I’m becoming a big fan of Korea Beat. These are the timely articles that you just don’t get in the Korean English dailies.
I’ve heard rumors of the Lee Myung-bak’s transition team proposing that high school Science and Math classes by 2010. That is just insane. These guys are just talking crazy after being locked in a room for a couple weeks brainstorming wonderful policy moves. However, I haven’t seen this printed yet, so I don’t really believe it (yet).
The proposal detailed in this post, namely that English teachers will have to teach in English and students will be required to take tests focused more on communication than grammar knowledge, seems reasonable. Can you imagine having a language teacher who couldn’t communicate passably (note I don’t say well) in the target language? This is certainly the case with many English teachers in Korea. It is my impression that the numbers are greatest in the elementary schools and decrease in middle schools and then again in high schools.
I understand being afraid of change and, thus, the resistance from some teachers (noted in the article). However, I also think that the good of the student must come before the good of the teacher. If you don’t know your topic well enough to teach it, you should either learn it or change your teaching responsibilities.
Regardless of what I think here, though. History shows that many of these suggested changes never make it to the policy stage and of those that do, few last. Just think about it. By the time it is enacted and the grace period ends, this presidency will be nearly over. No re-election for Korean presidents. The political will and juice just won’t be great enough to make it last.