Sunday, December 4, 2011

Education News

First out of the blocks, a chance for sharp-eyed English-speakers to earn some money: the Korean Tourism Organization is offering a reward to photogs who submit signs in muddled, Konglishy English found at "tourist spots". No precise definition of tourist spot, and road signs, restaurant menus and guidebooks are not eligible, as KTO doesn't have jurisdiction over them. Still, an interesting concept, and a chance to get a W50,000 debit card for your efforts. Click here for more.

The Chosun Ilbo carried a report last week of a study done by SMOE (my employer) analyzing the results of a survey "conducted among 28,761 students, 11,980 parents, 2,406 Korean English teachers, and 595 native English-speaking teaching assistants at 1,282 primary and secondary schools in Seoul."

The survey found that Koreans are still quite conflicted about having native speaking teachers run their English classrooms: less than one-third of parents and students "preferred" native speakers to Korean teachers with good English skills, though about 60% are "more satisfied" with the teaching job being done by foreign teachers. IOW, yes, you do a better job, but we still don't want you here--aka, having our cake and eating it too.

Speaking of which, English success not cake, the CSAT or suneung results have been published, and some 17,000 of the exam's 648,946 takers aced the English section.
The Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE), announcing the scores of the 2012 CSAT [Wednesday], said that 171 people this year received perfect scores on the exam’s three core subjects - Korean language, mathematics and English - compared to 11 last year.
Post-exam bellyaching is an annual sport here, as people complain the exam was too hard if there aren't enough perfect scorers, or that it's too easy if there are too many. The testing authority aims for 1%, but never seems to hit that mark.

As if to make a point, the JoongAng printed elsewhere this story: Student’s perfect CSAT is all his own, about Baek Ju-hong, who aced the suneung without the benefit of hagwons, thus proving the effectiveness of public education.

...Or the inteligence, inquisitiveness and hard work of an individual student:
An avid reader, Baek said, “In the countryside, where there is not a single college prep hagwon, the only way to develop logical thinking skills was by reading many different books.”
Baek said he also had a head start with his parents, who were avid readers themselves.



Anonymous said...

You missed how SMOE has chosen to react to the survey you wrote about.

sorry only in Korean

SMOE will cut 707 Native English teachers jobs next year (about 60% of the current foreign teacher workforce) with plans to eventually phase out the entire program.

Having worked for SMOE for a few years I'm both shocked at the sudenness of it and at the same time not at all surprised that this day has finally come after dealing with the incompetance of the orgnaization and the general pointlessness of the things my school asks me to do.

Tanner Brown said...