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November 01, 2013

Republic of Korea

'Mothers are best teacher for children'

Teaching English in KoreaYBM, one of the largest language schools in Korea, is promoting the teaching of English at home, by mothers.

Teaching at home is becoming popular among mothers interested in teaching their children English, instead of sending them to private institutes.

The English Teachers Academy (ETA) has been taking advantage of the popularity of this to run a program for mothers who want to teach their children at home more professionally and effectively.

The program was developed and is provided by YBM, one of the largest language schools in Korea. It is based on the belief that mothers can be the best language teachers for their children.

“Mothers spend most of their time with their babies, so they are the first person from who babies can learn how to talk,” said Eun Soo-jeong, a general manager of YBM during a recent interview with The Korea Times.

“They don’t just read books to their children in a passive way, but narrate the stories in them. They sometimes sing songs or use toys or props while doing this,” Eun added.

“We have developed the ETA program for mothers who want to gain professional knowledge for home teaching. It also helps them to find jobs. Most of them gave up or resigned from work to devote themselves to caring for their children,” she said.

Read the full article from The Korea Times.

Photo courtesy of YBM

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August 12, 2013

Republic of Korea | ELT People

The $4 Million Teacher

kim-ki-hoon.jpgThe Wall Street Journal travels to South Korea to meet an English teacher who earns a "rock-star" salary and looks into the "shadow system" of after school tutoring.

Kim Ki-hoon earns $4 million a year in South Korea, where he is known as a rock-star teacher—a combination of words not typically heard in the rest of the world. Mr. Kim has been teaching for over 20 years, all of them in the country's private, after-school tutoring academies, known as hagwons. Unlike most teachers across the globe, he is paid according to the demand for his skills—and he is in high demand.

Mr. Kim works about 60 hours a week teaching English, although he spends only three of those hours giving lectures. His classes are recorded on video, and the Internet has turned them into commodities, available for purchase online at the rate of $4 an hour. He spends most of his week responding to students' online requests for help, developing lesson plans and writing accompanying textbooks and workbooks (some 200 to date).

"The harder I work, the more I make," he says matter of factly. "I like that."

I traveled to South Korea to see what a free market for teaching talent looks like—one stop in a global tour to discover what the U.S. can learn from the world's other education superpowers. Thanks in part to such tutoring services, South Korea has dramatically improved its education system over the past several decades and now routinely outperforms the U.S. Sixty years ago, most South Koreans were illiterate; today, South Korean 15-year-olds rank No. 2 in the world in reading, behind Shanghai. The country now has a 93% high-school graduation rate, compared with 77% in the U.S.

Read the full article from The Wall Street Journal.

Photo: Wall Street Journal

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August 02, 2013

Republic of Korea

Learning English in Korea - in the 1880s

korean-school-1880s.jpgThe Asia Society blogged yesterday with a brief but interesting glimpse of the English teaching scene in Korea at the end of the 19th century.

We all know that students have it rough in Korea. They go to school early in the morning and then after school spend several additional hours in private learning institutes studying math and English. These institutes are everywhere now, but they haven’t always been.

In 1882—just prior to Korea opening to the West—Koreans who desired to learn English had to travel to Japan. But not everyone viewed the study of English as a good thing. When one young Korean scholar confided to his friend that he wanted to learn English so that he could study Western books, his friend scoffed at the notion, declaring it was instead more acceptable to learn the Japanese language because “the Japanese were less barbarous than Western nations.” Learning English would turn this young scholar into a barbarian. When the scholar insisted on learning English, his friend threatened to kill himself as he could not bear to think of his companion becoming a barbarian.

Read the full post on the Asia Society website.
(Photo copyright Robert Neff COllection)

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July 25, 2013

Republic of Korea | Opinion

Cultural understanding key to English learning

English-Teaching-in-KoreaYoon Seon-joo, country manager of EF Education First Korea, writes this week in The Korea Herald about the role of culture in learning English.

When I was little, I had a great opportunity to live in the U.S. with my family for almost two years, which is when I first learned English and made foreign friends. I attended ESL or English as a second language classes at school with other international students whose parents were graduate students there like mine. During the first few days, the most difficult flash card to remember was “bread and butter” because, for me, “bread,” “and” and “butter” were three “unassociated” words instead of one like “apple” or “grapes” on other flash cards. Seeing others eat bread together with butter and doing so myself, however, I was soon able to remember this phrase, as eating bread with butter quickly became as natural as eating rice with kimchi. This was a 7-year-old Korean girl version of “living the language” and learning language by linking it to culture.

Read the full article from The Korea Herald.

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July 04, 2013

Republic of Korea | Tests

S Korea's new English test shows glitch, faces criticism

English-Test-in-KoreaThe Korea Herald reports on a technical glitch that prevented dozens of students from completing a recently launched national test of English language ability.

A number of students who recently took a state-administered English proficiency test complained that there were critical errors in the exam system.

They said that they were unable to complete the Internet-based exam because their answer sheet suddenly disappeared from the computer screen.

Fifty-eight of the 1,116 test takers cited the same error, raising questions about the National English Ability Test that the government developed with a reported investment nearing 30 billion won (S$33.3 million) over the last four years.

It was the first time students had taken the test after the Education Ministry announced it last year as an alternative to the current state-administered college exam.

Developing the NEAT, the ministry originally sought to substitute the English section of College Scholastic Ability Test from 2016.

But critics say the government is implementing the new test without careful planning. Teachers are concerned about lack of programs and teaching materials to prepare students. Parents also worry that it may drive more students to private education.

Read the full story from The Korea Herald.

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June 20, 2013

Republic of Korea | Education

Instability for English instructors in Korea

Teaching-English-in-KoreaThe Hankyoreh today reports on opposition to the Korean government's policy of putting English conversation teachers on rolling 4-year contracts rather than permanent positions.

Four middle-aged women wearing funeral clothes stood in front of the Central Government Complex in Seoul at around 11am on June 19.

"The government’s inconsistent education policies have left all the powerless irregular workers out of jobs," they declared. The women, English conversation instructors for elementary and middle school classes, called for indefinite contracts. Ko Sun-gyung, who heads the Association for Professional English Conversation Instructors, blasted the Ministry of Education for "sending out an announcement to make it appear that this was lifetime employment, only to turn around and later backpedal."

"We’ve been trying to help advance public education by teaching English to children in farming and fishing villages who don’t have access to private education," she said.

"Now, 6,100 English teachers have ended up being cast aside like old shoes."

Read the full story from The Hankyoreh.

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June 05, 2013

Republic of Korea

English teachers save drowning woman in Korea

Teaching-English-in-Korea"Blogging report from Korea tells of a foreign couple, both English teachers, saving a drowning local woman.

Heartwarming expat news is coming out of Daejeon, at the moment, as local news reports are indicating that a pair of native English teachers saved a drowning Korean woman. The married foreign couple were taking a walk near the Expo Bridge in Mannyeong-dong of Daejeon's Seo-gu district, when they heard a sound coming from the water. After seeing the woman floundering in the water, the foreign husband immediately responded by diving in and brought her to the shore, where the wife also tended to her until emergency responders arrived on the scene.

The humble couple declined wanting to reveal their names or images to the public, and merely stated, “We just did what we had to do.”

Expats from that region seem to be good swimmers and life-savers, as some of you may recall in 2009, the foreign teacher from America who saved 2 drowning college kids in the ocean near Mokpo. The Missouri native was experienced with CPR and was able to resuscitate one of the Koreans and aided him until medical help arrived.

Report courtesy of

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May 21, 2013

Events | Singapore | Republic of Korea

Upcoming events in Korea, Singapore

Teaching-English"A quick reminder of two major events coming up in Asia in the next week.

The Korea TESOL National Conference 2013 will be held this weekend, May 25-26, at the Korea National University of Education. The conference brings together several key concepts in contemporary TESOL (including professional development, second language acquisition, theory informing practice, classroom-centered research projects, and pedagogy) into a meaningful theme, Developing Professionally: Plug-and-Play SLA Pedagogy, which seeks to provide teachers with practical ideas that can be readily applied in their classrooms.

The international plenary speaker is Dr. Keith Folse, an internationally renowned scholar and lecturer. Perhaps best known for his many books on grammar, he is an Associate Professor of TESOL at the University of Central Florida. Invited guest speakers include Dr. Kim Jeong-Ryeol (President of the Korea Association of Foreign Languages Education) and Robert S. Murphy, a leading voice for “neuroELT” in Asia.

KOTESOL website

Teaching-English"At the National University of Singapore, the CELC Symposium 2013 will be held between May 27-29. It is the fourth international symposium for English language teachers held by the Centre for English Language Communication, and combines classroom-based research paper presentations, workshops, demonstrations, poster sessions, and colloquia to give presenters and participants an enriching professional experience. This year's theme is Alternative Pedagogies in the English Language and Communication Classroom and the keynote speakers are professors Christopher Candlin (Macquarie University), Ulla Connor (Indiana University), William Grabe (Northern Arizona University), and Ann Johns (San Diego State University).

CELC Symposium 2013 website

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May 10, 2013

Publishing | Republic of Korea | Events | Awards & Competitions

LLL Award finalists announced

Extensive-Reading-World-Congress" The Extensive Reading Foundation (ERF), an unaffiliated, not-for-profit organization that supports and promotes extensive reading in language education, announced the finalists of the 10th Annual Language Learner Literature (LLL) Award for books published in 2012.

An international jury chose the finalists in five book categories, taking into account online votes and comments of students and teachers around the world. The winning books will be announced at the 2nd Extensive Reading World Congress in Seoul, on September 13-15, 2013, and concurrently on

You can order all the shortlisted books from, where you can also see an overview of all winning titles and finalists, sorted by categories.

See also:
More articles on Extensive Reading

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About Republic of Korea

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to ELT News in the Republic of Korea category. They are listed from newest to oldes.

Philippines is the previous category.

Singapore is the next category.

Many more can be found by looking through the archives.

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