Extra! Korea

September 16, 2009

Seoul National University seems to only give lip service to “globalization”

Filed under: education, expatriates, multicultural society — extrakorea @ 2:08 pm

Seoul National University is Korea’s most prestigious university. It has 936 international students from 65 countries. However, a lot of them seem quite dissatisfied with the university’s ability to provide help and services to them. Yavuz Selim Kacara, a 24-year-old Turk who majors in economics, has quit as president of the university’s international student association.

“Although SNU talks about globalization, the reality can’t be further from the truth. We cannot even communicate well with the only official in charge of foreign student management.”

[ snip ]

SNU President Lee Jang-moo last month visited Harvard University. Foreign students in SNU, however, think it is nothing more than propaganda.

“We have difficulties in even registering for classes as our school doesn’t offer an English Web site,” said a student from a Southeast Asian country.

A Western student complained that some departments don’t provide English classes for their compulsory courses, making it difficult for foreigners to graduate.

The university scrapped this fall semester’s “SNU Buddy” program, which was set to help foreign students acclimate themselves to Korea.

Some students from Islamic countries have requested the university to provide a prayer room, but the school rejected the proposal without any convincing reasons.

They also appealed to the school cafeterias several times for a Muslim diet but not a sign of change has been shown.

Some lecturers prove to be insensitive enough to say things derogatory about non-Korean students.

“When a lecturer was irritated with a board marker that’s not working properly, he openly said, ‘It must be made in China’,” a Chinese student said.

[ snip ]

Asked about its stance over the problems in a written inquiry by The Korea Times, SNU offered no response.

September 10, 2009

Student sexually harassing teacher caught on video

Filed under: crime, education, gender equality, rapid cultural change, technology, youth — extrakorea @ 12:04 am

This story was first broken by Korea Beat, but now we can read about the story in much more detail in the Korea Times. A high school student was caught on video sexually harassing his female teacher. It seems that the student, a sophomore (and yet already taller than his teacher) approached the teacher, putting his arm around her shoulders. After trying, unsuccessfully, to push him away, she walked away. He followed her, putting his arm around her.

After the video clip triggered criticism online, the school decided to slap a 10-day suspension on the student along with the person who taped it.

I wonder what why the student who taped the incident was also disciplined? Because he didn’t intervene? I’d say that posting this video was a form of intervention, since it is what let to the student being disciplined. And students should not be under any obligation to insert themselves into that situation, especially since the student was big and getting physical.
This is not the first time that there has been a major incident involving students getting physically abusive with their teachers. When the current generation grows up, I have my doubts as to whether I will want to remain here, teaching. If students are going to act like that, then I might as well be back in my own country. At least I’ll be close to my family, old friends, and in my own culture and language. Not to mention moving towards home ownership.


Thanks to Korea Beat commenter DynamicallySparkling, we can now see the video. Brian in Jeollanam-do and Korea Beat, respectively, made these comments:

I can guess Korean teachers might say this is symptomatic of kids being less disciplined in years past—maybe true, I don’t know—but this is testament is also to the chaos that is the classroom between periods. Not sure how it is at your public schools, but at mine it was a lawless 10 minutes where kids ran around, wrestled, fought, threw stuff out windows, raced with chairs, and sometimes destroyed the furniture and books in the room.

Exactly what I experienced as well. It was always a complete madhouse/zoo.

August 20, 2009

Journalist’s writing proof of no knowledge about teaching. What a surprise

Filed under: education, idiots, media irresponsibility — extrakorea @ 1:44 pm

In today’s Korea Times is an article about some of the foreign English teachers who were hired by EPIK (English Program In Korea) and have just arrived in Korea. In the text is proof that the writer has no clue about teaching.

Unlike in private English-teaching institutions, teachers at EPIK are not required to stick to a rigid curriculum, but must work in a more proactive setting and provide ideas.

Teachers in hogwons (private institutes) have to stick to a rigid curriculum?! Bwa ha ha ha ha!* And by the way, what’s wrong with having a curriculum and sticking to it? Many people, including a lot of so-called “teachers” seem to think that the only purpose of a curriculum is to be an unnecessary inconvenience. They are, among other things, to help plan lessons, prepare students, and have teachers be accountable.

* I refuse to use the irredeemably idiotic “Lol.”

August 13, 2009

Speaking of stressed-out students, whatever happened to the “Korean madness” girls?

Filed under: education, humor, music, youth — extrakorea @ 2:49 pm

To no one’s surprise, young Koreans spend the most hours studying in the OECD.

According to the comparative study on the life patterns of children and adolescents commissioned by the National Youth Policy Institute, Koreans aged between 15 and 24 spent an average of seven hours and 50 minutes per day on studying at school, private crammers or at home as of 2003, nearly three hours longer per day than the OECD average of five hours.

I wonder what those hours would look like if we only looked at high school students. The amount of time that Korean university students spend studying is next to zip.

And here is concrete proof that quality is more important than quantity.

But while Korean students spent eight hours and 55 minutes per week on math alone, the country ranked second in the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2003 with 542 points, after Finland which scored 544 points. Finnish students spend just four hours and 22 minutes per week on math.

Are the “mothers’ mafias” who terrorize hogwons (private institutes) into doing their bidding (by threatening to take their kids to another hogwon) listening? Probably not.

If ever asked to present visible evidence that stress is driving young Korean students crazy, I would present this video* as Exhibit A. I wonder what ever happened to those girls? The skinny girl is a comic genius. One of the major entertainment companies should have snatched her up, if they had any sense. Who cares if she doesn’t really have vocal talent? A lot of Korean “singers” who can’t sing.

* I could watch that video a million times, and still get a smile on my face on the millionth-and-first viewing.

July 17, 2009

Drunk high-school teachers have a fistfight … in front of their students

Filed under: drinking, education, idiots — extrakorea @ 12:04 am

Two apparently drunk high-school teachers had a fistfight … in front of their school’s gates, in full view of their shocked students. According to the article, the fight started over an argument over marking final exams. The two will, allegedly, face disciplinary measures. Let’s wait and see what kind of slap on the wrist they receive.

The teachers were Korean, so expect Anti-English Spectrum to pretend this never happened.

July 16, 2009

Korean on-line tutors can earn millions (of dollars, not won)

Filed under: economics, education — extrakorea @ 3:59 am

This video from Reuters describes how some on-line tutors can earn “at least four million dollars a year.” Note that these are all Koreans. No foreigners, as far as I know, earn anywhere near that kind of money.

(Hat Tip to flakfizer)


Brian in Jeollanam-do has more.

July 10, 2009

Seoul National University Students Getting Lower Scores in English

Filed under: education, youth — extrakorea @ 5:42 am

The Korea Times reports that students at Seoul National University, Korea’s most prestigious university, have been getting worse and worse scores in English tests in recent years. Students majoring in business administration did the best, while those in engineering did the worst.

June 30, 2009

Unhappy young Koreans

Filed under: education, youth — extrakorea @ 1:55 pm

We already knew that young Koreans were the unhappiest in the OECD. Now we can add a developing country, China, to the list of countries with teens that are happier than Korea’s.

In related news, you can read about a book about Koreans in their 20s, written by an author who is in that age cohort.

Also, there is an exhibition of photo focusing on Korean teens. Teachers in Korea will have probably seen something similar to “Sleeping in the classroom.”


June 29, 2009

Korean English teachers study English at institutes to prepare for English-only classes

Filed under: education, languages — extrakorea @ 2:21 am

The Korean government plans to have English classes in public schools to be taught entirely in English by the year 2012. In preparation, some Korean English teachers are taking English classes at “hogwons” (education institutes).

Yonsei University professor wants another ex-president to commit suicide

Filed under: education, North Korea, politics, suicide — extrakorea @ 2:12 am

Kim Dong-gil, a professor at Yonsei University, is evidently going two-for-two, as far as progressive ex-presidents go. Earlier, he wrote that Roh Moo-hyun should commit suicide over a bribery investigation. Days later, ex-president Roh jumped off a cliff to his death.
Now professor Kim want Kim Dae-jung to kill himself because he believes that it’s the ex-president’s failed Sunshine Policy that has enabled North Korea to arm itself with nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. The cherry on top of the icing on the cake is the way he phrased it: He told Kim Dae-jung “to throw himself off from the nearest cliff.” Very sensitive and empathetic.
I guess he doesn’t like progressives. One down (no pun intended), one to go, I suppose.

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