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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #98)

December 11, 2010

Another week closer to Christmas and most people will be looking forward to their winter holiday plans.  Whether that’s escaping the cold for Thailand, a flight back home to see your family, or just a great excuse to spend a well deserved rest in bed, this is a great time to recharge the batteries for next year. Seoul Rush Hour

Of course for many, there is also the winter camp to plan and prepare for.  While its nice to have had everything planned out back in November, I know for me this wasn’t the case…

For some, this is a great time to let their creative juices run wild, but for others (Like I was), its a time to panic as you had to develop a completely new camp programme – without any help or direction from other teachers.

The important thing to remember that you are not alone and there are many places to look for help.  The blog Kimchi Icecream is a great place to start, as he has written many articles on developing winter camp plans.  I have included his latest posting below and, if you are wanting some new ideas, I recommend you have a good read.

When it comes down to it, both winter and summer camps come and go very quickly.  Just put in a bit of work, have some fun and I am sure your students will love you 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.




Korean education: Excellent overall, but no bright sparks

Korean students are overall excellent achievers in academic skills, but the cream of the crop lagged far behind that of other countries, according to the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment announced by the OECD on Tuesday.

Korean students in the upper 5 percent ranked ninth out of 65 participating nations including 31 non-OECD member countries in reading, fifth in math and 13th in science.

Korean students excelled in the overall rankings among the 34 OECD member countries, coming first in reading and math and third in science, and out of all the 65 participating countries they ranked second in reading, fourth in math and sixth in science. But Korea’s best lagged behind their counterparts abroad.

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

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Student defectors shackled by English

Many defectors cross the North Korean border hoping for a better life, but those who hope to further themselves with education find that English quickly becomes a burden.

North Korean defectors who try to follow the South Korean education system, have a very hard time catching up with the academic standards here. According to a study released by ruling party lawmaker Hong Jung-wook, English consistently troubles defectors.

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

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Elementary school teacher commits suicide in classroom

A 52-year-old female elementary school teacher in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, was found dead Monday in a classroom in an apparent suicide, according to the police.

The Gimhae Police Station said a fellow teacher found her hanging from a scarf in the classroom at around 6 p.m. The fellow teacher told the police that she went to check on the teacher since she did not call it a day even after classes had ended.

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

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SMOE Press Release: Medical check and Korean police record check

Hello SMOE Teachers,

Here is what you need to know for the Korean police record check (for those renewing in March, 2011):

It is called 범죄경력회보서 in Korean, you will need to go to a large police station (the district level one will be fine) and ask them for it, you will give them your ARC and it should only take a few minuets. There should be no charge. It will probably be best just to write the Korean on a piece of paper and give it to them if you do not speak any Korean.

Medical Check: This is called a 겅강진단서 in Korean. You must go to a public hospital, a private clinic will be extremely expensive and they do not do all of the tests that a large hospital will. This test must include the HIV and TBPE drug test. You might like to go to Seoul Medical Center. It is at Samsung Station on line 2 (next to the COEX Mall). It probably has the best price and they do speak English.

Your school should not count this as personal time off as it is an official business trip (you need to do it to work with SMOE). However it will not take all day to get these done.


Mathew Coordinator, SMOE

Click Here for the further information (Source: ETIS -English Teachers in Seoul)

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EFL/ESL Summer/Winter Camp for Elementary or Middle School in South Korea – Lesson plans, games, and activities for the last second planning of a camp

For something like two years now I’ve been trying to find the time, and energy, to post a list of books that elementary school and middle school level native English teachers in Korea would find useful for the absolutely ridiculous lack of planning, literally last second planning education culture that is prevalent across Korea.lesson plan

Ah, before I continue, here are some links to other posts of mine that new teachers, and for that matter veteran teachers, might want to read if they haven’t seen them before.

While surfing Korean English native teacher blogs today I noticed this post Yet again, I’m annoyed! by a blogger I enjoy reading, strangelands. The sad thing is that as more and more time passes I see yet another expat teacher getting more and more frustrated by the ridiculous unprofessionalism of the education culture in Korea . . .

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Kimchi Icecream)

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Let’s debate free school lunches

Local governments are sharply split over next year’s budget because of their differences on free school lunches. Their position on the free-lunch program depends on two factors: which party the head of a local government belongs to and how many seats a political party has in the local councils.

After the Democratic-Party-controlled city council in Seoul unilaterally passed a bill allowing free school meals, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, from the Grand National Party, strongly denounced it as a product of “reckless populism.”

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

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High school seniors sleep less than 6 hours

Third graders at high school are possibly the most hard-working students in Korea, sleeping 5 hours and 24 minutes per day and studying for 11 hours on average, a survey said.

Statistics Korea announced the average characteristics of high school seniors based on a general time use survey, Sunday. The third graders, preparing for college admission, studied an average of 11 hours and three minutes per day, three hours longer than the average of all students

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

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Freshmen shun autonomous high schools in Seoul

12 out of 26 in the capital failed to meet their targets for 2011 classes

Autonomous private high schools are having trouble filling their classrooms due to expensive tuitions and doubts over whether they’re much better than normal schools.

According to statistics released Sunday by the Seoul Education Office, 12 autonomous high schools out of 26 in Seoul failed to meet their targets for next year’s freshmen classes.

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

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“Disguised” native speakers are not to blame

“Native Speaker Phone English? Turns out it’s a korian Deception by yuhaksaeng [posing as] ‘neitibeu seupikeo'”

The Munhwa Ilbo published an article yesterday with the above title featuring interviews with several yuhaksaeng (Koreans who have studied overseas) who say they – and many others like them – pose as native speakers for Korean companies who operate ‘Phone English’ services.

It notes that the reason they take the job is because they are tempted by the money they can easily make by speaking with a student for only 10 minutes. The article notes that the businesses promise native speakers but do not live up to this, and that the teachers’ contracts have non-disclosure clauses (regarding the fact that they are not foreigners).

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

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Teaching no longer lonely experience

The 7th Annual KOTESOL Symposium and Thanksgiving dinner, held last Saturday in Cheonan, was a chance to join in the cherished American celebration and a great opportunity to learn about the finer points of teaching. The food was delicious and the company warm.

KOTESOL or the Korea Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages is an organization dedicated to assisting teachers of English develop their skills, and in improving ELT in Korea. It has ten chapters across Korea that run monthly workshops on teaching skills and theory. They hold six conferences a year with international guest speakers and leading academics.

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

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This week’s joke: School automated answering machine

Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting to the right staff member, please listen to all options before making a selection:

  • To lie about why your child is absent, Press 1. answer phone
  • To make excuses for why your child did not do his/her work, Press 2.
  • To complain about what we do, Press 3.
  • To cuss out staff members, Press 4.
  • To ask why you did not get needed information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several bulletins mailed to you, Press 5.
  • If you want us to raise your child, Press 6.
  • If you want to reach out and touch, slap, or hit someone, Press 7.
  • To request another teacher for the third time this year, Press 8.
  • To complain about bus transportation, Press 9.
  • To complain about school lunches, Press 0.
  • If you realize this is the real world and your child must be accountable/responsible for his/her own behavior, classwork, homework, and that it is not the teacher’s fault for your child’s lack of effort, please hang up and have a nice day!


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