Prelude 1: The 1983 Law "Limiting Aliens' Residence Period" and banning "unqualified" foreigners from working.
Part 1: Le Monde and what came before
Part 2: Korea is "Ali Baba's" Cave
Part 3: Seoul Should not be a Workplace for Parisians
Part 4: In private foreign language classes, there are a lot of ‘fraud teachers’
Part 5: Jibberish
Part 6: 'I Want to Strike it Rich in Seoul Too' - Continuous Job Inquiries by the French
Part 7: Foreigners Enjoy Better Life With Mother Tongues
Part 8: Foreigners and Foreign Languages
Part 9: Sickening Face
Part 10: Barking Up the Wrong Tree
Part 11: The First Sanctions on Foreigners Working Illegally
Part 12: All Private Lessons by Foreigners Prohibited
Part 13: Institutes Asked to Hire Eligible Foreign Teachers
Part 14: "Seoul Wind"
Part 15: Foreign Language Teacher Shortage
Part 16: Troublemaking vagabond foreigner story finally airs
Part 8: Foreigners and Foreign Languages
On August 24, 1984, after first bringing the scandal of French foreign teachers living the easy life as language teachers to the public's attention, expanding it into a look at 'fraud' teachers, and painting a picture of a Korea about to be deluged by unqualified young French men, the Joongang Ilbo decided to look at the problems such unqualified teachers cause for English education in Korea, and for the first time linked the issue to pending laws and ordinances regarding private institutes and private lesson teaching.
Many thanks to Kim So-eun for transcribing the Hanja.
Foreigners and Foreign Languages
A foreign news article about the red carpet treatment and, of course, good luck that has sometimes come the way of vagabond travelers from abroad because they teach speaking in Korea has directly confirmed that [these people] are perversely leaving foreign countries [to come take advantage of] our foreign language study boom.
The fundamental purpose of foreign language study is to acquire advanced learning and help the overseas expansion of our citizens. Therefore the most important thing is to procure qualified teachers and instructors for these schools and private institutes which serve this purpose.
Based on pending laws and enforcement ordinances regarding private institutes, to qualify to be a private institute instructor one will have to be at least a junior college graduate or its equivalent. However, regarding foreigners this method of verifying academic background is vague and this enforcement ordinance is not particularly effective.
Especially, regarding cases of foreigners who have recently come to Korea to ride our country’s foreign language boom and work as teachers, there are naturally many doubts as to how suitable these people are, about their standard of refinement and of course their language education skill.
These vagabond foreigners live without doing anything in particular in their home countries and only need to raise just enough money for a plane ticket. They first enter the country and then through foreign language lessons they make the money needed for room, board, and traveling. A Le Monde article eloquently revealed the facts of how some Parisians regard as Korea as a gold mine.
The true educational effect of foreign language learning is that when learning to speak and write a foreign country’s language, to some degree one learns its culture and ‘spirit’ as well. Attaching importance to conversation, [learners] can’t distinguish a teacher’s or instructor’s standard of refinement and mistake them for nothing but a 'tape recorder.' Ultimately there’s a worry that when learning conversation students will imitate that country’s vulgar culture, vulgar living language, and vulgar values. Educational methods are also a problem.
In addition, in language learning, continuous dialogue, repetition, and correction is required, and the applicable traditional grammar of the language should be also be received from the teacher. Of course, one can’t believe that foreign travelers have completely mastered these teaching methods. There is also a concern that these days incorrect foreign speaking is being learned.
There’s a risk when private institutes, corporations and some households [consider] any foreigner with different-colored skin or eyes to be good, and we are seeing that this reckless learning fever is actually having a negative effect on foreign language education.
Also, for this reason it could come to pass that our citizens' image of their level of culture will fall and will offset the effectiveness of gaining foreign language learning.
The first thing the authorities need to do is strengthen the requirements for private institute instructor qualifications. In March, a number of foreign language institutes which had hired unqualified instructors were closed by administrative measures. If needed, the law should be amended to end the hiring of instructors who don't meet a set level of knowledge/refinement and who haven't mastered teaching methods.
In addition, to be of help to those citizens who aspire to learning a foreign language by studying accurate foreign speaking and writing under a qualified teacher, we should bear in mind that learning foreign languages from vagabond foreigners is actually inefficient and not even effective.
You might notice some familiar themes in that piece, such as "These vagabond foreigners live without doing anything in particular in their home countries," "there are naturally many doubts about how suitable these people are," the belief that "any foreigner with different-colored skin or eyes is good," "conversation students will imitate that country’s vulgar culture, vulgar living language, and vulgar values," and of course, "regarding foreigners this method of verifying academic background is vague" and "authorities need to do is strengthen the requirements for private institute instructor qualifications."
These themes have in fact reappeared in articles from the past two weeks, such as this, this, this, and this. While much has changed in Korea over the last twenty-six years, it's apparent some things haven't.