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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #99)

December 18, 2010

I hope everyone is keeping warm! Even if you have only spent one month in a Korean winter, you’ll be sure to find eatyourkimchi’s video below entertaining. 

Another great vid from eatyourkimchi (www.eatyourkimchi.com)

Next week will see two major milestones reached for our Expacked newsletter.  The first one is that it will be our 100th weekly issue!  Its been a lot of hard work, but I am honoured to have so many loyal readers over this time.

Expacked started as a small pet project of mine with one simple mission – to provide timely, relevant and interesting information to native English teachers in Korea.  Expacked quickly became a big part of my life in Korea and its been rewarding keep everyone up-to-date on the key issues and debates on education in Korea. 

This leads into the second ‘milestone’ – The 100th issue seems a great way to go out in style!  Next week will likely be the last ever issue of Expacked.  I have now left Korea and, while I am still passionate about the country, it feels the right time to move on and I have a couple of other projects I am really excited to start on. 

If there are others who are interested in keeping Expacked up and going, I’d be happy to talk to them.  You can click here to send a message to me. 

Thank you once again for all those who have supported Expacked.

(Just a quick reminder – Expacked issue 100 will be coming out next week!)

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.

Cheers,

Ken


Young people deprived of sleep by school work, video games

Young Koreans get an average of just 7 hours and 32 minutes of sleep per night, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said Thursday, citing a study by Statistics Korea.

The nationwide survey of 4,628 people aged between 10 and 24 years old found that 75.3 percent do not get the recommend amount sleep, which is 8 hours and 30 minutes per night according to the U.S. National Sleep Foundation. High school students got the shortest sleep time of just 6 hours and 31 minutes, with a whopping 96.4 percent of them failing to meet the recommended amount.

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

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English kindergarten suspended over rotten food

An English kindergarten in southern Seoul, has been suspended from running their educational business after it had allegedly fed rotten food to children, causing them to suffer from stomachaches, vomiting and rashes for months.

EWAS specialized in English education for young children and charged about 2 million won ($1,733) a month in tuition per child. The Seoul education authorities confiscated the rotten food that had been stored in freezers at the institute. The shelf life of some packs of bacon had expired more than seven years ago.

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

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Essays could soon replace school exams

In an attempt to prevent students from concentrating only on school tests, the Seoul Office of Education said on Monday that it is considering abolishing exams and replacing them with essays to encourage creativity and decrease reliance on private education. exam

At a seminar held by the education office on Monday, Choe Gwan-ui, a teacher of Daemyeong Elementary School, gave a presentation on abolishing school exams. In the presentation, Choe proposed that all elementary schools in Seoul abolish exams for grades one through three and that schools only administer final exams for grades four to six.

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

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1,000 poorly-rated teachers will get mandatory training

More than 1,000 teachers who were rated poorly in an inaugural evaluation program will have to take mandatory training courses to improve their teaching skills, beginning next year.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced Monday that some 1,056 teachers who were rated “very poor” or “poor” will undergo the training program during winter vacation. In case of the group rated “very poor,” which numbers 130 teachers, they will have to take an obligatory program during the spring semester next year.

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

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Expats speak to improve life in Seoul

Foreign residents and Seoul City officials gathered for an annual town meeting with a common goal of improving their living conveniences in Seoul. The 2010 Seoul Town Meeting, the eleventh to be held since 2000, was held in the Seoul City Hall Seosomun Annex on Friday under the lead of the Foreign Residents Assistance Division.

Some 180 expats were invited to discuss issues closely related to the living environment, such as transportation, tourism, culture, education and medical services.

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

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Three things to take when traveling around Korea – and three to leave behind

Fellow blogger Nomadic Chick recently blogged about what works and what doesn’t in her travels. While traveling the world and traveling around a first-world country are two very different beasts, I thought I’d share three things you’ll definitely want when traveling Korea, and three things you can safely leave behind. ipod

  • MUST HAVE #1: Entertainment. An iPod Touch holds enough music and games to keep me entertained on even the longest bus or train rides. Finding an outlet while out and about may be a challenge, but you’ll always have one in your hotel room for the night. Note that a good book, a Kindle, an iPhone, or other similar things will work as well.

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

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TOEFL Junior helps students choose books

The organizer of the TOEFL test for children will provide test takers with additional information as guidelines to help them choose appropriate books and study material.

The U.S.-based Educational Testing Service (ETS) said Thursday the young applicants of the test will receive the “Lexile Framework for Reading” to link their reading section scores from the exam with Lexile measures. Test takers are able to use the Lexile measure to search for the right books to improve their reading skills.

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

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Creative programs turn rural school around

Students gather for their regular morning meeting at Songsan School in Suncheon, South Jeolla. There are no teachers around and the students talk freely amongst themselves.

“I went to bed early last night so I couldn’t prepare my one-minute speech for today,” third-year student Jo Gyeom said. The candid confession made his classmates burst into laughter.

At that moment, another student started talking about a recent swimming competition and his favorite athletes.

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

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Teachers step up campaign for their rights

The nation’s major teachers’ group is staging a campaign to protect and strengthen their rights as teachers.

The conservative Korean Federation of Teachers’ Associations (KFTA) said Tuesday more than 200,000 teachers, including non-members of the federation, signed up to support the campaign that seeks to revise education-related bills. They are seeking to protect their education and political activities. They also want to introduce a sabbatical year program, work only weekdays and lighten their workload.

The teachers’ group, which claims 160,000 members across the country, collected signatures from the members hoping to participate in the campaign between Oct. 25 and Dec. 6.

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

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Do not study with UniTEFL Thailand

I’d totally forgotten about the TEFL course called UniTEFL until someone claiming to be Matt Kay reanimated an old thread by insulting and threatening me on it. UniTEFL also didn’t exist until this year when it was apparently born from the ashes of the sudden implosion of LICMU (Language Institute Chiang Mai University, in Thailand).

You’ve almost certainly never heard of UniTEFL either, but I hope the post below will also be of interest, e.g. to those seeking to avoid or fight dodgy TEFL courses in general. When I say “dodgy TEFL course”, that does not mean that I have some kind of inside scoop on the educational standards at UniTEFL. Like most non-Cambridge and non-Trinity courses, I can’t say anything about the standard of training that they provide one way or another (I was trainer and head trainer on two ViaLingua courses many years ago and I think we did a pretty good job).

As with most such courses, though, there is no need for me to know anything about the teacher trainers there and what they do. I can tell you that I would not go anywhere near UniTEFL from just these four things:

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: TEFLtastic)

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This week’s joke: The Christmas Gift…

A young man received a parrot as a early Christmas gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. parrot

Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to ‘clean up’ the bird’s vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hands, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet.

Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing that he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behaviour."

John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude.

As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behaviour, the bird spoke up, very softly, "May I ask what the turkey did?"


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