Saturday, August 13, 2005

New ESL advocacy group

Today's Herald has an article on the problems with ESL in Korea. The article covers no new ground regarding the problems but tries to offer a way to solve them.

I've been here long enough to know that problems exist but I don't think they are as widespread as is claimed. Perhaps I have been lucky in mostly avoiding bad hagwons and mostly working at some very good ones. YoungeoNara in Masan, Masan FLI, and O-Dong-dong ELI in Masan were all good and BCM in Seokchon Dong, Seoul was very good. ETC in Baekam, Kyounggi-do was bad to very bad but my wonderful wife saw the signs and we left just before it collapsed. Kwandong U. is a great place; it is mentioned in some old blacklists but the problems seem to be solved and I am very happy here.

Was I a problem while I gained experience? Yes, I would say so. I wouldn't describe the 1997 Kwandongbrian as a terrible teacher but he did have a lot to learn and the '98 Kwandongbrian earned his salary and more. I had spent a little time in Asia before '97 and so was able to appreciate the conveniences Korea offered; I called it Asia-lite and probably adjusted a little quicker then the fresh-from-uni recruits.

Anyway, there is now a new (to me, anyway) forum online called englishteachingkorea. It can sit beside Dave's ESL and others; hopefully not beside the old englishspectrum.

I am not a full member of KOTESOL but I do attend some meetings and see some value in it. It seems to be the established ESL forum for Korea; why do we need a new group? It seems the new group is merely splitting the vote.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I am applying for a position at the University. What can you tell me about the area of Kwandong? What is the weather like throughout the year? How long of a bus/train ride is it to seoul/busan? What are the beaches like? Are there a lot of English teachers there? Thank you!!!!!

brian dean said...

Have a look through the blog and all will be revealed!

If you don't have the time: It is cold in the winter with occasional 'snow days'. In the summer, it is hot but not as humid as points inland. Spring and Fall are great hiking seasons.

The time for a trip to Seoul is shrinking yearly. It was around 3.5 hours from Sokcho and it may be 2.5 now. When the express train built for the Olympics is ready, time will drop again.

The beaches are great!

Kwandong had about 20 foreign ESL teachers when I worked there. After I left, things appear to have fallen apart and the university is on a government blacklist for bad management.

Really, all this is discussed -at great length- in the blog.