President Lee's new policy about English.

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President Lee's new policy about English. Empty President Lee's new policy about English.

Post  Abby Yun on Mon Apr 28 2008, 18:22

Hi, everyone :-)

When I came back home, my mother gave me today's news paper and said,
"What do you think of it?" So, I read the title and said, "Finally -_-......."

Guess what the topic was. As you can see the subject of this, it was about new policy about English test. I tried to find a English version of the newspaper article but, I failed. No
Anyway, I'll sum up the policy.

First of all, they will remove the English part from the KSAT(수능).
And they will make another English tests and it's a PASS or FAIL test.
The new test will have various version - like for beginners, intermediate, or advanced.
(They are not mentioned about how many versions they will have.)
They will make the universities decide that which version they will use to choose new students.

(I think it's not enough for you to understand what exactly happen. So, I make a link to the Korean article. If you have English version, why don't you share :-D)

Anyway, they say that they make this policy to reduce the private educational expenses. BUT, I think it is ridiculous. No It cannot be the solution. It will increase the expenses. That's because the Korean mothers want to make thier child higer state. I mean, if the child has ability to choose the intermidiate version, mother will think that he/she has ability to keep advanced version. So, mother want to teach the child the advanced version, but he/she cannot follow the school (just because he/she is in intermediate state) so, mother will take the child to the private institution.

I think it's kinda dillema. Umm, I think the only way to solve the private expense problem is to cool the heat of mothers.

How do you think about it? I want to know your thoughts.

- Yun, Ji ah
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Post  Young on Mon Apr 28 2008, 20:16


I also read the article about that. The government announced New English Test, but that has not been decided yet. One thing that is clear is the students who are under the second grade in middle school have to prepare for the New English Test wharever it will be changed into. We can guess that New English Test will include, definitely, speaking part. Therefore, students have to prepare for that area. To do that, I think public education is not enough, so they have to go to private academies. Even though the government makes new system and programs to support New English Test soon, it will take long time this New Test to take root.
Personally, I think it is necessary to try new English test system in Korea, but I am worried that our little students may be victimized.

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Post  Jason Renshaw on Tue Apr 29 2008, 04:15

Thanks so much for raising this issue, Abby, and for your insightful addition Heeyoung.

As with so many recent English education announcements, there is both good and bad in this policy.

I think removing the English element from the basic college entrance exam could have a wonderful overall impact, because the English format of the Sunung has a massive (and generally very negative) impact on the way English is taught in both public and private settings all the way through the secondary school years. I also like the concept of "pass/fail" to discourage parents and students from becoming obsessed with rank and "getting ahead" of the others. Making the test available on a constant basis rather than at just one time is also a great move, and of course adding the speaking element should have a very positive impact on the way English is taught.

However, this doesn't appear to have been thought through particularly well. There are still "levels" involved in the new test, which means parents will of course be infatuated with having their children achieve a pass at the highest level. We also don't know how universities are going to incorporate these tests into their admission requirements, and they have complete freedom in terms of what they require in English proficiency for admittance into their programs.

My biggest concern of all is that this is another announcement that follows policy ideas like complete English immersion and lots of talk about English being Korea's biggest weakness from an economic point of view. The government has gone from "English needs to be upgraded and more important" to "English is no longer important for the college entrance test". It really looks like they have absolutely no idea what they are doing, and are just "fishing" with one policy after another to see which one will make them most popular with the general public. It's quite irresponsible of them.

I won't be at all surprised to hear a completely new policy or idea announced in another 2-3 months... What a confusing and stressful time it is for the field of English language learning and teaching in Korea!

Just on Heeyoung's point about speaking and the demand for more access to native speakers, I think it is a realistic prediction that makes me sad. Already in this class we've seen that Korean teachers can develop their own approaches to teaching good speaking skills in the classroom. Most of you are now far more professional in your ability to teach these skills than the average foreigner who steps off a plane from the States or Canada with no teaching experience or training.

I earnestly hope within the next couple of years that more Korean teachers can and will teach speaking (as well as writing) skills in their classrooms. It will change everything.

Interesting topic and thoughts, ladies! Thanks so much for sharing them.

Best wishes,

~ Jason


Jason Renshaw
Kyungpook National University, Teachers' College, Department of English Education
Daegu City, Republic of Korea 702-701

Managing Director: www.onlinEnglish.Net
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