Thursday, December 29, 2005

Korean is the most...

I couldn't finish the statement, even though I am quoting someone else, for fear that my blog be vilified.

I am now at Minjok Sagwan High School preparing to teach middle school students at a winter english camp. I am reluctant to speak much about the camp; this is my fifth consecutive camp here so I obviously do like working here, but to allow myself to comment on it, I fear would open up the strong emotions I often feel at the interesting organizational practices here. I dare you to count the euphemisms in that sentence!

On campus are other camps and I feel more comfortable commenting on them. One of the camps is a ten week camp for university age students and it enforces EOP (English Only Policy). Students are encouraged to stick to English. People who slip up and speak in Korean have to pay a fine (the camp recently donated 400,000 won to a needy family- the money coming from preceeds fo Korean speakers).
In addition to the fear of penalty, I found a slogan written on the stairs: "Three months is not - long enough to improve - your english, wasting - time speaking - Korean is the most stupid - thing you could do". The hyphens indicate a break in the line; 'Three months is not" is on one step, "long enough to improve" is on the next.
The slogan is a good one and captures the urgency camp teachers feel. However, there are spaces between the steps so 'Korean is the most stupid" is all alone and I noticed it long before I put the sentence together. A little unfortunate, that.

1 comment:

skindleshanks said...

Hmmm, the business of "teaching" English--something that I unfortunately know too much about.

"Lowering the affective filter" was a catchphrase when I studied TESOL, but it's completely foreign to teaching programs here.

Fines for speaking Korean, eh? Don't you think public beatings would be more effective?

(Lest I sound self-righteous--I have occasionally resorted to a spray-bottle with "H2O English potion" to encourage my middle-school kids to stick to English. It worked for a day.)