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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #93)

November 6, 2010

I hope everyone got into the Halloween spirit last week!

This week’s Expacked picture has to be one of the best Halloween costumes in Korea. Kate spent a week making it by hand and she took out the competition to win best dressed at a local pub in Nowon-gu, Seoul.

Special events are a great way to motivate students in your English classes.  We are interested to find out how many people tried to use Halloween in their classrooms last week.  Was it successful or did it turn out to be a waste of time?  Participant in the poll below – It will be great to find out how everyone went.


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.





Korean actress slammed for making fun of Filipino teachers’ English accent

Korean actress and commercial endorser Lee Da Hae, who starred in dramas such as “My Girl” and “East of Eden,” has drawn the ire of Filipinos after a video uploaded on YouTube showed her mimicking and making fun of what she claimed as Filipino teachers’ English accent.

The actress, who was appointed this year as ambassador of the Korean government’s Presidential Committee on Green Growth, was a guest on a KBS entertainment program hosted by Shin Dong Yup.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Manila Bulletin)

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Lantern festival to light up Seoul ahead of G20 summit

The Cheonggye Stream in Seoul is to be adorned with 27,000 traditional and creative lanterns from 24 countries, including a special one celebrating the Group of 20 summit.

The Seoul Lantern Festival 2010 is to be held from Friday until next Sunday, starting with the lighting ceremony Friday evening, said Seoul City officials. The second annual festival, themed “Seoul, a forest of hope and light,” has been specially planned to celebrate the first G20 summit in Korea.

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

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Samsung Electronics to hire high school grads

Students from the 21 meister schools that opened their doors this year will be handpicked by Korean corporate giant Samsung Electronics for jobs at the company after they graduate. “This was a rare decision by a large conglomerate to hire high school graduates as technicians, and not just as technical laborers,” Seol Dong-keun, first vice minister of education, science and technology, said yesterday.

To facilitate cooperation between the government and the business, the Education Ministry and Samsung Electronics plan to sign a memorandum of understanding within the year.

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

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ATEK applauds Korean Ministry, congratulates activists for change in HIV testing rules


This is Rob Ouwehand, ATEK’s National Communications Officer. I hope this message finds you well; ATEK is doing well, and growing quickly.

Please find an attached .pdf file containing a press release about changes in visa requirements for Migrant Workers.

View this document on Scribd

(Source: ATEK)

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EPIK Press Release: Attention Spring 2011 applicants

Attention Spring 2011 Applicants for EPIK-Seoul:

If you have previously worked as a Native Speaker English Teacher under the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE), and you wish to reapply for a position in Seoul, you must submit your application directly to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education. If you have ever held a contract with the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, either currently or at any point in the past, your application to teach for the Spring 2011 semester cannot be submitted to the national EPIK office.

That means only teachers applying for EPIK-Seoul for the first time can apply through the EPIK website. For contact information and details about the application process for SMOE, please visit their official English-language website.

Notice for Spring 2011 EPIK applicants:

Please note that successful EPIK applicants will be given 48 hours from the time they receive a contract to withdraw from the program. If you receive a contract and Notice of Appointment from EPIK, you will have a position secured with a Provincial or Metropolitan Office of Education, and you will be expected to arrive in Korea for the beginning of the mandatory orientation.

Should a successful applicant decide to withdraw from the program after receiving a contract from EPIK, they must contact the EPIK office immediately. Beginning this year, applicants who withdraw from the program, for any reason, and do not notify the EPIK office within 48 hours of receiving their contract will not be eligible to apply for subsequent terms.

Click Here for EPIK’s Website (Source: EPIK)

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For migrant children, getting fair education is still elusive

The government has promised that migrant children, whether registered or not, will be offered equal opportunities in education. Most of them, however, are still being discriminated against systematically — they have difficulty getting admitted to and registered at schools leading many of them to quit for various reasons.

The Joint Committee with Migrants in Korea (JCMK) conducted research on the condition of migrant children’s education at the request of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). It surveyed 168 migrant children, 96 of their parents, 67 teachers who have taught them and other educational government officials. Currently, there are some 50,000 multicultural children under 18 living in Korea.

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

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Order in the classroom

Corporal punishment has now officially been banned in all schools across Seoul. Teachers are not allowed to administer direct physical punishment at elementary, middle and high schools in the capital, nor can they implement indirect disciplinary measures such as forcing students to do push-ups, run or hold their arms above their heads for a prolonged period of time.

The move to nix such punishments at schools has created a new dynamic in a society where smacking students on the palm or calf with a ruler-like object has long been an accepted form of discipline in the classroom. It would be wonderful if schools didn’t need to administer punishment of any kind. But that’s not the case, and we are concerned that chaos could result from the ban of corporal punishments.

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

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Foreign school info website opens

A website ( has been opened to provide comprehensive information on all international schools across the country for parents and students, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said Friday.

The website is expected to strengthen transparency in the management of foreign schools and enable parents to compare them before selecting one for their children. All schools here have to make financial data and other in-depth information public under the Education Law, and parents can access each school’s statistics on a single website ( However, data on foreign schools has not been available online as their systems are not compatible with the existing ministry one.

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

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The battle over HIV tests for foreign English teachers

There were a few things I’ve been meaning to blog about that I needed to pull out and dust off before I felt I could talk about the announcement last week that HIV tests will continue for E-2 visa holders. I decided a chronological review might work best – starting from the beginning of 2009. I’ll save what came before that for another day.

In February 2009, Benjamin Wagner submitted a complaint regarding the drug and HIV tests required for E-2 visa holders to the National Human Rights Commission, and in concert with this, ATEK encouraged people to submit complaints as well. This was done in part to draw attention to Bill 3356, which, if passed, would mandate HIV/AIDS testing of all foreigners applying for work visas in Korea. At the time, ATEK president Tom Rainey Smith (who has been active with Amnesty International in Korea on migrant workers’ rights) told me he hoped the challenge would benefit other foreigners besides English teachers.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Gusts of Popular Feeling)

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Half of Seoul Residents Prefer More Leisure to Higher Wages

About half of Seoul residents prefer more time off for leisure activities to earning more money, according to data released by the Seoul Metropolitan Government on Monday. Some 45 percent of residents over 15 in Seoul prefer to have more leisure time rather than work longer hours for more pay. Only 18.8 percent said they prefer to work more for money rather than rest.

According to a study by Statistics Korea last year, Seoul residents spent six hours and 22 minutes on average on leisure activities over the weekend and four hours and 28 minutes on weekdays, which was one minute and 17 minutes less than five years ago.

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

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This week’s joke: Comments from 1955

Fine, it’s not really a joke, but these comments from 1955 are pretty funny now!

  • ‘I’ll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it’s going to be impossible to buy a week’s groceries for $20.00.
  • ‘Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won’t be long before $2,000.00 will only buy a used one.
  • ‘If cigarettes keep going up in price, I’m going to quit. 25 cents a pack is ridiculous.
  • ‘Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging 10 cents just to mail a letter
  • ’If they raise the minimum wage to $1.00/HR, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store.
  • ‘When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 29 cents a gallon. Guess we’d be better off leaving the car in the garage.
  • ‘I’m afraid to send my kids to the movies any more. Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying DAMN in GONE WITH THE WIND, it seems every new movie has either HELL or DAMN in it.
  • ‘I read the other day where some scientist thinks it’s possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down in Texas .
  • ‘Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn’t surprise me if someday they’ll be making more than the President.
  • ‘I never thought I’d see the day all our kitchen appliances would be electric. They are even making electric typewriters now.
  • ‘It’s too bad things are so tough nowadays. I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet.
  • ‘It won’t be long before young couples are going to have to hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work.
  • ‘I’m afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business.
  • ‘Thank goodness I won’t live to see the day when the Government takes half our income in taxes. I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to government.
  • ‘The drive-in restaurant is convenient in nice weather, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on.
  • ‘There is no sense going on short trips anymore for a weekend, it costs nearly $15.00 a night to stay in a hotel.
  • ‘No one can afford to be sick anymore, at $35.00 a day in the hospital, it’s too rich for my blood.’


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