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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #90)

October 14, 2010

While teaching, it is always important to at the calendar and try to integrate special topics and events into your lesson plans as much as possible.  This helps to keep the classes fresh and exciting.  It is also a great way to encourage more participation from your students.  School with Blue Sky

There are two big events coming up that your students will love – Halloween and Guy Fawkes (if you are not familiar with Guy Fawkes, read this.  Its a major English celebration and involves fireworks).  Just be creative and have a little fun with your students!

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.





TOPIK to have speaking section

The government plans to add a speaking section to the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) which currently consists of four parts — vocabulary and grammar, writing, listening and reading. Foreign students have insisted that the state-run language test have a speaking section.

The Ministry of Education Science and Technology said it and the National Institute for International Education Development (NIIED) are considering developing a speaking test for TOPIK, though they have yet to come up with a detailed timeline.

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

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Union: Teachers should have right to politics

Elementary, middle and high school teachers need a revised law to allow for their participation in politics, said Ahn Yang-ok, the president of the Korean Federation of Teachers’ Association, at a press conference yesterday marking his 100th day as president.

Ahn’s comments have caused conflict with the central government. The current law prohibits teachers from engaging in any kind of political campaign or joining a political party because educators in Korea are considered civil servants. In 2001, KFTA requested the right for its members to take part in political activities, but was denied.

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

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Rules on foreign schools to be eased

Rules on conditions for the establishment of foreign education institutes in free economic zones (FEZs) and the Jeju International Free City will be eased to attract more foreign schools. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced revised bills Tuesday to ease regulations regarding school facilities and teacher requirements in obtaining school licenses from the government.

The new criteria are expected to become effective from the end of the year, the ministry said. Foreign elementary and secondary schools along with colleges in these special zones will not have to meet a set of rules applied to Korean schools.

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

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[Letters] Why Koreans learn English

A lot of English teachers come to Korea expecting to teach active, enthusiastic Korean students eager to learn English. Many of those teachers complain about the fact that no matter how hard they try, they can’t get students’ attention.

While some Koreans want to learn English so they can pursue studies in English speaking countries or communicate better with their foreign friends or in-laws, most Koreans study English simply because they have no other choice.

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

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Formula 1 Korean Grand Prix

After the 1988 Seoul Olympics, it seemed like Korea had hit the big time in terms of hosting international sporting events. But it wasn’t until the beginning of the last decade when things really started to take off – the 2002 FIFA World Cup, several Asian Games (2002 and 2014) and the upcoming World Athletics Competition in Daegu in 2011. Now Korea can add Formula One racing to the list.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: HiExpat)

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English teachers launch fundraising initiative on Jeju

JEJU ISLAND, South Korea, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) — When Lindsey Lynch arrived on Jeju Island in March to teach as part of the English Program in Korea, she found well-equipped classrooms with high-tech aids and a focus on long study hours.

Having previously spent a month teaching at a school for underprivileged children in Thailand and several months traveling in India, she was struck by the contrast. Lynch decided to help less privileged children while educating her students about lives far different from their own on Jeju, a semi-tropical island off the south of Korea that is a favorite with South Korean and Japanese honeymooners.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Yonhap)

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ETS scholarship networks future leaders

A scholarship program, organized by the TOEFL and TOEIC test developer, Educational Testing Service (ETS), is helping competitive young collegians network with each other.

The U.S.-based test organizer has recently picked a total of 30 Korean college students who have excelled in English language learning and leadership and hosted an awards ceremony at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul, Thursday. The students said the scholarship program helped them to improve communication skills and team-work capabilities.

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

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ATEK Newsletter: Human Rights Issues

This month on the blogs:

One of the most surprising and disturbing blog posts of the last month was one in which a female English teacher recounted a near sexual assault in her neighborhood. You can read the full story here:

If women’s issues are of particular interest to you, and you would like to help develop resources and share information to help female English teachers be prepared for situations like the one above, and moreover, to have a safe and happy time in Korea, please consider volunteering to join ATEK’s Human Rights Committee (to specialize in writing and distributing information about women’s issues) or Emergency Needs Committee (to help women directly with these issues).

Please go to or to view more about each officer’s roles.

Go to to apply.

Michael Glendinning

Gyeonggi Human Rights Officer

Human Rights Committee Chair

Click Here to read the full ATEK newsletter (Source: ATEK)

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Classroom panoramas let teachers see it all

SAN FRANCISCO–Stepping into the second-grade classroom at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in San Francisco’s Mission District, one thing was clear. In many ways, school hasn’t changed.

The books, the pencils, the paper. None of it looked very different than my second-grade class did 25 years ago.

But Teachscape, an education company focused on using technology to develop new ways of thinking about learning, wants to change that; and it’s giving teachers the tools to watch, listen to, and share the ways they teach.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Cnet)

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This week’s joke: A senior moment

A 98 year old woman in the UK wrote this to her bank. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the Times.

Dear Sir,

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my cheque with which I endeavoured to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the cheque and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it.

I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my Pension, an arrangement, which, I admit, has been in place for only thirty eight years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account £30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.

My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become.

From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person. My mortgage and loan payments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank by cheque, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate. Be aware that it is an offence under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope.

Please find attached an Application Contact Status which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative. Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Solicitor, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.

In due course, I will issue your employee with PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modelled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further. When you call me, press buttons as follows:

  1. To make an appointment to see me.
  2. To query a missing payment.
  3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
  4. To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
  5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.
  6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.
  7. To leave a message on my computer (a password to access my computer is required. A password will be communicated to you at a later date to the Authorized Contact.)
  8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through to 8.
  9. To make a general complaint or inquiry, the contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.

May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous, New Year.

Your Humble Client

Remember: This was written by a 98 year old woman; DOESN’T SHE MAKE YOU PROUD!


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