Go to contents

Native English Teachers Speak Out on Education Plan

Posted February. 20, 2008 08:09,   


What do native English speakers who teach their language in Korea think about the incoming government’s plan to bolster English education, including the proposed introduction of English immersion classes?

Jason Im, a second-generation Korean American working for the U.S. government who writes a column for an English-language newspaper in Korea, recently conducted an online survey of 585 native English teachers on the matter.

On if the teachers thought English immersion programs will succeed, 27.1 percent responded “neutral”; 26.6 percent “disagree”; 25.1 percent “agree”; 13.3 percent “strongly disagree”; and 7.9 percent “strongly agree.”

A combined 33 percent said the English education reforms will succeed, lower than the 39.9 percent who disagreed.

More than half of the teachers, or 53.1 percent, expressed doubt over the effectiveness of the plan to hire 23,000 English-speaking teachers, as opposed to 21.3 percent who thought the opposite.

On providing additional education for Korean teachers of English, 55.8 percent predicted success while 30 percent did not.

Seventy-five percent supported the idea of building libraries with English-language books, while only 6.8 percent opposed.

On difficulties in teaching English in Korea, answers included poor quality of teaching materials, focus on rote learning and insufficient class hours.

On what the Korean government should do to secure competent native teachers, they urged improvement in the visa system.

One teacher said, “This nation tends to consider all native English teachers as criminals, exaggerating the crimes of certain native teachers. It’ll be more difficult to get good teachers now because applicants for the E-2 teaching visa must submit their criminal records from their home countries.”