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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #91)

October 23, 2010

We are a little late this week with Expacked, however it is with good reason.  We’re lucky to actually get one out at all, as I have had a recurrence of an eye infection and have found this clashes pretty badly with staring at computer screens.

This weekend sees another big sporting event coming to Korea – the Formula One World Championship has arrived.  On Sunday we will have an audience of over 600 million watching Sunday’s race at the  brand new Korean International Circuit in Yeongam, South Jeolla.  Hopefully some of our readers will be heading over 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


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English language still a challenge for Korean college students

Foreign scholars and experts, who were invited by the government to evaluate the quality of the nation’s higher education, have pointed out that a lack of English language proficiency still holds back Korean students from becoming more proactive in classroom.

“Korean students are well-prepared students. But they are more withdrawn from their American counterpart and seldom raise questions during the class,” an American professor, who taught in Korea, told the local Chosun Ilbo newspaper Saturday. “Perhaps it has to do with their fear of having to speak in English.”

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

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Duncan calls on U.S. to match education fervor in South Korea

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Wednesday called for his nation to match Korean parents’ enthusiasm for the education of their children, attributing South Korea’s economic growth for the past decades to that fervor.

Duncan told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York that the U.S. is losing the global race to achieve economic competitiveness, citing the conversation U.S. President Barack Obama had with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Seoul last year, according to a transcript released by the Education Department.

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

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Get Your Scare On: Halloween in Korea!

Autumn has arrived in Seoul, and with it comes the ending days of October, sadly without the ghouls and goblins of Halloween in Korea. For the record, Korea has no history whatsoever related to or even associated with Halloween, All Saint’s Day, Dia de Los Muertos or any other of those creepy, spooky, knee-knocking days nutured by and kept alive through confectionary conglomerates across the globe.

I’ve taken the liberty to list out, by area, every happening event from here to the Gates of Hades to help you enjoy your Halloween in Korea, whether you are in Seoul, Busan or even…Bundang! (All events on October 30th unless otherwise noted).

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: HiExpat)

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The EBS textbook debacle

Many worried when the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology suddenly announced in March that starting this year 70 percent of the national college entrance exam would be based on lectures and textbooks run and published by the public Educational Broadcasting Company.

The decision, which bypassed thorough research, public debate or pilot testing, stunned students and parents. Students returning home from prep classes and cram institutions sat in front of computers late into the night, dozing over the EBS online lectures.

The ever-resourceful cram schools acted fast, opening up classes and printing texts dedicated to EBS lectures, completely demolishing the education authorities’ intention of reducing students’ dependency on private tutoring.

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

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Good News for First-Year NETs : Clarification on Korean Visa Extensions

Furious. Frustrated. Jaded. Piss-poor negative and tempted to risk unauthorized visa extensions. This is how many (Daegu) NETs were feeling at the recent email that went out from DOE’s notifying them of the new visa extensions regulations. Produce apostilled diplomas and now, a FBI criminal background report from abroad?!

Messages on Facebook circulated around in various EPIK Daegu forums from interpretations of the regulation’s wording, fears that we weren’t given enough time to meet deadlines, rumors of how other district NETs (outside of Daegu) were going about it, to “My co-teacher said…” Though the regulations were written in English, reading it was only leading to more confusion.

Personally, my head hurt. We were feeling all too helpless and our Daegu DMOE wasn’t responding to our many questions. If you’re wondering… there’s good news ahead and we finally received a second email from our DMOE clarifying the actions we need to follow if we’re renewing a contract, changing schools or leaving after contract is up. Maybe the Korean Department of Ministry and the Korean God of visa extensions aren’t evil. Maybe….

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

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Is parents’ educational zeal always good?

Korean parents’ single-minded devotion to their children’s success through education is well-known. This zeal has become an object of criticism here, while — interestingly enough — it has become an object of admiration in some other countries.

Experts share the view that competitive people were the impetus behind Korea’s rise to become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies from one of the poorest nations after the Korean War (1950-53) over a relatively short period of time. Parents’ education fervor for their children has become a topic for debate here lately as it has spawned negative fallout, including soaring household spending on private tutoring and a persistent gap in academic performance between children from high- and low-income families.

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

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1.5 A Month for Rural Teaching?

According to this article, a government agency signed a memorandum of understanding with a bunch of US universities to recruit students to teach in Korea. The program will bring hundreds of students to Korea to teach in rural schools, and give foreigners a chance to learn Korean culture.

The monthly stipend is 1 500 000 won, and it’s run by the National Institute for International Education.

OK. This is a little more realistic than thinking that Korean Studies students and Kyopos would want to teach in the countryside for free, I suppose… and it’d be good for those rural schools to have native speakers in their classrooms, I suppose.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Roboseyo)

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ETIS Press Release: Apostilled Diploma

Hello SMOE Teachers, Just to clarify you will need to apply for and obtain an apostille for your diploma, even if you have turned in one to us already if you plan on renewing next year. This will be for immigration but please give us a copy when you get it so we can keep track of who has completed it.

Sincerely,

Mathew Bumbalough

ETIS Coordinator

smoemathew@sen.go.kr

Click Here for the Story (Source: ETIS/SMOE)

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Married teacher accused of sex with 15-year-old student

A married female teacher at a middle school in Gangseo-gu had a sexual relationship with one of her students, news reports said. Police officers reported that the teacher, who is 35 years old, had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student. Both cannot be named for legal reasons. According to police officers, on Oct. 18, the female teacher had intercourse with the student inside her car in a car park at Yeongdeungpo station, approximately at noon. The teacher had been hired as a short-term teacher, before being appointed as a homeroom teacher. The teacher is married with a child around the same age as the student.

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

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Conducting English classes in Korea

Recently my daughter’s middle school English teacher held a demonstration class. He had invited parents of his students to sit in on his class. He began to conduct his English class in broken English. No sooner had he started than his students sitting in the first row asked him, “Why don’t you teach the same way you usually do?” This anecdote reminds us of the two stark realities of English education in Korea. The first is that everybody knows that it is desirable to teach students English in English. The second is that it is often impossible for Korean teachers to do so. Some scholars may argue that English should be taught in a way that students are not scared or discouraged, and therefore taught in Korean. That way, the argument goes, students will “understand” the lesson. Others attribute many Korean students’ inability to learn English to their low intelligence.

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

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This week’s Joke: The following are actual newspaper headlines seen around the world

  • Something went wrong in jet crash, experts says
  • Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers
  • Safety Experts say school bus passengers should be belted
  • Drunk gets nine months in violin case
  • Iraqi head seeks arms
  • Is there a ring of debris around Uranus?
  • Prostitutes appeal to Pope
  • Panda mating fails; Veterinarian takes over
  • British left waffles on Falkland Islands
  • Teacher strikes idle kids
  • Reagan wins on budget, but more lies ahead
  • Shot off woman’s leg helps Nicklaus to 66
  • Enraged cow injures house
  • Miners refuse to work after death
  • Juvenile court to try shooting defendant
  • Stolen painting found by tree
  • Two soviet ships collide, one dies
  • 2 sisters reunited after 18 years in checkout counter
  • Killer sentenced to die for second time in 10 years
  • Drunken drivers paid $1000 in ’84
  • War dims hope for peace
  • If strike isn’t settled quickly, it may last a while
  • Cold wave linked to temperatures

 

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