Seoul.com: “Unqualified Foreigner Marijuana Hamburger… Zzzzt… Zzzzt… Drugs… Zzzzt… Sexual Harassment Overpaid… Zzzzt”
I feel there is no shame in saying that I have no idea what point the author of this Newswire press release was trying to make, but clearly his anti-English teacher circuitry needs to be updated. I do have to say I really enjoyed the colorful metaphors used to describe the effect of those famous low-quality English teachers on Korean society.
The website Seoul.com, which introduces Seoul to the whole world via English, has opened a discussion forum for native-speaking English instructors.
Seoul.com is currently in search of a new owner, but has also opened the forum to present solutions to the problems of English as taught by foreign instructors as they may have a large effect on society in the future.
The trend for early English education is not subsiding, and native-speaking English instructors have a lot to say about that. Though the number of foreigners currently teaching English here is not publicly available it can be surmised to be over 10,000, and though many of them work hard to educate children well, it is clear from newspaper reports that not a few of them have been arrested for sexual harassment or doing drugs such as marijuana.
There are even, it is said, some who come here on forged degrees who were selling hamburgers in foreign countries, leading to doubts about the quality of English they teach, and this may eventually lead to society-wide problems in the workforce. Moreover, recently some English teachers who are already here have formed a labor union and announced they will fight hard for higher wages, which implies that there may be new social problems in the future.
There are currently no strict requirements for the credentials of foreign English teachers, so their qualifications, character, and abilities are treated laxly, so to minimize these social problems their credentials must be subject to strict requirements and taken in a sound direction.
Furthermore, only college graduates who speak standard English should be selected, to eliminate fake degrees there must be a verification system, the number of work visas issued should be limited, and rather than just hiring teachers who can speak well, those who have the proper character and teaching ability must be chosen first.
But the more important thing is to treat those who come here just because they don’t like their hometowns, or just to make money, or just to enjoy meeting Korean women, as if they were poisonous mushrooms.
With their youthful, passionate nature they understand foreign countries and make friends, but there is the cost of hiring such young passionate people. I mean that while they are working, care should be taken so that the government and schools explain Korean culture to them and introduce them to nice Korean friends, so when it is time for them to return home they can have permanent friends in Korea.
I don’t know if there is not enough of a budget to verify all credentials or if supply can’t meet demand. But those are not the reasons credential standards are loose. It is important to do things meticulously even if that means more slowly. Hurrying to get our children taught English can mean importing viruses that create social problems.
Just as Seoul.com is a website introducing Korea to foreign countries in English, domestic websites are drawing people from around the world. Imagine if they would tell them that Korea needs many English instructors, and so any healthy young person of ability can be hired, and they teach our children while making nice Korean friends and learning about Korean culture so that nice relationships are formed for the future.
I’ve heard that parents who sent their children abroad to learn English are bringing them back now because of the economy, and since there are also many who never sent their children, there is a lot that they would like to say.
Quick summary of what this author doesn’t know: E-2 visas are contingent on having a verified college degree and passing a criminal background check; there is really no such thing as “standard English”; cultural programs are run for teachers working for public schools; the number of E-2 visas issued yearly is in fact publicly available information (those with a modicum of patience and Korean ability can see for themselves).
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