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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #50)

December 10, 2009

You can probably tell by the heading that Expacked has reached another huge milestone – We have now sent out 50 weekly issues of Expacked!  Busan09 105

I have learnt a lot over the past year and its still great to be able to keep people informed on what’s making the headlines on ‘teaching English in Korea”.

Last week we included a great feature article titled:  Accuracy vs Fluency: Is Korea Making a Mistake in How They Learn and Teach English?

We got some excellent feedback from this article and it was interesting to see that there was no clear winner in the poll we ran with it.   Here are the poll results from the question, “What Should We Focus on in Teaching English – Accuracy or Fluency?”

  • Accuracy is more important  =  27%
  • Fluency is more important  =  33%
  • They are both of equal importance  =  33%
  • Other  =  7%

Hopefully this article was able to get people thinking a little more on just how we should be teaching English in Korea.

The Killers Live in Seoul, Coming in February 2010

I was really happy when I heard The Killers were on tour and coming to Seoul this February.  The Killers is one of my favourite bands and I’m looking forward to seeing them live.  Check out their website for further details.

Winter School Holidays – More Work For Native English Teachers at Public Schools

It seems that public schools may be getting harder on native English teachers over these winter holidays.  In the past, once any winter camps were over, many teachers were lucky enough to be given additional days off over the winter holidays.  There was a simple reason for this – why have native English teachers come into school when there was no work for them to do.

Now it looks like they may make ‘every’ teacher come into work or be told to use their paid holiday leave.

I first read about this in Brian’s post, Deskwarming coming to Jeollanam-do public schools this winter and Stafford Lumsden’s Desk Warming – If Only it Was Warm.

I got this confirmed yesterday, when my school mentioned to me that I will need to do some additional tasks while at school during the winter holidays.  For my school, I now need to write a 5 page essay on “how we can become better teachers” and also phone all the 40 students that I will have had on my winter camp – to talk about how their day went.  This is, of course, on top of lesson planning for the year.

Now, talking more with the students outside normal class (and school) is not such a bad idea, however I did get the impression that they were just trying to come up with anything that would help keep me busy doing something.

I personally don’t mind that the schools are trying to better utilise their teachers over this period (since they are paying for it).  However, I just hope it has nothing to do with some of the negative press new organisations have been firing at native English teachers recently.   I firmly believe that most native English teachers are performing well and its sad to see a few bad apples may be giving us all a bad name.

If you are told to write an essay about teaching – instead of just writing something that your school is likely to only file away, why don’t you share at least some of it with our Expacked readers.  Writing the essay is meant to be part of your self improvement in teaching, so why not also share your knowledge and experience with the whole community.

If you are asked to write one, think of an interesting topic and then try to make all those long hours essay writing count for something.  Write it for your school, but then take the best parts from it and send it through to us at Expacked to post to our readers.

Here’s the stories making the news this week:

Feel free to comment on any of the stories and make use of the easy sharing options available – in just a few quick clicks you can share any of these stories to all your teaching mates in Korea.

I hope you enjoy the read and, of course, have a good laugh at this week’s jokes at the end.

Thanks,

Ken

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