Chris in South Korea's look at an article from the Japanese Times.
The best quote from the article in the Times:
"The point is, JET (the government run program that recruits foreigners for public schools) cannot fix — in fact, was never entrusted with fixing — Japan's fundamental mindset toward language study: the dysfunctional dynamic that forces people to hate learning a language, then exonerates them by saying nobody can learn it anyway."
My thoughts? Sure sounds a lot like Korea. There is most definitely a dysfunctional dynamic here towards learning English. It's all about grammar and textbooks and vocabulary with no thought or care taken to make sure students can use grammar and vocab to actually communicate with someone, or understand an English TV show, or read a newspaper, or search an English site on the internet. And because there is no real communication happening, it's boring and irrelevant. Students pick up on the irrelevancy and start to hate English. And they get scared of it. And have a million excuses as to why they don't need to learn it, when in a globalized world, there is really no excuse at all for someone who wants to be anything more than a store clerk, taxi driver or garbage man to not know English.
Like Japan, something needs to change in Korea. And it needs to come with a nation-wide overhaul of the public school English education system. Scapegoating the foreigners is getting kind of old.