Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Unqualified foreign English instructors, the scourge of ROK kindergartens

 On January 23, 2013, NoCut News published the following article:
Unqualified foreign kindergarten English instructors triumphant... management and supervision of the mess
[CBS 3rd in a series] Kindergarten system should be 'shaken up' and completely reorganized

Many kindergartens illegally have expensive English classes by hiring native speaking instructors with no qualifications.

A kindergarten in Seoul. The kindergarten fee for one month is 1.1 million won, but its student quota is already exceeded. It is so popular that currently there are dozens on a waiting list.

At other hagwons in Seoul the fee is over 1 million won, yet they are so crowded that they are not easy to enter.

One hagwon explained that, "Because we hire native speaking instructors for intensive English classes in the morning and afternoon, it can't help but be expensive."

A number of hagwons which have fees like this have been confirmed to be hiring native speaking instructors with no qualifications.

The current Immigration Control Act regulations prevent native speaking instructors who have received the conversation instruction E2 visa from teaching kindergarten classes.

Native speaking instructors with E2 visas are prohibited from participating in regular kindergarten classes and after school classes.

A Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education investigation found that of 711 private kindergartens in Seoul, 30 have native speaking instructors and carry out English education.

In particular, among those 30 kindergartens, it was determined that 11 kindergartens had hired native speaking instructors on E-2 visas.

A recent audit found that kindergartens with unqualified native speaking instructors have been caught, but up until now educational authorities have taken no action.

The Ministry of Education is not even determining to what extent unqualified native speaking instructors are teaching in kindergartens nationwide.

Amidst this, there are not a few kindergartens which teach English during regular class hours, though this is clearly illegal.

This is because, according to the Early Childhood Education Act, the preschool curriculum does not include English as a subject. The Ministry of Education has only opened the way for after-school classes to be able to teach English.

It appears we urgently need to prepare supplement policies to for a general inspection of kindergarten native speaking instructors and educational curriculum together with policies to prevent a recurrence.
I'm shocked... that NoCut News just figured out that this is going on.

It had been nearly two months without a negative article about foreign teachers when NoCut News decided to excrete the article above, which is also the first such article of 2013. Congratulations, NoCut News! This is on top of another accolade, that being of having published the most anti-foreign teacher articles in 2012. Out of 249 such articles, they racked up 24, thanks, in great part, to their "The Reality and Twisted Values of Some White Men" series.

It's probably worth noting that NoCut News is brought to us by CBS, which stands for 'Christian Broadcasting Service,' which outlines its mission here:
The mission of CBS is to establish a society ruled by God’s justice, love and peace. We have endeavored to promote personal and social development based on the Lord's principles. And we have tried to uphold natural right as endowed by God, including their free expressions of conscience.

As an interdenominational non-profit organization, CBS has greatly contributed to Korean church and society. Especially the ecumenical character of CBS, whose Board of Trustees includes representatives from 11 national church denominations and organizations, enables it to play a central role in the mission of Korean churches.

Ever since December 15, 1954, when it went on the air as the first independent radio station in Korea, CBS has had a reputation for unbiased news and fine music; and its diverse mission programs have fostered the growth of the Korean church.

Having been operated as a nationwide radio network for more than 50 years, CBS met the greatest change in its history in 2002, when it opened its own television station and thus was able to provide higher-level service through various media channels.

Today CBS is engaged in all forms of mass communications: radio, television broadcasting, internet and the smart device. CBS radio’s nationwide network consists of 14 branches, and CBS TV provides programs via cable and satellite to the Korean peninsula and other parts of East Asia. Thus CBS plays a leading role as the major Korean Christian communications organization.
Some of the "unbiased news" published under the influence of "God’s justice, love and peace" include these articles:
Foreign instructor lives a double life… Caught red-handed with dozens of ‘Hidden Camera Sex’ tapes
Yongsan police begin investigation of 'Foreign instructor who secretly filmed sex'
'Foreign instructor who secretly filmed sex' 'expelled' from his university
"The Reality and Twisted Values of Some White Men" Series:
Internet awash with 'ways to seduce Korean women'
What is the reason elementary school native speaking instructors get their hands on drugs?
'Korean women are beautiful, have a drink with me" - the night streets of Itaewon (scroll down)
'Unqualified foreign instructors' can't help but abound.
"Charged with a crime, but whatever"... If they look white, it's OK?
A foreign English instructor: "Secretly recorded sex? That's really disgusting."
After the 'hidden camera sex' report... victim hurt again through 'comment terror'
The 'Hidden camera sex video' could spread... anxious police, idle university
It's good that CBS has come to realize a truth not found in the Bible or any of the Gnostic Gospels - that, as he hung from the cross, Christ hoped for a day when a broadcasting service bearing his name would do the utmost to bring those "wine-swilling, lascivious, haughty white Romans down a peg or two."

With its 24 articles critical of foreign teachers and white men, NoCut News was followed by Newsis with 23 (though Newsis tends to publish the same article over and over again throughout the day, unlike NoCut News), Yonhap with 16, YTN with 14, Segye Ilbo with 12, Herald Gyeongje with 9, Kyunghyang Sinmun with 8, Money Today with 8, Munhwa Ilbo with 6, and dozens of other outlets with five or less. The total of 249 for 2012 is down from 272 in 2011 and 329 in 2010. Progress!

[Oh, and calling NoCut News to complain about an article may not bring about the best results.]


Dodo said...

No offense - I'm not a fan of CBS, but I don't see the xenophobia here, sorry. It's simply a fact that most native English teachers have no qualification in TESOL whatsoever. And I suppose that's one of the reasons why average Korean English language skills do not improve, despite the big numbers of native teachers hired. If you don't know how to teach a language, no matter if you are a native or not, you simply cannot be an effective language teacher. The same applies to Koreans teaching Korean as a foreign language, by the way...Greetings

matt said...

My commentary on the Kindergarten article was limited to a single sentence. If you read past the end of that article, you'll see that I was commenting on NoCut News's pattern of negative and xenophobic reports on foreign English teachers. NoCut News published a 9-part series on "The Reality and Twisted Values of Some White Men," after all, not a series on 'the lack of TESOL qualifications among foreign teachers." Overall, the kindergarten article above mostly points to the kindergartens who hire the teachers as the main part of the problem, though it once again demonstrates how multifaceted the term 'unqualified' is, using it in this case to mean 'E-2 visa holders teaching classes for businesses other than those which registered their visa" rather than "lacking TESOL qualification." The title, on the other hand ("Unqualified foreign kindergarten English instructors triumphant"), while clearly sensationalist, is also drawing on the xenophobic trope that foreigners (particularly westerners) are 'running amok' or 'out of control' and that Korea needs to stand up to them to preserve its dignity and assert its sovereignty (something seen most clearly in the never ending calls to revise the SOFA).

the wanderer said...

I don't think the populations' knowledge of the English language is based upon "unqualified" native English teachers teaching them the language. I think the population has yet to master the English language due to the Ministry of Education horribly planning how English is to be taught in Korea. They didn't research the effect of how making English education mandatory in pubic schools would have on their population, given there's an underlining xenophobic issue in the country. They didn't hire the correct teachers in general based on their lack of research. They didn't make learning English overseas at a university mandatory for Korean English teachers or learning Korean mandatory for native English teachers. They didn't partner with the majority of hagwon businesses out there to create lesson plans that reinforce what the students learn in the hagwons themselves and in school. Dodo, to blame only the native English teachers for the problem that Korea has ignores other possibilities for the problem, like the history of Korea in regards to how they socially interact with foreigners. You're not really as open to them as other countries are, and you only had 70 plus years exposure to them. Those countries close to you, who have native English teachers, have seen improvement in their English ability based on the length of their exposure to them and their proper planning. To ignore the glaring issues other than "unqualified native English teachers" as the reason for lack of Korean people acquiring the English language makes you, really, a dodo. It also makes me think that you despise a group of people who look at this opportunity as a way to better not only the communities they work in, but themselves as well.