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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #82)

July 29, 2010

We’ve come to the end of another hot week and I’m definitively thankful for that little invention called the air conditioner.   An Apartment Hiding

While there will still be a lot of teachers running summer English camps at the moment, its worth reminding people that the summer vacation period has the highest rate of burglaries in Korea.

For foreigners, a burglary can be especially gut-wrenching, as I would beat most of us do not think about the little things, like losing all your priceless photos because your laptop is stolen and you have no backup copies.

So, please remember to double check all your locks and windows when you leave the apartment, especially when you go on holiday.   This should be a given anyway, but if you don’t already do it, backup your pictures and music collection!!!!!!

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.




Education ministry sits on fence over corporal punishment

The education ministry remains ambivalent about disputes over corporal punishment at schools, adding confusion to the sensitive issue.

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, headed by liberal superintendent Kwak No-hyun, has made it clear that it will ban physical discipline and establish a task force to come up with a detailed action plan. The team, comprising of 20 teachers, parents and students, will devise specific guidelines on how to eliminate physical punishment at schools.

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

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On ATEK and a new president

My good friend Rob, the National Communications Officer for ATEK, and the man behind Roboseyo has recently raised some interesting points regarding ATEK’s next president. The Association for Teachers of English in Korea has had a checkered history, but over the last year quite a few positive changes have been made (quoted from Rob’s e-mail – bullet points are mine):

  • ATEK has made inroads and contacts with members of the Korean government, for example the SMPA [Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency], as well as other organizations in Korea, like KOTESOL;
  • It has unveiled programs like the Legal Assurance Program that have directly provided English teachers with their urgent needs[;]
  • ATEK has [worked to avoid] courting controversy by working to build relationships rather than adopting a confrontational style that made a lot of noise, but alienated the people with whom we wanted dialogue.

That certainly sounds like a step forward.

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

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Educational overhaul

During a meeting with Kwak No-hyun, the superintendent of education in Seoul, foreign teachers gave plenty of advice about how the nation can bolster English lessons in school classrooms.

They called for more opportunities to teach students at different paces according to their competency levels. The teachers pointed out that under the current structure, students of all levels of English understanding are taught together, which benefits no one.

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

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To make schools saferSchool Bars

This is in response to a July 13 article, “New drug test plan angers native English teachers,” published.

As a professional educator, it is disturbing to read that the leadership of a group of native English teachers, no matter how small, would oppose any measure that strives to make students safer.

Fortunately, those that were quoted in the article are in the minority and only represent a fringe group of native teachers in the Republic of Korea.

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

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NZ Embassy moves to new location

The New Zealand Embassy has enjoyed a long relationship with the Kyobo building in Gwanghwamun but, that relationship will end when they move into their new digs later this week.

“With an expansion of our diplomatic presence in Seoul, the time had come to look for a slightly larger embassy that would better suit our needs in the coming years,” explained New Zealand Ambassador Richard Mann to The Korea Herald.

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

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[Viewpoint] Why schooling matters

Summer break is upon us. Every year we learn of the start of summer vacation from newspapers carrying photos of beaming children racing out of their schools in a full-throttled embrace of freedom.

Somehow the pictures always sadden me. From the expressions on their faces, you’d think the kids had been released from prison. What pain and boredom in classrooms could they endure to have such relief on their faces as they head out of the schools’ gates?

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

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Political infighting grinds school boards to a halt

A third of the country’s provincial boards of education have been paralyzed as education officials from five out of 16 boards decided to go on indefinite strike to protest politicians hijacking the top positions on the boards.

Officials from Seoul, Gyeonggi, south Chungcheong, north and south Jeolla refused to report to work less than a month after the newly elected boards were sworn in.

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

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Teaching integration through outdoor class

A group of 42 children spent a day-long emersion culture tour at the Bukcheon (northern village) area of Seoul, Saturday. Among them, 26 were from families with multicultural backgrounds.

The event was the first in a series of the Hope Kids programs prepared to help children of parents who are either a migrant worker or married to a migrant from a Southeast Asian nation, in order to better adjust to Korean society.

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

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Foreigners pick the best aspects of Seoul life

Foreign residents in Seoul have selected Namsan, Hongdae streets and makgeolli as their favorite things in the city.  In a recent survey conducted by Seoul City and Seoul Tourism Organization, 500 foreign national respondents selected the city’s 20 greatest experiences, according to city officials Thursday.

The list was named Seoul G20, after the G20 summit to be held here this coming November, an event expected to promote the city globally and to draw an increasing number of visitors.

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

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This week’s jokes

1) Privates (ROKetship)

ROK privates WEB By Luke Martin (

2) If only this could work in a Korean school…

A woman walks into the the local Social Welfare Office, trailed by 15 kids.

“WOW,” the social worker exclaims, “Are they ALL yours ?”

“Yeah, they are all mine,” the flustered mother sighs, having heard that question a thousand times before.

She says, “Sit down, Terry.” All the children rush to find seats.

“Well,” says the social worker, “then you must be here to sign up. I’ll need all your childrens’ names.”

“This one’s my oldest – he is Terry.”

“OK, and who’s next ?”

“Well, this one – he is Terry, also.”

The social worker raises an eyebrow but continues. One by one, through the oldest four, all boys, all named Terry. Then she is introduced to the eldest girl, named Terri.

“All right,” says the caseworker. “I’m seeing a pattern here. Are they ALL named Terri ?”

Their mother replies, “Well, yes – it makes it easier. When it is time to get them out of bed and ready for school, I yell, ‘Terry !’

And’ when it’s time for dinner, I just yell ‘Terry !’ and’ they all come runnin’.

An’ if I need to stop the kid who’s running into the street, I just yell ‘Terry !’ and all of them stop.

It’s the smartest idea I ever had, naming them all ‘Terry’.”

The social worker thinks this over for a bit, then wrinkles her forehead and says tentatively, “But what if you just want ONE kid to come, and not the whole bunch?”

“I call them by their last names !!”

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