3 thoughts on “The Magic Fix

  1. I was interested in your opinion on the hakwon’s. Been stuck in the system for two years teaching it was actually quite depressing, as much as I came here for the money, now that I have had years to aclimatize it is about results now.

    Regardless of what I want the whole English system has gone majorly askew and the learning has been replaced by ensuring the kids go home with a good impression. Hence the view that most teachers are clowns amongst the expat community.

    Yet even at the higher level, teaching adults, I often get the occasional person who has gone through the hakwons, middle school English and then High School English and I am forced to focus my attention on them more. The general belief seems to be that either a. after 10 years of studying I think I am really good, but in fact my structure and especially my pronunciation is horrible; or b. after 10 years of studying I KNOW that I am no where near ready and so I am to shy to let others see my faults.

    One on one’s are the way to go, if the law would change, it would be a much more competitive and benefical market, since we would be competing with each other and trying to maintain some form of reputation.

  2. Yes. I suppose the reluctance of the Korean government is related to the fact that having a mob of freelancers floating around the country would make them harder to track, and leave them with nobody officially “in charge of them”, or “responsible” for them should they need to be contacted, deported, or what have you. In addition, probably there are fears that schools would lack teachers altogether, since teaching one-on-one is both more fulfilling, and generally more worthwhile in terms of actual learning.

    I suppose it’d be hard to find any country that would let in mass numbers of foreigners to do freelance work, of course, so I can’t really criticize. But I do think fewer draconian laws about it all would benefit people: abolishing the “Letter of Release” and legalizing private lessons would be a start.

    One little addendum: I think that plenty of bad teachers would still survive within a legalized one-on-one system. As I said, I’m pretty certain a majority of parents and students don’t really understand how language learning is supposed to work, and they would consistently hire teachers who are likewise in the dark. But I do think more good teachers would get more good work, a reputation-system of sorts would probably emerge over time, and more real language learning would be happening all around.

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