Monday, November 28, 2011

Korean teachers preferred over native speakers

[Update:
Brian writes about this as well, and links to articles in English by Korea Times and Hankyoreh. The Chosun Ilbo has it in English here.

This GEPIK questionnaire for parents regarding foreign teachers is worth looking at as well.]

[Original post]

Yesterday Yonhap published the following article:
Korean students prefer Korean teachers for English education

Satisfaction in regard to native speaking teacher classes is high

Results of research by Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education into the realities of English education staff.


Satisfaction with native speaker English education in schools is high, but a survey has found that many think that in the long term, Korean teachers should teach English.

According to the results of the "Study analyzing the results of the Seoul English education strengthening policy and development plan" released by SMOE on the 27th, parents, students and teachers are satisfied with current native speaking teachers but the opinion came out that in the medium and long term Korean English teachers with English ability should be responsible for school English education.

The study was based on interviews with or online surveys by 28,761 students enrolled in 1,282 elementary, middle and high schools in Seoul, 11,980 parents, 2,406 English teachers, and 595 native speaking English assistant teachers, among others.

The survey found that 54.2% of parents thought that native speaking English assistant teachers helped their children improve their English skills.

The number of parents who were 'satisfied' with Korean English teachers' classes stopped at 39%. The reason for this was 'lack of English skills' (35.8%), lack of enthusiasm for class' (20.2%), and because 'students did not understand' (16.6 percent).

Among students as well, the number of those satisfied with the native speaking English teacher's class (60.0%) was slightly higher compared to Korean English teachers (55.3%).

However, when asked about what category of English teacher was most desirable, the most common choice among parents (62.2%) was "a Korean teacher with excellent English conversation ability who is good at teaching."

This was followed by "native speaking English assistant teachers" (26.9%) and "Korean Teachers who lack English conversation skills, but who are good at teaching (11.0%), which can be construed as a preference for Korean teachers as long as their English ability is sufficient.

Students as well chose "Korean teachers with excellent English conversation ability who is good at teaching" (53.7%) over "native speaking English assistant teachers" (29.7%).

62.4% of parents answered that there should be native speaking English assistant teachers, and responded negatively to the suggestion that English assistant teachers be reduced.

As for the opinion of Korean teachers in regard to native speaking English assistant teachers, they answered that they contributed to the improvement of students' English ability and confidence, but pointed out that there was difficulty managing co-teaching classes and level/graded classes (? 수준별 수업) with native speaking teachers.

As for their difficulties at school, native speaking English assistant teachers counted "Korean teachers lack 'know how' in regard to classroom management" (27.0%) the most, followed by "Korean teachers who are not familiar with co-planning lessons" (18.8%) and "lack of mutual understanding based on cultural differences" (14.3%).
This was reported by several other news outlets:

Newsis: 90% of native speakers say "Students' ability improves in my class"; but students prefer Korean teachers to native speakers.

Money Today: Half of students say "We can't interact with the native speaking teacher."

Financial News: "In the long term, it's better that Korean teachers teach English"

Asia Today: For English education in schools there is a preference for excellent Korean English teachers.

Money Today: Students-Parents: "Satisfied with Seoul public school English education"

Kukmin Ilbo: More than half of students and parents in Seoul prefer 'Korean teachers' over native speakers

Segye Ilbo: More participation by students in English class, increase Korean teachers

Hankyoreh: Native speakers are unconditionally the best in English education? "Korean teachers with excellent ability are preferable."

Financial News: "It's preferable that Korean English teachers with ability should teach."

Seoul Sinmun: "Preference for Korean teachers over native speaking teachers."

Asia Gyeongje: SMOE: "Reduce native speaking teachers and foster Korean English teachers."

EBS: "Korean English teachers more desirable than native speakers."


It's nice to see Newsis having some fun with their title. I'd be curious to see more of the actual questions/possible choices for answers on this survey. That people would prefer, in the long run, to have Korean teachers teaching English instead of importing foreign teachers is a bit of a no-brainer, really. Who would disagree with that statement? No one was ever planning to keep hiring foreign teachers in public schools into the 22nd century.

It's interesting that there is opposition to the idea of reducing native speaking assistant teachers by parents, according to the survey. Last week, Park Dong-u, a councilor on the Gyeonggi Provincial Council (which oversaw the budget cut that left GEPIK in limbo) said at a council meeting on next year's education budget that native speaking teachers should be reduced each year beginning in the cities, because one can be exposed to more English in the cities as opposed to rural farming communities. As they are reduced, guidance counsellors should be increased.

In related news, 50 schools (half of them elementary schools) in Gyeonggi are implementing remote video lectures by native speakers for schools in rural areas, and are holding workshops for teachers from these schools in Bucheon and Ansan today and tomorrow.

9 comments:

Exit86 said...

"Okay class, the proper answer to the survey question is ____________. Also, don't forget, our class will be meeting downtown for the mandatory anti-FTA, anti-US Beef rally"

What is there not prefer about this approach????

Ed Provencher said...

I'd like to see some analysis, by Koreans, of the results of the study.

wetcasements said...

Meanwhile, rich Korean families will continue to do the hagwon thing employing NET's, and their kids will have a huge leg up on all the other ones when it comes to taking the college entrance exam and having a successful life.

Progress!

HRod said...

I too would prefer a Korean fluent in English with excellent teaching abilities to teach my kids than a 'luck of the draw' foreigner since the abilities of the first are established in the premise of the question while the abilities of the second aren't.

Brian said...

Me too, HRod. A "capable" Korean English teacher, too, is generally in teaching for the long haul and shares a common language and culture with students (in spite of the growing generation gap). And, it should go without saying that Korean English teachers are the ones who teach to the all-important tests, so for most students and parents those classes are most important.

It's finding a Korean English teacher fluent in English that's a challenge and a "luck of the draw" depending on your city and neighborhood.

HRod said...

But the question gives the respondent the choice between a Korean teacher defined as fluent and excellent at teaching and not the foreigner. For the question to have any value, one would have to also compare "fluent and excellent at teaching Korean teachers" with "excellent at teaching foreign teachers" (whom we can already assume to be fluent).

In practice, the odds of getting such a Korean teacher are probably not that great (I wouldn't know, I am not an English teacher).

Exit86 said...

How about any person--regardless of ethnicity--fluent in English and Korean, with a strong understanding of Koreans,their culture, and their way of thought, who has excellent teaching abilities?

Allisoninjeonju said...

This study assumes that these Korean teachers with good English actually use English when teaching English. That, to me, is the biggest problem. They can pass an English test, but they still insist on teaching English class in Korean, and do not expect students to use English - because it's too hard for them. :-(

out and about in asia said...

i've been reading many a report on this thanks to buddy bobby and busan haps open group on facebook.

i used to work in korea, 13 years actually, for 3 of those i worked in the public middle school. i finally got tired of the nonsense so i quit. sadly it may have put me in bad standing and I was unemployable for my last year. i lived a financially wonderful year though.

in january,i moved to malaysia to train malaysian elementary school teachers how to improve the class. and its a much better way than EPIK, SMOE or GEPIK. its been fantastic.

i think they were intending on that, hiring us all for co teaching, in the hopes that there would actually be some rub off. the end result being that after the "one NET/public schools was completed, and sufficient evidence was shown of some educational progress in the language, that the NET would be phased out in hopes the korean native teachers would have developed a clue just how to teach better.

i'm sure in some cases it has, i know many from the EPIK program who loved working in it, and have developed great relationships with their teachers and students. and i know many who hated it. i went from liking it, to being extremely bored with it due to my schools lack of creativity, blame the bureaucracy that is the education system.

for me, the lack of confidence my co teachers had in themselves, their reluctance to think out side the box, has always been my pet peeve about teaching in korea. and that in the end put a strain on my desire to remain and teach there.

good luck to all those still in the public school system. hopefully you'll be able to find work. if not i suggest greener pastures. and given your experience in korea, its a great springboard into choosing the job that is about education, and not what admins, politicians, or parents want, its what the child NEEDS, and DESERVES.