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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #83)

August 6, 2010

I’ve been in Korea a few years now and you would have thought I should know this already.  Earlier this week I got a little frustrated during a phone call with a Korean Government official.  That frustration ended up ruining the rest of the day for me (and that’s putting it lightly).

Outdoor Exercise Equipment

Without going into the details, I woke up the next day and realised just how stupid I was to complain and worry about systems and events I could not change.  Having a completely different mindset changed everything and the ‘situation’ turned into a non event – and one I ended up enjoying.

Living in a foreign country like Korea is, in most cases, completely different to your norms and experiences back home.  There will be things that you disagree with or don’t understand and its easy to get worked up about it, however will getting worked up actually solve it?  Having patience and a positive frame of mind will make living in Korea a far better experience.

Are you at a different school for summer camp – You need to tell Immigration

ETIS (SMOE) released a timely warning.  For those working at a different school for their summer camp, it is essential to report this to immigration.  Teachers who don’t report this change of workplace can face possible penalty fines.  Click here for further details.

EPIK/SMOE Orientation

From EPIK’s website, there are a bunch of notices about August orientation.  If you are attending any of these EPIK or SMOE events, you should visit their website and click on ‘What’s New”.  From there you can view the details and confirm which one you are attending.

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.




ATEK Presidential Nominations (Closing Tomorrow)

The July ATEK newsletter, which was sent out to all members, announced that presidential nominations began on July 23.  They close tomorrow.

So far, one person has submitted her candidacy, and while I’m assured that she’s awesome, it’s better for the organization, and better for English teachers, if we have more people in the running.  Campaigning and presidential debates allow for a discussion of English teachers’ situation in Korea, and the future of the organization, in a way that more clearly articulates a person’s vision, and the community’s needs.

If you’re a general member of ATEK, and you want to throw your hat in the ring, the nomination period ends tomorrow, so get down to the ATEK general members forum to join the race.  Also: any nominations need to be seconded by a general member.  Don’t forget to second candidates you support.

Click Here for the Original Posting (Source: Roboseyo)

Editor’s Note: Thanks Rob for the call to action in this posting!  This is an important organisation for native English teachers and I hope everyone gets in behind them.

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District offices create English education classes

A series of creative programs organized by district offices in Seoul to help Korean students learn English are gaining popularity for their educational value and affordability.

In one such program sponsored by Gangdong District Office, a native English speaker explains the significance of a historical site in Amsa-dong in southern Seoul. The program is held every second and fourth Saturday of the month and is free.

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

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Most teen mothers quit school, study suggests

Most teenage mothers quit school, a straw poll suggests. Prof. Je Seok-bong of the Catholic University of Daegu spoke to 73 teenage mothers at 35 facilities across Korea. This photo belongs to Passamanerie's Photostream on

The survey commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology found that the vast majority quitted going to school. About one-third dropped out of vocational high school, about one-fifth out of middle school and some out of high school. Seven out of 10 did not inform their school of their pregnancy.

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

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Foreigners satisfied with English service

Foreigners in Seoul can understand Korean movies better at the multiplex chain CGV, where the theater provides English subtitles for Korean movies in cooperation with Seoul City.

He Anna, 29, is a student from China, now attending Korea University studying Korean language and culture. She majored in Korean at a university in China and came to Seoul about one and a half years ago. Currently, she works as an intern at the Korea Foundation.

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

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English teacher accused of sexual assault

A native English teacher was detained on suspicion of raping a barmaid, police said Sunday.

According to police, an America citizen, a native English teacher at a private language institute, is accused of sexually assaulting a Korean barmaid in a public restroom of a building in Dunsan-dong, Daejeon, at 3 a.m. Saturday.

Police said the victim didn’t want the investigation to go further in exchange for compensation from the American.

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

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Tracking what 21st century school should teach

The ed-tech startup LearnBoost has become the first gradebook and lesson plan software to fully integrate the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards, and their relationship with the Obama Administration’s Race to the Top funding competition, have become one of the top issues in education recently.

As more states over the past few weeks have announced support for a national set of curriculum standards, LearnBoost hopes implementation of the standards will help it pick up adopters when schools resume this fall.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: ReadWriteWeb)

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SNU launches honor society

Seoul National University held the inaugural ceremony for its new collegiate honor society, called SNU Tomorrow’s Edge Membership (STEM), on July 14.

The organization is modeled after collegiate honor societies at U.S. universities such as the Phi Beta Kappa Society and Tau Beta Pi.  Like its American counterparts, STEM’s mission is to create an organization of honor students who have the potential for leadership.

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

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New Songdo school opens its door

“Sit in that chair over there,” a tall, silver-haired man said as he disappeared into the next room. In a few seconds, his face appeared on an enormous flat-screen panel hanging on the wall opposite a chair and desk that had a small chess board on top. The screen also displayed a chess set in the next room. “This is what our students will be using in class.”

Richard Warmington, who recently became the president of the Chadwick International School in Songdo, Incheon, was confident as he demonstrated the state-of-the-art technology installed in his brand-new school.

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

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High School Capacity Building Measures

Press release on April 9, 2010

School Enhancement Division

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) revealed its plan to take measures to enhance the educational capacity of general high schools in Korea.

  • The measures include i) the operation of basic and advanced courses and ii) the extension of the range of elective subjects so as to allow students to choose the courses they want taking account of their interests, aptitudes and academic performances.

The High School Capacity Building Measures will be implemented in line with the new education policies of the current administration such as the subject-based classroom system, the high school diversification policy as well as the Revised National Curriculum 2009.

  • In particular, among those new policies, the subject-based classroom system was introduced to provide the level-differentiated courses for students. However, the gap between what students learn in the classroom and the exam they have to take has been raised as a problem of this scheme.
  • Under this circumstance, introduction of basic and advanced courses will allow students to take both the courses and tests appropriate for their levels, enabling the smooth implementation of the level-differentiated courses.

<High School Capacity Building Measures>

Adoption of basic & advanced courses: With the opening of the basic and advanced courses, students are given a wider range of options in terms of the subjects that require level-differentiated classes such as English and math.

  • The basic course is for the students who are lacking the basic academic skill, while the advanced course is for the well-performing students whose need for learning cannot be satisfied by the ordinary classes.
  • In case it is difficult for a school to open an advanced course, the regional office of education will be entrusted to manage the advanced courses.

Extension of the range of electives: With the extension of the range of elective subjects such as social study or arts, schools will be able to provide an environment where students can choose the elective they need for their future career.

Change in the way to fill out the student record cards: When it comes to basic & advanced courses, the student record card will just show whether the course is completed, rather than the grades or ranks of the students.

<Plan for Pilot Operation>

The measures will be test run from upcoming September once the preparatory phase is over. To this end, MEST will appoint 60 general high schools as the model schools.

The model schools are to carry out the High School Capacity Building Measures in a way that is appropriate for their situation. The basic guideline is as follows:

  • The schools provide the syllabus and diagnostic tests to help students choose the subjects that are suitable for them.
  • The schools draw up the standard for the completion of basic and advanced courses and provide after-school programs or summer courses for those who fall short of the standard as a means to improve these students’ academic performances.

<Expected Effects>

If the measures take root, students of the general high schools, whose individual academic achievement levels show great variance, will be able to choose the courses customized for them as well as a wider range of selective subjects that are helpful to their future career. All in all, this will lead to the improvement of students’ satisfaction with the public education.

  • In addition, the responsibility of high schools for improving students’ academic performance will be strengthened as they are required to do so by the Measures.
  • Another positive effect the Measures are expected to bring about is the reform of functions of the regional offices of education. By managing the advanced courses for schools, the regional offices of education will be able to undertake more than just the administrative duties.

(Source: Ministry of Education, Science and Technology)

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Concerts at Seoul Plaza in August

Citizens will be able to fight the summer heat wave by enjoying a variety of classical music for free at Seoul Plaza in front of City Hall in August.

A city spokesman said Monday that the city has prepared midsummer night concerts based on the “classic” theme, such as “jazz classics,” “cinema classics from film OSTs” and “pop classics.”

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

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This week’s jokes

1) Toothbrushes (ROKetship)

ROK Toothbrushes WEB

By Luke Martin (

2) How do I win ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ every time

When I arrived in Korea I was blown away by how little game could decide anything, anywhere.  It was even used to decide the winner when we tied at an interschool teachers sports day!   I found this gem from the website FlowingData.  Study it hard and  impress your Korean students! (Source: FlowingData)

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