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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #97)

December 4, 2010

After the tensions of the North Koreans bombing and the threat of further attack, its a relief to see life in Korea slowly returning to some form of ‘normal’.  The Korean media is now out in full force trying to seek answers to how it happened and pointing fingers at who should be to blame.

As life as a teacher also continues, the biggest news this week is the Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education announcement that, due to budget cuts, they will be hiring less native English teachers next year.  Old man and cart

They are also aiming to reduce the number of native English teachers over the next several years and replace them with less expensive Korean English conversational teachers.

This will not really come as a surprise for those who have been following Expacked over the last couple of years.  A number of senior Government officials have been signalling this change in policy and, if done correctly, this may not necessary be a bad thing for our ‘industry’ or for Korean children learning English.

There will always be a need for native English teachers for the foreseeable future and hagwons are quick to seize on any gap in the market.

And on that note:

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.





Gyeonggi to hire fewer foreign teachers

Gyeonggi education authorities are moving to cut down the number of native English-speaking teachers for conversational classes at public schools due to a lack of budget. Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education said Thursday it plans to cut the number of foreign English teacher by 200 or 8.8 percent to 2,056 for next year.

Currently, a total of 2,256 native English speakers are working at 2,032 schools in the province. The provincial education office said it is also considering cutting the number of native teachers in phases in the years to come.

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

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Regional schools make big strides

Teacher enthusiasm and innovative programs resulted in better scores for students at struggling schools who took the Nationwide Scholastic Achievement Assessment Test in July, according to test results released yesterday by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

The ministry announced yesterday that some schools struggling with old facilities, limited space and minimal support from the local government had succeeded in helping their students do well on the national test.

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

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Essay writing tutoring costs skyrocketing

The state-administered college admissions test was held last week but the frantic struggle to enter a college is far from over. essay

The parents of hundreds of thousands of applicants are busy attending various explanatory sessions hosted by private institutes to get last-minute information about which schools their children should apply.

To get higher scores in essay writing required at some schools, students and recent high school graduates are hell-bent on attending private classes no matter how high the costs shoot up.

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

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Gyeonggi’s native speaking teacher levels explained

On Tuesday I posted an article titled “Only 2% of Gyeonggi-do native speaking teachers are at Level S” which described the different levels native speaking teachers had been rated at in Gyeonggi-do.

It was not clear exactly what these levels were, but as it turns out, they are simply the pay levels for teachers in Gyeonggi-do. This is made clear by a post at Anti-English Spectrum.

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

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December 2010 events

Author’s note: There’s bound to be updates to this month’s events – keep checking back for more information and new events! If you have an event you’d like to plug, comment on this post with all the details. calendar

Please follow a few guidelines for the maximum benefit. November 26 – December 12: The Seoul Players presents ‘Wintertime’ – an “energetic comedy about the miracle of love.” Written by Charles Mee, you’ll meet Ariel and Jonathan, along with Maria, Francois and Frank, and a slew of other fantastically funny characters to discuss love, its expectations and its complications. Recommended for viewers 15 and up for some nudity.

For more information, check out their website. Head up to Roofers in Itaewon for these shows in December:

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

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English teachers reflect on changing role

“Is it possible that Korea will no longer hire native English teachers in the near future? Most would laugh at the idea. Today there are at least 23,000 foreigners teaching English here and the numbers keep rising.

However, in his book English Next, commissioned by the British Council, renowned linguist and researcher David Graddol says that native-speaker norms and native speakers themselves are becoming irrelevant. ”

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

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Is student-centred always a good thing?


I think it is fair to say that the main job of most of us is to improve our students’ English language skills. If we sit down to plan how to do so with an open mind, at least some of the best ways that we come up with will not be as student-centred as the things we rejected as not quite as good for said language development. one button

Thinking that student-centred activities teach our students other things they need such as self-sufficiency in language learning might lean us further towards those kinds of activities, but the main focus on student learning must nonetheless remain. (If, however, you think that your job is actually to make classes learner-centred, with learning the language further down the list of priorities, none of this will be relevant to you).

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: TEFLtastic)

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Obama calls for U.S. education reform to match Korean children

U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday called for reform in U.S. education to help America effectively compete with South Korea and other ambitious countries. “We’re going to have to have the best-educated workforce in the world, because our children are now not just competing against other children in other states in our union, they’re now competing against kids in Beijing and Bangalore and Seoul, South Korea,” Obama told a meeting with newly elected governors at the Blair House.

“If they don’t have what it takes to compete, then America’s going to have problems economically over the long term.”

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

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Young South Koreans face ban on gaming after midnight

South Korea’s government is close to adopting a “Cinderella” law to ban youngsters from playing online games past midnight amid growing concerns about internet addiction, officials said.

A bill to be submitted to parliament as early as this month will require South Korean online game companies to cut off services at midnight for users registered as younger than 16, the culture and family ministries said on Thursday.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: NZ Herald)

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Is dating taboo at school?

Eight out of 10 middle and high schools nationwide were found to have been maintaining rules disciplining students for engaging in relationships or physical contact with the opposite sex, a rights advocacy group for teenagers said Tuesday.

According to a report issued by “Asunaro” (, 286 secondary schools out of 354 across the country, or 81 percent, have internal regulations preventing students from dating or having physical contact with those of the opposite gender.

In Yangpyong County, Gyeonggi Province, all middle and high schools are found to have rules against dating among students, with 119 out of 142 schools in Busan maintaining similar guidelines that specifically reprimand those engaging in relationships with fellow students.

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

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This week’s Joke: 10 bad signs for good teachers…

Teachers are trained to watch for signs: signs that the students are learning something, that the students aren’t learning anything, that the students are onto something, that the students are up to something. There are some signs that teachers have not been taught to watch for: signs that could spell disaster. Here is a list of 10 such bad signs – if you happen to see one of them, beware!
1. The principal smiles at you. This is a very bad sign. It means the principal is up to something, and that something somehow involves you. It could mean the principal is about to ask you to volunteer to be the new coach for the girls’ soccer team, or to write his two-hour speech for the Mothers’ Club, or to accept three new students from the local home for delinquent children. If the principal not only smiles but asks, “How are you doing?” that’s even worse. And if he or she then adds, “Could I please see you in my office for a minute at your convenience?” – run for your life!

2. Things are going well for you in the classroom. Many inexperienced teachers take this for a good sign, but more seasoned educators know it means things are going to go bad for you-very bad and very soon. Maybe you are about to change to another class, or smitten by a rare tropical disease, or your classroom is about to be invaded by a herd of wild plastic-eating termites. I know several teachers who believe in this bad omen so firmly that they have peace only when things are going horribly in the classroom.

3. Your classroom is completely equipped with audio-visual aids. If you walk into your room and see a record player, an overhead projector, a tape recorder, and a movie projector-that’s bad. It’s a sure sign that none work-because if they did, they would have been “borrowed” long before this. Just in case you test the equipment and discover that everything does work (you realize, of course, that the chances of this happening are one in a million), that’s still a bad sign. It means that you have just been put in charge of maintaining all the audio-visual equipment for the entire school.

4. Your students tell you that you’re their favorite teacher. If this happens, brace yourself. It means the kids want something. That something could be something relatively small: “Let’s not talk about colons and semicolons today. Let’s talk about football.” Or your students could be bargaining for something bigger: “Let’s not have any homework this year, okay?”

5. You are prepared for all your classes for the coming week. Any teacher who does this is only asking for trouble. You cannot tempt Fate so blatantly without expecting dire consequences. And what could some of those consequences be? Maybe you will be struck with the five-day flu on Sunday evening, or there will be a battery of psychological tests this entire week.

6. You have all your report cards finished a day ahead of schedule.This sign, closely related to #5, simply means that the administration has just introduced a new kind of report card, and the old kind (127 of which you have just finished filling out) is now obsolete.

7. Your students do poorly on your test. This is a bad sign- or at least the administration interprets it as a bad sign-which makes it so for you. It means you are an incompetent teacher who ought to be booted out of the classroom as soon as possible. If your students do poorly on a test sh-h-h!-don’t tell anyone, not even your students. Destroy the tests, give a retest, and hope and pray that the kids do better-but not too much better. (See the next sign.)

8. Your students do very well on your test. This too is a bad sign. in fact, it’s a worse sign than #7. It can only mean one of three things: 1) the test was too easy, 2) you are a stupid teacher, 3) the kids cheated.

9. You have a few free minutes to yourself after school. If this happens, one of the following events is bound to occur: 1) another teacher will report you to the principal for not having enough to do, 2) some kid will come in and ask if he or she could talk to you for a minute and stay 2 hours, 3) the principal will ask if you could give the janitor a hand with cleaning the bathrooms after school.

10. You receive positive feedback from a parent. Although this sign rarely occurs, it portends trouble. You can be sure that if one parent is praising you, another one is already initiating legal proceedings to have you removed from the classroom. When all is said and done, it’s a better sign to receive no parental feedback than any kind at all


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