL Summer/Winter Camp for Elementary or Middle School in South Korea – Lesson plans, games, and activities for the last second planning of a camp

For something like two years now I’ve been trying to find the time, and energy, to post a list of books that elementary school and middle school level native English teachers in Korea would find useful for the absolutely ridiculous lack of planning, literally last second planning education culture that is prevalent across Korea.lesson plan

Ah, before I continue, here are some links to other posts of mine that new teachers, and for that matter veteran teachers, might want to read if they haven’t seen them before.

While surfing Korean English native teacher blogs today I noticed this post Yet again, I’m annoyed! by a blogger I enjoy reading, strangelands. The sad thing is that as more and more time passes I see yet another expat teacher getting more and more frustrated by the ridiculous unprofessionalism of the education culture in Korea . . .

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Kimchi Icecream)

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Let’s debate free school lunches

Local governments are sharply split over next year’s budget because of their differences on free school lunches. Their position on the free-lunch program depends on two factors: which party the head of a local government belongs to and how many seats a political party has in the local councils.

After the Democratic-Party-controlled city council in Seoul unilaterally passed a bill allowing free school meals, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, from the Grand National Party, strongly denounced it as a product of “reckless populism.”

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Korea JoongAng Daily)

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High school seniors sleep less than 6 hours

Third graders at high school are possibly the most hard-working students in Korea, sleeping 5 hours and 24 minutes per day and studying for 11 hours on average, a survey said.

Statistics Korea announced the average characteristics of high school seniors based on a general time use survey, Sunday. The third graders, preparing for college admission, studied an average of 11 hours and three minutes per day, three hours longer than the average of all students

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Freshmen shun autonomous high schools in Seoul

12 out of 26 in the capital failed to meet their targets for 2011 classes

Autonomous private high schools are having trouble filling their classrooms due to expensive tuitions and doubts over whether they’re much better than normal schools.

According to statistics released Sunday by the Seoul Education Office, 12 autonomous high schools out of 26 in Seoul failed to meet their targets for next year’s freshmen classes.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Korea JoongAng Daily)

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“Disguised” native speakers are not to blame

“Native Speaker Phone English? Turns out it’s a korian Deception by yuhaksaeng [posing as] ‘neitibeu seupikeo'”

The Munhwa Ilbo published an article yesterday with the above title featuring interviews with several yuhaksaeng (Koreans who have studied overseas) who say they – and many others like them – pose as native speakers for Korean companies who operate ‘Phone English’ services.

It notes that the reason they take the job is because they are tempted by the money they can easily make by speaking with a student for only 10 minutes. The article notes that the businesses promise native speakers but do not live up to this, and that the teachers’ contracts have non-disclosure clauses (regarding the fact that they are not foreigners).

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Gusts of Popular Feeling)

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Teaching no longer lonely experience

The 7th Annual KOTESOL Symposium and Thanksgiving dinner, held last Saturday in Cheonan, was a chance to join in the cherished American celebration and a great opportunity to learn about the finer points of teaching. The food was delicious and the company warm.

KOTESOL or the Korea Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages is an organization dedicated to assisting teachers of English develop their skills, and in improving ELT in Korea. It has ten chapters across Korea that run monthly workshops on teaching skills and theory. They hold six conferences a year with international guest speakers and leading academics.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Herald)

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This week’s joke: School automated answering machine

Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting to the right staff member, please listen to all options before making a selection:

  • To lie about why your child is absent, Press 1. answer phone
  • To make excuses for why your child did not do his/her work, Press 2.
  • To complain about what we do, Press 3.
  • To cuss out staff members, Press 4.
  • To ask why you did not get needed information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several bulletins mailed to you, Press 5.
  • If you want us to raise your child, Press 6.
  • If you want to reach out and touch, slap, or hit someone, Press 7.
  • To request another teacher for the third time this year, Press 8.
  • To complain about bus transportation, Press 9.
  • To complain about school lunches, Press 0.
  • If you realize this is the real world and your child must be accountable/responsible for his/her own behavior, classwork, homework, and that it is not the teacher’s fault for your child’s lack of effort, please hang up and have a nice day!

 

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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #97)

December 4, 2010

After the tensions of the North Koreans bombing and the threat of further attack, its a relief to see life in Korea slowly returning to some form of ‘normal’.  The Korean media is now out in full force trying to seek answers to how it happened and pointing fingers at who should be to blame.

As life as a teacher also continues, the biggest news this week is the Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education announcement that, due to budget cuts, they will be hiring less native English teachers next year.  Old man and cart

They are also aiming to reduce the number of native English teachers over the next several years and replace them with less expensive Korean English conversational teachers.

This will not really come as a surprise for those who have been following Expacked over the last couple of years.  A number of senior Government officials have been signalling this change in policy and, if done correctly, this may not necessary be a bad thing for our ‘industry’ or for Korean children learning English.

There will always be a need for native English teachers for the foreseeable future and hagwons are quick to seize on any gap in the market.

And on that note:

Here are the teaching related stories this week:

Feel free to comment on any of these stories and continue to share Expacked with your friends. Enjoy the read and, of course, have a good laugh at this week’s jokes.

Cheers,

Ken


Share


 

Gyeonggi to hire fewer foreign teachers

Gyeonggi education authorities are moving to cut down the number of native English-speaking teachers for conversational classes at public schools due to a lack of budget. Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education said Thursday it plans to cut the number of foreign English teacher by 200 or 8.8 percent to 2,056 for next year.

Currently, a total of 2,256 native English speakers are working at 2,032 schools in the province. The provincial education office said it is also considering cutting the number of native teachers in phases in the years to come.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Regional schools make big strides

Teacher enthusiasm and innovative programs resulted in better scores for students at struggling schools who took the Nationwide Scholastic Achievement Assessment Test in July, according to test results released yesterday by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

The ministry announced yesterday that some schools struggling with old facilities, limited space and minimal support from the local government had succeeded in helping their students do well on the national test.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Korea JoongAng Daily)

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Essay writing tutoring costs skyrocketing

The state-administered college admissions test was held last week but the frantic struggle to enter a college is far from over. essay

The parents of hundreds of thousands of applicants are busy attending various explanatory sessions hosted by private institutes to get last-minute information about which schools their children should apply.

To get higher scores in essay writing required at some schools, students and recent high school graduates are hell-bent on attending private classes no matter how high the costs shoot up.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Gyeonggi’s native speaking teacher levels explained

On Tuesday I posted an article titled “Only 2% of Gyeonggi-do native speaking teachers are at Level S” which described the different levels native speaking teachers had been rated at in Gyeonggi-do.

It was not clear exactly what these levels were, but as it turns out, they are simply the pay levels for teachers in Gyeonggi-do. This is made clear by a post at Anti-English Spectrum.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Gusts of Popular Feeling)

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December 2010 events

Author’s note: There’s bound to be updates to this month’s events – keep checking back for more information and new events! If you have an event you’d like to plug, comment on this post with all the details. calendar

Please follow a few guidelines for the maximum benefit. November 26 – December 12: The Seoul Players presents ‘Wintertime’ – an “energetic comedy about the miracle of love.” Written by Charles Mee, you’ll meet Ariel and Jonathan, along with Maria, Francois and Frank, and a slew of other fantastically funny characters to discuss love, its expectations and its complications. Recommended for viewers 15 and up for some nudity.

For more information, check out their website. Head up to Roofers in Itaewon for these shows in December:

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Chris in South Korea)

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English teachers reflect on changing role

“Is it possible that Korea will no longer hire native English teachers in the near future? Most would laugh at the idea. Today there are at least 23,000 foreigners teaching English here and the numbers keep rising.

However, in his book English Next, commissioned by the British Council, renowned linguist and researcher David Graddol says that native-speaker norms and native speakers themselves are becoming irrelevant. “

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Is student-centred always a good thing?

No.

I think it is fair to say that the main job of most of us is to improve our students’ English language skills. If we sit down to plan how to do so with an open mind, at least some of the best ways that we come up with will not be as student-centred as the things we rejected as not quite as good for said language development. one button

Thinking that student-centred activities teach our students other things they need such as self-sufficiency in language learning might lean us further towards those kinds of activities, but the main focus on student learning must nonetheless remain. (If, however, you think that your job is actually to make classes learner-centred, with learning the language further down the list of priorities, none of this will be relevant to you).

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: TEFLtastic)

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Obama calls for U.S. education reform to match Korean children

U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday called for reform in U.S. education to help America effectively compete with South Korea and other ambitious countries. “We’re going to have to have the best-educated workforce in the world, because our children are now not just competing against other children in other states in our union, they’re now competing against kids in Beijing and Bangalore and Seoul, South Korea,” Obama told a meeting with newly elected governors at the Blair House.

“If they don’t have what it takes to compete, then America’s going to have problems economically over the long term.”

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Yonhap News)

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Young South Koreans face ban on gaming after midnight

South Korea’s government is close to adopting a “Cinderella” law to ban youngsters from playing online games past midnight amid growing concerns about internet addiction, officials said.

A bill to be submitted to parliament as early as this month will require South Korean online game companies to cut off services at midnight for users registered as younger than 16, the culture and family ministries said on Thursday.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: NZ Herald)

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Is dating taboo at school?

Eight out of 10 middle and high schools nationwide were found to have been maintaining rules disciplining students for engaging in relationships or physical contact with the opposite sex, a rights advocacy group for teenagers said Tuesday.

According to a report issued by “Asunaro” (http://cafe.naver.com/asunaro), 286 secondary schools out of 354 across the country, or 81 percent, have internal regulations preventing students from dating or having physical contact with those of the opposite gender.

In Yangpyong County, Gyeonggi Province, all middle and high schools are found to have rules against dating among students, with 119 out of 142 schools in Busan maintaining similar guidelines that specifically reprimand those engaging in relationships with fellow students.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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This week’s Joke: 10 bad signs for good teachers…

Teachers are trained to watch for signs: signs that the students are learning something, that the students aren’t learning anything, that the students are onto something, that the students are up to something. There are some signs that teachers have not been taught to watch for: signs that could spell disaster. Here is a list of 10 such bad signs – if you happen to see one of them, beware!
1. The principal smiles at you. This is a very bad sign. It means the principal is up to something, and that something somehow involves you. It could mean the principal is about to ask you to volunteer to be the new coach for the girls’ soccer team, or to write his two-hour speech for the Mothers’ Club, or to accept three new students from the local home for delinquent children. If the principal not only smiles but asks, “How are you doing?” that’s even worse. And if he or she then adds, “Could I please see you in my office for a minute at your convenience?” – run for your life!

2. Things are going well for you in the classroom. Many inexperienced teachers take this for a good sign, but more seasoned educators know it means things are going to go bad for you-very bad and very soon. Maybe you are about to change to another class, or smitten by a rare tropical disease, or your classroom is about to be invaded by a herd of wild plastic-eating termites. I know several teachers who believe in this bad omen so firmly that they have peace only when things are going horribly in the classroom.

3. Your classroom is completely equipped with audio-visual aids. If you walk into your room and see a record player, an overhead projector, a tape recorder, and a movie projector-that’s bad. It’s a sure sign that none work-because if they did, they would have been “borrowed” long before this. Just in case you test the equipment and discover that everything does work (you realize, of course, that the chances of this happening are one in a million), that’s still a bad sign. It means that you have just been put in charge of maintaining all the audio-visual equipment for the entire school.

4. Your students tell you that you’re their favorite teacher. If this happens, brace yourself. It means the kids want something. That something could be something relatively small: “Let’s not talk about colons and semicolons today. Let’s talk about football.” Or your students could be bargaining for something bigger: “Let’s not have any homework this year, okay?”

5. You are prepared for all your classes for the coming week. Any teacher who does this is only asking for trouble. You cannot tempt Fate so blatantly without expecting dire consequences. And what could some of those consequences be? Maybe you will be struck with the five-day flu on Sunday evening, or there will be a battery of psychological tests this entire week.

6. You have all your report cards finished a day ahead of schedule.This sign, closely related to #5, simply means that the administration has just introduced a new kind of report card, and the old kind (127 of which you have just finished filling out) is now obsolete.

7. Your students do poorly on your test. This is a bad sign- or at least the administration interprets it as a bad sign-which makes it so for you. It means you are an incompetent teacher who ought to be booted out of the classroom as soon as possible. If your students do poorly on a test sh-h-h!-don’t tell anyone, not even your students. Destroy the tests, give a retest, and hope and pray that the kids do better-but not too much better. (See the next sign.)

8. Your students do very well on your test. This too is a bad sign. in fact, it’s a worse sign than #7. It can only mean one of three things: 1) the test was too easy, 2) you are a stupid teacher, 3) the kids cheated.

9. You have a few free minutes to yourself after school. If this happens, one of the following events is bound to occur: 1) another teacher will report you to the principal for not having enough to do, 2) some kid will come in and ask if he or she could talk to you for a minute and stay 2 hours, 3) the principal will ask if you could give the janitor a hand with cleaning the bathrooms after school.

10. You receive positive feedback from a parent. Although this sign rarely occurs, it portends trouble. You can be sure that if one parent is praising you, another one is already initiating legal proceedings to have you removed from the classroom. When all is said and done, it’s a better sign to receive no parental feedback than any kind at all


 

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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #96)

November 27, 2010

Well, at least that week is over!  Its been a tough week for most as tensions between the two Koreas are at their highest level since the Korea war.  We all hope things start to settle down again and that the nation can get back to what they love the most… education!

It is highly unlikely that anything else will happen, however it wouldn’t hurt to be prepared and everyone should update your contact details with your respective embassies.  Although written earlier this year, Chris in South Korea has a great article called “Life in Korea: Emergency evacuation plans from South Korea”.  This article has some good tips and it also includes the contact details for all our embassies in Korea.

Its been a bad week, so I though everyone would enjoy the following video:

Here are the teaching related stories this week:

Feel free to comment on any of these stories and continue to share Expacked with your friends. Enjoy the read and, of course, have a good laugh at this week’s joke.

Cheers,

Ken

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South Korea buries marines killed by N Korea attack

South Korea has held funerals for the two marines killed when North Korea fired artillery shells at the South’s Yeonpyeong island earlier this week. It comes as the US calls on China to do more to increase its pressure on Pyongyang to prevent further incidents.

At least four South Koreans died in the incident – one of the worst clashes since the end of the Korean War.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: BBC News)

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Students decry poor test management

This year’s College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) for university entrance held on Nov. 18 angered many applicants, who claim the critical exams were marred by a series of mismanagement by the authorities. Complaints from students range from malfunctioning propelling pencils to serious flaws in test questions.

Students are calling it the “worst test ever,” while the government is looking into their complaints.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Changing the image of English teachers

[Update: The KT has another article about Korea's first Indian English teacher here (via Brian).]Mask

The Korea Herald has an article about ATEK and its desire to change the image of English teachers. The Korea Times also has an article about wanting to change the image of English teachers:

For many Koreans, English is a language that only those from Western countries can teach. However, a small private school in North Jeolla Province has challenged this prejudice by inviting the first-ever Indian English teacher here last September.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Gusts of Popular Feeling)

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I try to create positive energy in classroom

Abby Thomas noted that Indian teachers are competitive and as qualified as current native English teachers. “India was a British colony and English is almost our first language. Most educated people in India understand English and use standard English. (Many) English teachers from overseas in Korea are just English speakers, not teachers,” Thomas said.

“Americans might better speak English and pronunciation is better (than us). Our English sounds difficult and harder to understand. But, we are top-level and certified teachers. Many of us are tri-lingual, speaking English, Hindi and a local language.”

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Talk of public schools phasing out native speaker English teachers

I received a message about this last month via twitter, but until recently hadn’t had any corroboration, though according to active threads on Dave’s ESL Cafe and Waygook.org, schools will drastically cut the number of native speaker English teachers over the next several years. The sources remain, for now, largely Korean coteachers, but, if true, it is a story worth following. The six-page thread on Dave’s ESL Cafe begins in Gyeonggi-do with GEPIK:

A few weeks ago I recall being at a bar when one of my friends mentioned a GEPIK coordinator gave notice that there were massive budget cuts, and all schools in Goyang with more than one teacher would lose half of their budget.

Didn’t hear much about it since then, until yesterday.

Apparently they want to slash the number of NETs in Goyang down to 20 for all elementary schools, as there isn’t a budget for English like there was 2/3 years ago.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Brian in Jeollanam-do)

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Guest post: Holiday shopping tips

This guest post is brought to you by Breda Lund over at the blog Annyeong! With the Christmas / Hannukah / Kwanzaa / winter solstice season coming up, it’s high time to figure out what you’re getting the special people in your life. There are some different ideas here, so read on! Gifts_xmas2

Holiday shopping season started, well, weeks ago. You’re already behind. It’s OK, there’s still time, even if you need to mail stuff overseas. But you better start now! Fortunately, in Seoul it’s easy to find unique, affordable gifts for everyone on your list. But here are some ideas to get you started:

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Chris in South Korea)

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Foreign worker relocation rules eased

Employers will be able to relocate their foreign workers to various workplaces without prior approval of the Ministry of Justice and long-term foreign residents will be allowed to re-enter the country more easily.

These are part of the government’s moves to make immigration rules friendlier for foreigners, the Ministry of Justice said Sunday. “This is intended to reduce the administrative burden of employers of foreign workers and at the same time to boost the use of foreign workers by domestic firms,” immigration authorities said in a statement.

Under the revised decrees that go into effect from today, companies employing foreigners on E-1 (professorship), E-2 (foreign language instructor), E-3 (researcher), E-4 (technology transfer), E-5 (professional employment) and E-6 (arts and performance) visa types will no longer have to report the relocation of their workers to subsidiaries.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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College entrance fever

The annual college entrance fever has started with last week’s Scholastic Ability Test or “Suneung” across the country. Some 700,000 high-school seniors who took the test will be in an agonizing race to get into the “best” colleges their SAT scores allow.

The usual scenes of Korea’s educational passion were repeated on the exam day. Public and private offices started work one hour late to help ease morning traffic congestion. Police patrol cars and fire engines were used to transport late examinees to their testing places. Churches and temples held day-long prayer sessions for the examinees.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korean Herald)

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What is Global English?

After writing down my thoughts on what is “Global English?” (The Korea Times, 11/11/2010), I could only imagine some grammarians of English frowning upon this “Global English” phenomenon. However, my efforts remain incomplete if the relevance of “Global English” is not further explained. Sunset

In the last five years, I have been blessed with the opportunities to participate in international conferences that brought me to Europe and Asia. These academic gatherings were attended by around 150 participants from all over the world. The conferees presented scholarly papers, discussed vigorously, chatted eagerly and made friends using “Global English.”

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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EPIK Press Releases: Re-entry permits; Application deadline extended; North Korean bombing

1) Announcement of exemption from re-entry permits

Exemption from re-entry permits will take effect for the convenience of  registered foreigners in Korea from 1 Dec 2010.

Eligible Sojourn Status

  • Diplomacy(A-1), Official Business(A-2), Convention/Agreements(A-3)
  • Cultural Arts(D-1), Student(D-2), Industrial training(D-3), General training(D-4), Journalism(D-5), Religious Affairs(D-6), Supervisory Intra-company transfer(D-7), Corporate Investment(D-8), Trade Management(D-9), Job Seeking(D-10), Professorship(E-1), Foreign language instructor(E-2), Research(E-3), Technological Transfer(E-4), Professional Employment(E-5), Arts & Performance(E-6), Special Occupation(E-7), Non-professional Employment(E-9), Vessel Crew(E-10), Family Visitation(F-1), Residential(F-2), Dependent Family(F-3)
  • Miscellaneous(G-1), Working Holiday(H-1), Working visit(H-2) status

Conditions

  • The re-entry permit will be exempt for registered foreigners seeking to depart Korea and re-enter within one year.
  • If the period of stay is less than one year, the exemption is valid for the duration of the period of stay.
  • Exemption for the permanent residents(F-5) re-entering Korea will remain valid for two years after their departure date.

Exception

  • This exemption may not be applied to the people who are in the prohibited category.

Effective Date

  • From 1. Dec. 2010

For more details, call the Immigration Contact Center (1345)

Source (EPIK)

2) Application Deadline for Apply by Email Extended

Due to increased demands from Provincial/Metropolitan Offices of Education, we will be accepting applications for both National EPIK and EPIK-Seoul positions through the Apply by Email section of our website until:

  • December 15th, 2010 at 6:00 PM Korean Standard Time (KST)

The December 15th deadline is for initial application materials only. That is, you must submit your completed application form and two letters of recommendation (and for EPIK-Seoul applicants your sample lesson plan and attachment form as well) no later than the above-mentioned date and time.

However, if you pass the interview, or if you have already passed an interview, we will still accept your required documents after December 15th. We will continue accepting required documents from successful applicants until all available positions have been filled. As such, applicants are encouraged to gather all of the required documents at their earliest possible convenience.

Source (EPIK)

3) North Korea bombing

Dear Guest English Teachers,

In regard to the North Korean shells dropped on Yeonpyeong Island, which sits two miles from the Northern Limit Line(NLL), the EPIK Office would like to inform that the situation is under control and there has been no more exchange of fire since 16:00, November 23rd, Tuesday.

President Lee ordered the authorities concerned to respond firmly but make the best efforts not to worsen the situation.

The North Korean fire occurred yesterday afternoon during a routine military drill conducted by the South Korean Army, known as the Hoguk exercise, which began on November 22, 2010. North Korea criticized the drill and untruthfully called the drill an invasion. By North Korean provocation, two soldiers died and nineteen people including three civilians were injured.

However, apart from the residents of Yeonpyeong Island, the rest of South Korea is still very safe. All citizens of South Korea are calm and are continuing their normal life as usual.

We, the EPIK Office, will continually update information regarding the current situation and would like to advise you to let your family members at home know that you are safe, and that you manage your daily routine as usual.

Sincerely yours,

The EPIK Team

Source (EPIK)

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This week’s joke: High School Leaver Test

So – think you are smarter than an 18 year old?  Try the New High School Exit Exam – and find out … you only need 4 correct to pass

(Passing requires 4 correct answers)

  1. How long did the Hundred Years’ War last?
  2. Which country makes Panama hats?
  3. From which animal do we get cat gut?
  4. In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
  5. What is a camel’s hair brush made of?
  6. Where were Texas Longhorn cattle originated?
  7. The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
  8. What was King George VI’s first name?
  9. Where is the largest herd of registered Texas Longhorn cattle?
  10. What colour is a purple finch?
  11. Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
  12. What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

Remember, you need 4 correct answers to pass.

Check your answers below…

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ANSWERS TO THE QUIZ

  1. How long did the Hundred Years War last? 116 years
  2. Which country makes Panama hats? Ecuador
  3. From which animal do we get cat gut? Sheep and Horses
  4. In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? November
  5. What is a camel’s hair brush made of? Squirrel fur
  6. Where were Texas Longhorn cattle originated? Spain
  7. The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal? Dogs
  8. What was King George VI’s first name? Albert
  9. Where is the largest herd of registered Texas Longhorn Cattle? Ohio
  10. What colour is a purple finch ? Crimson
  11. Where are Chinese gooseberries from? New Zealand
  12. What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane? Orange (of course)

Did you fail?  Remember to tell the truth!

 


 

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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #95)

November 20, 2010

There was never any question as to what the leading stories this week would be – Exam Day.  Its one of the most important days of the year for Korean schools and its amazing the amount of pressure and expectation is placed on the students taking the exams.  Have a read of the first couple of stories below to help gain a little more insight into just how big last Thursday’s exam was.

I was forwarded this great video the other day.  ‘Changing Education Paradigms’ really gets you thinking about how and what we are teaching our kids. 

Here are the teaching related stories this week:

Feel free to comment on any of these stories and continue to share Expacked with your friends. Enjoy the read and, of course, have a good laugh at this week’s jokes.

Cheers,

Ken


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Great fuss on college exam day

“Oh, my God! I am at the wrong place,” cried a male student who found himself at Pungmoon Girls’ High School, one of the state-administered college admittance test venues in downtown Seoul, Thursday.

The student, who had made a wrong turn at one of the most crucial times of his life, asked for help from a policeman near the school. It was almost 8 a.m., just 40 minutes before the critical exam began. Considering his test venue was in Wangsimni, a 30-minute drive away, the college hopeful was in a very urgent situation, but fortunately he got a lift on the back of a police motorbike.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Korean Exam Day

This November 18th was one of the most important days in the life of a Korean high school student. High school students in their last year of high school (also known as 3rd grade) took their university entrance exams.

This exam is what most of them have been studying for their entire high school careers. Some students start preparing for it in middle school. Middle school! WOW! Once the students reach high school, they stay late for “self study” time.

Thanks to Eat Your Kimchi

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Eat Your Kimchi)

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English teachers look to change their image

One of Korea’s biggest foreign English teacher associations is taking an enlightened approach against the fight on mandatory HIV testing by correcting, rather than complaining about, the public’s image of English teachers as promiscuous party animals.

Required HIV testing for visas, one that many slam as discriminatory, has been implemented by the government since 2007. As of now, testing remains for E-2 visas.

National Communications Officer Rob Ouwehand of the Association of Teachers of English in Korea believes that the regulatory testing stems from both the fear of English teachers and HIV, both of which can be cured with knowledge.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korean Herald)

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School in Jeollabuk-do imports Indian English teacher

Kang Shin-who has written a pair of articles in the Korea Times about a private school in Wanju county that has imported an Indian English teacher, the first of his kind:

[A] small private school in North Jeolla Province has challenged this prejudice by inviting the first-ever Indian English teacher here last September. Wanju High School became the destination of the teacher, Abby Thomas, who made English education history in Korea. Although some cautiously raised concerns that it may be difficult to understand an Indian English accent, the school students, parents and other fellow teachers responded positively to the Indian teacher.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Brian in Jeollanam-do)

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Positive changes needed at school

Taking the helm of the education ministry is a tough job in Korea where all parents are experts when it comes to issues about how to educate their children. Since the inception of the Lee Myung-bak administration in 2008, education policies have undergone major changes and a lot of experiments are still going on at schools.

From the introduction of the evaluation of teachers to the expansion of admissions officer system at universities, at the center of all these new and controversial educational programs is Education Minister Lee Ju-ho.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Long-term English employment pool is shallow, instructors report

Hundreds of applicants stood in line in front of a Seoul high school on Nov 6. Among them was Kim Jeong-min (32, assumed name), who joined the others to take an employment test to become a teacher at the school.

That day, Kim wore a heavy expression. She took the test to become a regular English instructor, and the school would select just one individual. If chosen, it would be Kim’s fourth place of work, but passing the test in South Korea is reportedly like passing through the eye of a needle.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Hankyoreh)

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Ban on corporal punishment leaves schools perplexed

With many teachers facing difficulty controlling students following the ban on corporal punishment, the Seoul education office came out with a guidebook on how to deal with unruly students. The book contains detailed guidelines on how to discipline unruly students without physical punishment. School Punishment

For instance, if a student comes to school wearing a school uniform that is overly modified, the manual suggests that the uniform be seized for a certain period and give the student a spare uniform. If a student refuses to follow teachers’ instruction during class, it stipulates that teachers should call the student to the staff room instead of scolding him or her in the classroom.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Your Guide to Thanksgiving in Korea

It’s that time of year again! Kick off the holiday season with a genuine Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you’re a local or expat, you can enjoy the various dining and take out options many restaurants, hotels, and catering services have to offer all over Korea. Take advantage of our comprehensive list of locations celebrating Thanksgiving to experience a little piece of home (and food coma).

DINING OUT?

Friday, November 19th

NEW! Gangnam Hills Toastmasters Club at 100ek Cafe in Gangnam

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: 10 Magazine)

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ATEK Press Release: Letter from the President

Dear ATEK Members:

Some of you are wondering why ATEK’s forums shut down for nearly a week, and the website closed for a day. First of all, as ATEK’s President, I would like to apologize if any of you were inconvenienced by this.

Some of you are wondering why ATEK’s forums shut down for nearly a week, and the website closed for a day.  First of all, as ATEK’s President, I would like to apologize if any of you were inconvenienced by this.

The closing of the website and forums was the result of a series of communications between the ATEK’s National Council, the National Executive, and the Ethics Committee, during which Ethics defended ATEK’s Bylaws, the National Council defended their autonomy, the National Executive took sides. During this, communications became increasingly personal and unproductive.  The Internal Communications Officer, who is responsible for effective communication among ATEK officers, shut down communications, believing that the e-mail and comment forum communications in progress had ceased to be productive.

A situation like this teaches an organization how to become stronger.  While ATEK’s leadership bodies, the National Executive, the National Council, and the Ethics Committee, are now taking steps toward reconciliation and preventing a recurrence of this kind of situation, I would like to assure you that, as President, the integrity of the Association is important to me, and that means there must be accountability.

It was disappointing to see a breakdown in communication between ATEK officers. To restore integrity, I have asked Tom Rainey-Smith, ATEK’s first President, to conduct an informal investigation into the communication breakdown we have had.  He will investigate the causes of the problems we have had and make recommendations to discipline those officers who were acting outside their duties, or outside common courtesy, as well as make recommendations to prevent a recurrence of this situation.  As a former president of ATEK, Tom has demonstrated a vested interest in ATEK’s success, and he has demonstrated his integrity and passion to help ATEK accomplish its mission.  I trust him to make recommendations that will help ATEK grow as an organization.

In the meantime, I am asking the Bodies of the Association: the National Council, the National Executive, and the Ethics Committee, to go back to ATEK’s Bylaws, our constitution, and write a report explaining their understanding of how this conflict got out of hand and how they understand their roles and responsibilities within the framework of ATEK, as described in our Bylaws.  Nobody in ATEK is above the Bylaws, and it is only by restoring integrity and by renewing our respect for the Bylaws and for the other officers and Bodies of the Association that

ATEK will become a stronger organization than it is today.

In solidarity

Jae

Jaehee Oh,

President,

ATEK

(Source: ATEK)

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Time magazine names Korea’s English-teaching robot one of the year’s best inventions

Top-whatever numerical lists are totally lame, but it might be worth passing along that Time magazine named South Korea’s English-teaching robot as one of its 50 Best Inventions of 2010. Call it the job terminator.

South Korea, which employs some 30,000 foreigners to teach English, has plans for a new addition to its language classrooms: the English-speaking robot. Students in a few schools started learning English from the robo-teachers late last year; by the end of this year, the government hopes to have them in 18 more schools. The brightly colored, squat androids are part of an effort to keep South Korean students competitive in English.

Not surprisingly, the proposal has worried a few human teachers — and with good reason. Experts say the bots could eventually phase out flesh-and-blood foreign English teachers altogether.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Brian in Jeollanam-do)

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This week’s Jokes:

1) Philosophy Exam

An eccentric philosophy professor gave a one question final exam after a semester dealing with a broad array of topics.128px-Empedocles_in_Thomas_Stanley_History_of_Philosophy

The class was already seated and ready to go when the professor picked up his chair, plopped it on his desk and wrote on the board: “Using everything we have learned this semester, prove that this chair does not exist.”

Fingers flew, erasers erased, notebooks were filled in furious fashion. Some students wrote over 30 pages in one hour attempting to refute the existence of the chair. One member of the class however, was up and finished in less than a minute.

Weeks later when the grades were posted, the rest of the group wondered how he could have gotten an “A” when he had barely written anything at all. His answer consisted of two words:

“What chair?”

2) Thinking On Your Feet

There was a boy who worked in the produce section of the market. A man came in and asked to buy half a head of lettuce. The boy told him that they only sold whole heads of lettuce, but the man replied that he did not need a whole head, but only a half head. The boy said he would go ask his manager about the matter.

The boy walked into the back room and said, “There’s some jerk out there who wants to buy only a half a head of lettuce.” As he was finishing saying this he turned around to find the man standing right behind him, so he added, “and this gentleman wants to buy the other half…

The manager okayed the deal and the man went on his way. Later the manager called on the boy and said, “You almost got yourself in a lot of trouble earlier, but I must say I was impressed with the way you got yourself out of it. You think on your feet and we like that around here. Where are you from son?” The boy replied, “Canada sir.”

“Oh really? Why did you leave Canada?” asked the manager. The boy replied, “They’re all just whores and hockey players up there.”

“Really,” replied the manager, “My wife is from Canada!!”

The boy replied, “No kidding! What team did she play for?


 

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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #94)

November 13, 2010

Welcome back.  A reader sent in a great video from YouTube that I thought I would share.  We all know that South Korea is one of the most overworked countries in the world, however most of us don’t know just how bad it has become.  South Korea’s drive to be the best, not matter the cost, is concerning the Government as well.  Have a look at this report:

South Korean workaholics urged to take holidays

EPIK have just uploaded info on their upcoming November orientation.  If you are scheduled to attend, click here to read up on the latest details.

Here are the teaching related stories this week:

Feel free to comment on any of these stories and continue to share Expacked with your friends. Enjoy the read and, of course, have a good laugh at this week’s joke.

Cheers,

Ken


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Teachers’ union critical of corporal punishment ban

Members of the Korea Teachers and Education Workers’ Union (KTU), a liberal teachers’ union, had scathing remarks about Seoul’s recent ban on corporal punishment, saying it created friction between students and teachers and did not properly reflect the reality in schools.

It is a reversal of the position the liberal-minded union initially took. Seoul’s education superintendent, Kwak No-hyun, and around 100 teachers of the KTU held a meeting hosted by the union on Wednesday at a local education office in Songpa District, southern Seoul. They discussed issues such as personnel management of teachers and school reforms.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Korea JoongAng Daily)

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What’s next after Korea?

The question of ‘What’s next after Korea?’ may throw more than a few expats for a loop. Whether you’ve called Korea home for months or years, most of us will make plans to move on eventually.

Maybe the grass looks greener in another country, or maybe the thought of teaching English to another misbehaved class of brats makes you want to puke. Regardless of where you want to end up, thinking positively is absolutely required – starting with the mindset that you’ll fail means you probably will.

While there are infinite possibilities, there are at least five paths worth seriously considering:

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Chris in South Korea)

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Foreigners perplexed over G20 buzz

Now the curtain has closed on the G20 Seoul Summit, a historic event which boosted the nation’s pride and status. Months of preparations by civil servants and hundreds of volunteers to host the gathering of 20 heads of state paid off.

It’s obvious that many citizens feel proud of the successful hosting of the summit gathering.

“I am proud that Korea was the chair country of the G20 summit. We need to hold more international events for the development of the country,” said Yang Ho-seung, 50, owner of a sandwich bar, “Sand & Bagel” near City Hall.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Lanterns to stay lit for 1 more week

The Seoul Metropolitan Government will extend its annual world lantern festival for one more week because of its popularity, officials said yesterday. The Seoul Lantern Festival 2010 opened a week ago, timed to coincide with this week’s G-20 Summit. About 27,000 traditional and creative lanterns from 24 countries, including the G-20 nations, are on display along the Cheonggye Stream that runs through the city center.

The event was originally slated to end Sunday. “We decided to extend the event until Sunday next week to provide more attractions to foreign tourists coming to visit the capital and to local residents,” said Ahn Seung-il, a senior city official.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Korea JoongAng Daily)

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Teacher and student fight in Suncheon classroom

First noticed in the Jeonnam Ilbo on the 12th, now in English in the Dong-a Ilbo, in a lengthier piece about how the new quote-unquote ban on corporal punishment in Korean classrooms undermines discipline:

Around 12:30 p.m. Oct. 15 in a middle school classroom in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province, a teacher approached a female student and asked her what she was writing on her notebook. When the teacher tried to take the notebook, the student protested.

The teacher hit her on the head and the student revolted, saying, “Is it right for a teacher to hit a student? Just teach.”

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Brian in Jeollanam-do)

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Public school teacher stats and the inquiry into Quincy Black

On Tuesday the Seoul Sinmun reported on the placement of native speaking teachers in public schools, and provided this helpful chart:

At top are the number of teachers by year, followed by a breakdown by nationality of teachers currently working, and at bottom are the percentages of teachers with qualifications. Interesting to see how the numbers changed over the years. The spike in 1996 and 1997 can be explained by something I quoted here (original link dead):

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Gusts of Popular Feeling)

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Indian English books place in South Korean education

When a high-level summit of the world’s most powerful countries is on, the talk invariably revolves around money. That is true of the G-20 summit which kicked off here today, but it is difficult to deny Abby Thomas his moment in the sun for making English education history in South Korea.

The rise of India’s services industry has been about low wages and English language skills. Thomas embodies both, in becoming the first Indian to teach English in this country.

Of course, he costs his employer, the Wanju High School in North Jerolla province, considerably less than standard wages for English teachers from other countries.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Sify.com)

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New Contracts to Protect Aspiring Teenage Stars from Abuse

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family and the Fair Trade Commission on Tuesday presented to the Cabinet a standardized contract for aspiring teenage stars that would protect them from abuse.

The proposal comes after teen group GP Basic was put together in August from five middle schoolers and an elementary school student, setting a new record for the youngest manufactured band.

Currently teen entertainers are employed by talent agencies on private contracts that offer little protection from abuse and are often subject to pressure to wear revealing clothes, practice long, grueling hours or skip school.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Chosun Ilbo)

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The top 5 TEFL questions… Answered!

Are you thinking of teaching English abroad, but feel like you’ve got a gazillion questions swimming through your head? You’re not the only one! So, Emma Foers asked TEFL tutor James Jenkin, who has over 15 years’ experience, to answer people’s most common TEFL questions.

Q) Which TEFL course should I do?

A) There is such demand for English teachers that you’ll be able to find a job in many countries with no qualification at all. However, schools that tend to have the better TEFL positions (in terms of hours, support and remuneration) often ask for a TEFL qualification. The course you choose could be purely online, face-to-face, or a combination of both. And of course, if you want to be confident and do a good job, a TEFL course is highly recommended.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The TEFL Times)

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Indulge in design city Seoul

Seoul, one of the most dynamic cities in the world, is continuously transforming itself into a more attractive global city, maintaining a striking balance between modernization and past traditions. Upgrading its beauty to a higher level and making the city more convenient are artful touches of sophisticated urban designs initiated by the city government.

“Seoul is a unique city based on its long history, gifted natural environment and highly advanced information technology and it is now to expand into a foreigner-friendly global city in the world,” Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said at a press conference Tuesday.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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This week’s joke: And the answer is…

An American and a Kiwi are sitting next to each other on a long flight.

The American is thinking that Kiwi’s are pretty thick so he could get over on them easy. So the American asks if the Kiwi would like to play a fun game.

The Kiwi is tired and just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and tries to catch a few winks. The American persists, and says that the game is a lot of fun. “I ask you a question, and if you don’t know the answer, you pay me only $5; you ask me one, and if I don’t know the answer, I will pay you $500″ he says.

This catches the Kiwi s attention and to keep the American quiet, he agrees to play the game. The American asks the first question. ‘What’s the distance from the Earth to the Moon?’

The Kiwi reaches in his pocket pulls out a five-dollar bill and hands it to the American without saying a word. Now, it’s the Kiwi’s turn. He asks the American, ‘What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down with four?’

The American uses his laptop and searches all references he could find on the Net. He sends e-mails to all the smart friends he knows, all to no avail. After an hour of searching he finally gives up. He wakes up the Kiwi and hands him $500.

The Kiwi pockets the $500 and goes right back to sleep.

The American is going nuts not knowing the answer. He wakes up the Kiwi and asks, ‘Well, so what goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four?’

The Kiwi reaches in his pocket, hands the American $5 and goes back to sleep.


 

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