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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #94)

November 13, 2010

Welcome back.  A reader sent in a great video from YouTube that I thought I would share.  We all know that South Korea is one of the most overworked countries in the world, however most of us don’t know just how bad it has become.  South Korea’s drive to be the best, not matter the cost, is concerning the Government as well.  Have a look at this report:

South Korean workaholics urged to take holidays

EPIK have just uploaded info on their upcoming November orientation.  If you are scheduled to attend, click here to read up on the latest details.

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 joke.





Teachers’ union critical of corporal punishment ban

Members of the Korea Teachers and Education Workers’ Union (KTU), a liberal teachers’ union, had scathing remarks about Seoul’s recent ban on corporal punishment, saying it created friction between students and teachers and did not properly reflect the reality in schools.

It is a reversal of the position the liberal-minded union initially took. Seoul’s education superintendent, Kwak No-hyun, and around 100 teachers of the KTU held a meeting hosted by the union on Wednesday at a local education office in Songpa District, southern Seoul. They discussed issues such as personnel management of teachers and school reforms.

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

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What’s next after Korea?

The question of ‘What’s next after Korea?’ may throw more than a few expats for a loop. Whether you’ve called Korea home for months or years, most of us will make plans to move on eventually.

Maybe the grass looks greener in another country, or maybe the thought of teaching English to another misbehaved class of brats makes you want to puke. Regardless of where you want to end up, thinking positively is absolutely required – starting with the mindset that you’ll fail means you probably will.

While there are infinite possibilities, there are at least five paths worth seriously considering:

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

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Foreigners perplexed over G20 buzz

Now the curtain has closed on the G20 Seoul Summit, a historic event which boosted the nation’s pride and status. Months of preparations by civil servants and hundreds of volunteers to host the gathering of 20 heads of state paid off.

It’s obvious that many citizens feel proud of the successful hosting of the summit gathering.

“I am proud that Korea was the chair country of the G20 summit. We need to hold more international events for the development of the country,” said Yang Ho-seung, 50, owner of a sandwich bar, “Sand & Bagel” near City Hall.

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

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Lanterns to stay lit for 1 more week

The Seoul Metropolitan Government will extend its annual world lantern festival for one more week because of its popularity, officials said yesterday. The Seoul Lantern Festival 2010 opened a week ago, timed to coincide with this week’s G-20 Summit. About 27,000 traditional and creative lanterns from 24 countries, including the G-20 nations, are on display along the Cheonggye Stream that runs through the city center.

The event was originally slated to end Sunday. “We decided to extend the event until Sunday next week to provide more attractions to foreign tourists coming to visit the capital and to local residents,” said Ahn Seung-il, a senior city official.

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

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Teacher and student fight in Suncheon classroom

First noticed in the Jeonnam Ilbo on the 12th, now in English in the Dong-a Ilbo, in a lengthier piece about how the new quote-unquote ban on corporal punishment in Korean classrooms undermines discipline:

Around 12:30 p.m. Oct. 15 in a middle school classroom in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province, a teacher approached a female student and asked her what she was writing on her notebook. When the teacher tried to take the notebook, the student protested.

The teacher hit her on the head and the student revolted, saying, “Is it right for a teacher to hit a student? Just teach.”

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Brian in Jeollanam-do)

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Public school teacher stats and the inquiry into Quincy Black

On Tuesday the Seoul Sinmun reported on the placement of native speaking teachers in public schools, and provided this helpful chart:

At top are the number of teachers by year, followed by a breakdown by nationality of teachers currently working, and at bottom are the percentages of teachers with qualifications. Interesting to see how the numbers changed over the years. The spike in 1996 and 1997 can be explained by something I quoted here (original link dead):

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

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Indian English books place in South Korean education

When a high-level summit of the world’s most powerful countries is on, the talk invariably revolves around money. That is true of the G-20 summit which kicked off here today, but it is difficult to deny Abby Thomas his moment in the sun for making English education history in South Korea.

The rise of India’s services industry has been about low wages and English language skills. Thomas embodies both, in becoming the first Indian to teach English in this country.

Of course, he costs his employer, the Wanju High School in North Jerolla province, considerably less than standard wages for English teachers from other countries.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source:

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New Contracts to Protect Aspiring Teenage Stars from Abuse

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family and the Fair Trade Commission on Tuesday presented to the Cabinet a standardized contract for aspiring teenage stars that would protect them from abuse.

The proposal comes after teen group GP Basic was put together in August from five middle schoolers and an elementary school student, setting a new record for the youngest manufactured band.

Currently teen entertainers are employed by talent agencies on private contracts that offer little protection from abuse and are often subject to pressure to wear revealing clothes, practice long, grueling hours or skip school.

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

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The top 5 TEFL questions… Answered!

Are you thinking of teaching English abroad, but feel like you’ve got a gazillion questions swimming through your head? You’re not the only one! So, Emma Foers asked TEFL tutor James Jenkin, who has over 15 years’ experience, to answer people’s most common TEFL questions.

Q) Which TEFL course should I do?

A) There is such demand for English teachers that you’ll be able to find a job in many countries with no qualification at all. However, schools that tend to have the better TEFL positions (in terms of hours, support and remuneration) often ask for a TEFL qualification. The course you choose could be purely online, face-to-face, or a combination of both. And of course, if you want to be confident and do a good job, a TEFL course is highly recommended.

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

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Indulge in design city Seoul

Seoul, one of the most dynamic cities in the world, is continuously transforming itself into a more attractive global city, maintaining a striking balance between modernization and past traditions. Upgrading its beauty to a higher level and making the city more convenient are artful touches of sophisticated urban designs initiated by the city government.

“Seoul is a unique city based on its long history, gifted natural environment and highly advanced information technology and it is now to expand into a foreigner-friendly global city in the world,” Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said at a press conference Tuesday.

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

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This week’s joke: And the answer is…

An American and a Kiwi are sitting next to each other on a long flight.

The American is thinking that Kiwi’s are pretty thick so he could get over on them easy. So the American asks if the Kiwi would like to play a fun game.

The Kiwi is tired and just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and tries to catch a few winks. The American persists, and says that the game is a lot of fun. “I ask you a question, and if you don’t know the answer, you pay me only $5; you ask me one, and if I don’t know the answer, I will pay you $500” he says.

This catches the Kiwi s attention and to keep the American quiet, he agrees to play the game. The American asks the first question. ‘What’s the distance from the Earth to the Moon?’

The Kiwi reaches in his pocket pulls out a five-dollar bill and hands it to the American without saying a word. Now, it’s the Kiwi’s turn. He asks the American, ‘What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down with four?’

The American uses his laptop and searches all references he could find on the Net. He sends e-mails to all the smart friends he knows, all to no avail. After an hour of searching he finally gives up. He wakes up the Kiwi and hands him $500.

The Kiwi pockets the $500 and goes right back to sleep.

The American is going nuts not knowing the answer. He wakes up the Kiwi and asks, ‘Well, so what goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four?’

The Kiwi reaches in his pocket, hands the American $5 and goes back to sleep.


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