Ooohhhh, the times they are a changin’
The winds of change are beginning to blow in Korea. Education officials are beginning to understand that there are alternatives to importing tens of thousands of English “teachers” (is teacher a title or qualification?) into the country. Finally, someone has woken up and realized that Korea’s huge Internet pipes and national broadband (even in rural areas) can be used for innovative approaches to educating their children.
When it comes to English education in Korea there are many problems batted about by politicians, educators, and researchers. It’s tough to come to conclusions with so many different opinions out there. However, I think that most agree on at least 2 serious issues: (1) Qualifications of English Teachers and (2) the Number of English Teachers.
I think that looking to the Internet is a good start for dealing with both of these issues. There is no reason to cite a lack of qualified English teachers when considering the global pool of teachers. There are plenty of Teachers who are qualified either with general teaching credentials or specifically with TESOL certifications or ESL licenses. All that is needed to get them into Korean classrooms is teacher training, a curriculum, and access to technology developed specifically for this type of distance instruction.
I don’t want to make it sound like this is THE answer to all of the issues with English education in Korea. Not only does this not solve them all, but it creates some training and infrastructure issues as well. However, as this article states, it is a great option for regions that cannot get highly qualified English teachers (Korea or other) as well as for other schools that want that extra interaction with native speakers of the language.