Archive for July, 2011

Korea: USA Teacher In Demand

July 31, 2011 Leave a comment

From the Korea Joongang Daily:

As many students emigrate from Korea to the United States for higher education opportunities, Korean hagwon (academies) and parents find it increasingly necessary to prepare children with exposure to a Western education by hiring American teachers.

Because Western norms have been embedded within these instructors’ gestures, speech and behavior, these teachers provide education in English while also exposing students to Western culture.

Kwon Yi-joo, a rising high school sophomore who currently attends a private academy in Gangnam District, Seoul, talked about the recent increase in the number of American teachers at her school. “In the past four years that I have attended this academy, there has been an increase in American teachers,” she said. “I think this [trend] is positive because as a student, I prefer having an American teacher, as it is guaranteed that someone who knows the material very well is capable of teaching the material precisely.”

“Sometimes Korean teachers can be somewhat unreliable when it comes to mastering a Westernized education.”A SAT academy in Daechi-dong, southern Seoul, has increased the number of American teachers it has hired in recent years. In 2000, the academy had only two American SAT instructors, but in 2011 this number increased to five.Similarly, another SAT prep academy in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul, increased the number of courses taught by an American teacher from three, in 2009, to seven, in 2011.The Popularity of U.S. Study Abroad Programs has Fueled Demand for American Teachers.When discussing the reasons for recruiting American teachers, the Sinsa-dong academy described these American teachers as possessing something no Korean teacher can obtain: personal experience with American culture.

One tutor at a popular hagwon in an upscale south Seoul district, who asked to remain anonymous, described Korean students’ curiosity about the U.S.


“There’s a certain curiosity, and I’m sure they want to know what it’s like [in the U.S.],” said the tutor, who first travelled to Korea in 2000 to teach. “They can get that information from these teachers to gain knowledge about the country they’re going to study in – not just through the subject but also from the personal experiences of the teacher.”

This same tutor believes that an American teacher offers a certain trust to parents and students, which has increased their employment in Korea.

“There are lots of factors, but I think the overarching reason is that it is similar for most students,” he said. “[The] number one reason people go to these academies is to learn. And I think the biggest thing is [that they come with a] certain trust and feeling that they are going to get the best education from these native speakers rather than someone who can speak English but is not familiar with the culture. A lingering doubt evolves from that type of teacher.”

The trend has grown as numerous Korean hagwon are being swamped with an abundance of prospective students interested in studying in the U.S.

Competition is another driving force behind this trend, as Korean parents compete with one another to get their children to the top.

A woman with the surname Seo, who is the mother of a 15-year old teenage boy, hypothesized about why this trend is becoming prevalent.

“Because competition among students is becoming progressively more cutthroat, parents want their children to have a certain advantage over other students, in order to be victorious in the ‘battle,’” she said. “Therefore many students are registering at academies that offer courses taught by American teachers.”

In this environment, hagwon are also in constant competition with one another, and they are hiring American teachers to give themselves an edge.  Seo conveyed her aspirations for her son’s future.

“I want him to have the best future possible, so I think it is necessary to enroll him in courses taught by an American instructor,” she said. “Eventually he will be going to college in the States, so why not prepare him with someone who is familiar and has experience with not just the American academic system but with the people and culture itself.”



Random DanIt makes sense to want a language teacher from the country you will be studying in. But how much culture do you really expect to learn from a teacher (especially one that doesn’t speak your native tongue)?

I like this statement from the article: “I prefer having an American teacher, as it is guaranteed that someone who knows the material very well is capable of teaching the material precisely.” I’d argue that knowledge of material is definitely NOT guaranteed just because that teacher is from an English speaking country.

I’m not sure of the stats but I’d say 90% of the English teachers here don’t have masters degree and maybe 66%+ bachelor’s degrees aren’t related to teaching or English field (linguistics, literature, etc).

Maybe that’s why the requirements to teach in Korea (minimum: bachelors) are just for that reason: They don’t want an excellent grammar teacher or someone specializing in English but just having someone “provide education in English while also exposing students to Western culture.”  But like i said, how much culture do you expect from a teacher?  I didn’t learn any culture from my high school and university Spanish classes.  Maybe that was my fault, but I really doubt I would have learned much culture even if that was my only reason for taking those classes.

Well, I can’t complain that much.  I’m a white male from the USA between the ages of 25-40.  If only I had blue eyes I’d be the ‘ideal’ teaching candidate in Korea.

We can’t win ’em all.

Categories: Education, Korea, Politics, Teaching, USA

South Korea: Glowing Dog

July 29, 2011 1 comment

(Reuters) – South Korean scientists said on Wednesday they have created a glowing dog using a cloning technique that could help find cures for human diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, Yonhap news agency reported.

A research team from Seoul National University (SNU) said the genetically modified female beagle, named Tegon and born in 2009, has been found to glow fluorescent green under ultraviolet light if given a doxycycline antibiotic, the report said.

The researchers, who completed a two-year test, said the ability to glow can be turned on or off by adding a drug to the dog’s food.

“The creation of Tegon opens new horizons since the gene injected to make the dog glow can be substituted with genes that trigger fatal human diseases,” the news agency quoted lead researcher Lee Byeong-chun as saying.

He said the dog was created using the somatic cell nuclear transfer technology that the university team used to make the world’s first cloned dog, Snuppy, in 2005.

The scientist said that because there are 268 illnesses that humans and dogs have in common, creating dogs that artificially show such symptoms could aid treatment methods for diseases that afflict humans.

The latest discovery published in ‘Genesis’, an international journal, took four years of research with roughly 3.2 billion won ($3 million) spent to make the dog and conduct the necessary verification tests, Yonhap said.-

Random Dan– Not only was this dog cloned, but it also glows!  Jesus.  The fact that we can do these things is pretty amazing.  Maybe at the moment this may seem like ‘what good is this?,’ but I can see how this could be a step towards more testing and other scientific breakthroughs.  Eventually, the ‘ doxycycline antibiotic’ that was given to the dog could be in every survivor/health pack around the world.  For people who go hiking to people out in the snow, the ability to glow at night could be a lifesaver.  I’d like to glow for other reasons:

1. Body glow party
2. Glow sex
3. Halloween
4. Scare the hell out of people
5. Sports at night.  Team glow colors.

-This could also help police officers if gangs started glowing whatever color represented their hood.  Will also help gangs know who’s who.

This does beg to ask the question (which I’m sure ALL Koreans are wondering):

If you eat a glowing dog, will you also glow?

Unfortunately there have been no tests done (or at least no results reported).  Hopefully we will find out soon.  But if you notice glowing Koreans walking around at night, it’s safe to say it’s not radiation from Japan.

The Smurfs had their day ladies and gentlemen.  Now, it’s our turn.

Categories: Korea, Lists, Science, Technology

FisForFriday: FAIL

July 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Every Friday I’m going to post a video and/or story to end the week.  This week’s FisFORfriday is FAIL.

Check out these failures.  Well, all except the first dude.  He’s just F‘ing stoned!

Categories: FAIL, FisForFriday, Lists, Video

Korea Monsoon: Videos of Landslides

July 28, 2011 1 comment

There’s also been reports that some officials are worried that landmines may have been displaced and actually brought into towns!  Good times.

Categories: Korea, Sports, Video


July 27, 2011 4 comments

Every Thursday I’m going to post a link or something that’s worth ‘checking out’ on the internet.

Top Documentary Films is a great website.  You can watch hundreds of free documentaries online.

If you’re not a fan of documentaries, you should be.  I think the world would be a smarter place if we watched these in school instead of teachers just telling us to read from the book while in class (where most of us just read the words without really trying to comprehend what we were actually reading).

There is such a variety of subjects on there.  If you want, you can subscribe to a newsletter which is more of a note of what new documentary has been added to the site.

Check it out!  Enjoy.

Categories: Check-It-Out, Internet

I’m Going to Japan!

July 27, 2011 Leave a comment

I Googled: “read Japanese fast” because I’m going to Japan next week.
One link says “Try our 21 day trial of Read Japanese Fast.”

Not sure what their idea of ‘fast’ is…

Categories: Google, Internet, Japan, Rant, Travel

Monsoon In Korea

July 27, 2011 3 comments

So much rain in Korea today! Subways and streets are flooded.  Cars and buses are stuck.  Around ten people died in northern Korea (of South Korea).  With all the bad weather and bad news, I thought this quote would be appropriate:

“If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is “God is crying.” And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is “Probably because of something you did.””  -Jack Handey, SNL

Categories: Korea, Science
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