Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Native Speakers of English in Korea

There seems to be a lot of animosity from certain groups of Koreans towards the foreign English teachers. Sometimes, it has some merit. Like there really are a lot of dumb-asses who perhaps drink too much or (very RARELY) touch a child inappropriately. I would argue that these things happen a lot more frequently among the Korean population though. This is the only country that I've ever been to (and I've been to about 20) that you see businessman passed out on the street corner on a weeknight. AND it's socially acceptable. And the only place that I've ever heard of, where a teacher gets caught for molestation and they get a "strong verbal warning" and go back to class.

Anyway, the latest news in the native speaker world in Korea. Some talk of mandatory cultural indoctrination to hopefully combat this dumb-assery I guess. See Brian's article for the latest. My $0.02 is that it will be useless. Dumb-asses are dumb-asses and a week long training session about kimchi and hanbok is not going to help them. As Brian points out, the solution would seem to be not hiring them in the first place. I thought the stricter visa regulations and hassles from a couple years ago would weed them out but apparently not. A pulse still seems to be the requirement. Anyway, for the sake of Korea I sincerely hope that the ESL industry will grow up and get a bit of professionalism. It'd be good for everyone...Koreans and foreigners who are serious about teaching.

1 comment:

Bruce Josephson said...


Before I came to Korea, I read up about Korean culture, and later bought books about it when I came here. So I had few surprises. But by training I am an anthropologist, so I did not think Korea would be just like the United States. I had also lived in Congo (then Zaire) and China, so I was used to different cultures.

Some big language institutes do give a little cultural training, like YBM, where I briefly taught (got a much better job).

Since drinking to excess is approved of in Korea, I do think a lot of foreigners who are long-timers are heavy drinkers.

Just a few of my thoughts on the matter.