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Author Topic: Korea lifts English education ban for first, second graders  (Read 652 times)

Offline sleepy

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Korea lifts English education ban for first, second graders
« on: March 14, 2019, 03:27:31 PM »
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2019/03/181_265365.html

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Lawmakers have approved an amendment to revert the policy banning English education for first and second graders at elementary schools.

The National Assembly passed the amendment Wednesday to allow first and second graders to learn English in after-school classes. The move comes only a year after the policy came into force to prohibit all English classes for children "too young to learn a foreign language."

After introducing the policy, the Ministry of Education was criticized by teachers and parents alike. Many said the policy would only deepen the English gap between the rich and the poor, who cannot afford expensive private education.

Given that English is not a regular subject for first and second graders, if they want, they will be allowed to learn English in after-school classes from next semester.

Initially, the ministry defended the policy, saying it was in line with the Constitutional Court's 2016 ruling that found its ban on intensive English education for first and second graders constitutional. The court said teaching them Korean and English simultaneously could hinder their development of Korean proficiency.

But many scholars were skeptical, saying learning a foreign language at an early age outweighs its negatives ― if there are any ― in the long term.

I miss teaching the 'young uns'

Online MayorHaggar

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Re: Korea lifts English education ban for first, second graders
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2019, 04:53:05 AM »
I never understood the back and forth on this issue. Koreans send 3 year olds to private English kindergartens for 800,000W and up a month. After three years they are pretty fluent at reading/writing/speaking in English. Korea is a pointlessly competitive place to raise a kid and parents who can't afford these fees are expected to wait until their kids are in 3rd grade to learn English. So most urban kids have 6 years of English education by the time that rural kids start to learn the English alphabet, often in classes of 30 kids where the teacher can really only teach the kids who go to hagwons because they're the only ones who care or who can do the lessons. Most of the other kids just don't care and don't put any effort into learning English because they don't see the point. There are good kids who don't go to hagwons but they are still so behind the ones who do. So I understand why these parents want their kids to get as much free English as possible.

On the other hand, I taught English to 1st and 2nd graders in public schools (winter/summer camps and afternoon classes) and it was pretty pointless because most of the time it was me trying to corral a bunch of feral kids with no Korean co-teacher in the room. I did have one 2nd grade class at a winter camp at a rural school who were amazing though, very respectful and eager to learn.

If they would get Korean co-teachers into these classes then they would work. Otherwise it's just a bunch of feral kids running around on top of desks and refusing to do anything but watch Youtube and do coloring.
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Online Piggydee

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Re: Korea lifts English education ban for first, second graders
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2019, 07:18:44 AM »
I never understood the back and forth on this issue. Koreans send 3 year olds to private English kindergartens for 800,000W and up a month. After three years they are pretty fluent at reading/writing/speaking in English. Korea is a pointlessly competitive place to raise a kid and parents who can't afford these fees are expected to wait until their kids are in 3rd grade to learn English. So most urban kids have 6 years of English education by the time that rural kids start to learn the English alphabet, often in classes of 30 kids where the teacher can really only teach the kids who go to hagwons because they're the only ones who care or who can do the lessons. Most of the other kids just don't care and don't put any effort into learning English because they don't see the point. There are good kids who don't go to hagwons but they are still so behind the ones who do. So I understand why these parents want their kids to get as much free English as possible.

On the other hand, I taught English to 1st and 2nd graders in public schools (winter/summer camps and afternoon classes) and it was pretty pointless because most of the time it was me trying to corral a bunch of feral kids with no Korean co-teacher in the room. I did have one 2nd grade class at a winter camp at a rural school who were amazing though, very respectful and eager to learn.

If they would get Korean co-teachers into these classes then they would work. Otherwise it's just a bunch of feral kids running around on top of desks and refusing to do anything but watch Youtube and do coloring.

+1 this!  Seriously every elementary teacher I ran into either had extreme headaches with teaching these kids or were the type of teachers who would let the kids just run around and knock into each other to encourage 'free range' teaching.  Whatever that means!  When I taught 1st graders two years ago they were exactly how you described them.  Feral, running around, no respect, not listening.  Now that I have them as 3rd graders I'm glad to see that they have mellowed out for the most part, but I can see with a lot of them they didn't soak up the alphabet the first time I taught them (which was partly due to them not being in their seats the whole time) and because most of them don't go to hakwon.  One girl kept busting out into tears anytime I opened my mouth so her homeroom teacher decided it was best for her to get another class in place of my English class.   Needless to say, she is looking at the alphabet with fresh eyes now.  Thankfully she doesn't cry anymore when she sees me or when I talk to her.  Having a co-teacher in a room would really have corrected these behaviors and given me the ability to ACTUALLY TEACH and not have to be an ant wrangler. 

Online theman3285

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Re: Korea lifts English education ban for first, second graders
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2019, 07:50:56 AM »
One girl kept busting out into tears anytime I opened my mouth so her homeroom teacher decided it was best for her to get another class in place of my English class. 
Reminds me of this time a kid started bawling when she saw me in a park in Seoul. Seriously, she was inconsolable. Her mom was super embarrassed and apologized profusely - but the damage was done :laugh: