Thursday, December 18, 2008

Of Chicken, Soccer and Konglish

So, I'm sitting down here in Chicken Mania, drinking beer, eating fried chicken, watching Man U on the big screen and posting with borrowed wireless. And I went to the gym earlier so I'm doing it guiltlessly, yes, even the internet.

On the other hand, I'm reading newspaper articles about Korea's plan to completely erase any strides it has been making in English-language education by scrapping the TOEIC and TOEFL exams, the world-wide standards for English fluency, in favor of a state-developed exam.
"We are benchmarking Japan`s EIKEN, or Test in Practical English Proficiency, which is recognized by over 600 schools worldwide," said Oh Seok-hwan, in charge of English education at the ministry.

1) There are probably ten times that number of English-speaking colleges and universities worldwide, and
2) it has taken EIKEN some 25 years to get this far, and
3) numbers 1 and 2 above make it clear that Korea is choosing to diminish its international footprint for the forseeable future.

On the other other hand, if the locally-developed test were to place greater emphasis on functional skills and self-expression, instead of the single-minded focus on TOEFL's grammatical components, which are the parts easily taught in Korean education's lecture-based pedagogical paradigm, then I say more power to 'em. Well, not really, because any Korean English test simply will not replace TOEFL in the eyes of the world. It is folly to think otherwise.

(Moments after Wayne Rooney comes on for Man U, Gamba Osaka scores, to make it 2 - 1, but Rooney chests a pass on the ensuing kickoff and lays it past the GK, 3 - 1. The man scores after being on the field for about 18 seconds! Before I can write another papagraph, it's now 5 - 2, quite a game! Now GBA misses a PK! The final score is 5 - 3 with one more in stoppage time. That's five Big Five goals, friends--actually six, since Ronaldo's header on the CK was moments before the half!)

Anyway, my battery is dying so I better sto


Anonymous said...

Wow. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

- Driftingfocus

Tuttle said...

Wow! Also, talk about *the* most talked about subject in the Korean expat blogosphere!

And the one on which we all seem to agree: this is an admission of failure by the Korean education system--we're taking our ball and going home!

Problem is, it isn't their ball!

Kelsey said...

They seem to not understand the concept behind having a STANDARDIZED TEST. For something like languages, there needs to be an international standard, hence the TOEFL. If every country determines their own standards...we're back at square one. Koreans, I hate to break it to you, but you're not a unique snowflake.