Most teachers who have spent time in Korea regard it as a “cash cow” and an excellent opportunity to pay off any existing student loans. It is also a “cash cow” for Koreans who continue to establish their brands globally. They prefer to keep teachers and even have a severance package as a safety net. Korean teachers get paid well and have healthy work hours resulting in normal work relations with foreigners. A degree is enough in Korea.
Korea’s success involves more than students who learn how to communicate in another language but who can also learn what might appeal to other cultures. The success of Samsung, LG and Kia are directly related to been able to communicate and as a result they have emerged as global brands. In terms of changing a cultural outlook—when Samsung makes commercials with Ozzy Osborne in order to sell phones (no pun intended) then obviously their way of thinking has changed in order to control more of the market share in media and communication. It is now Nokia who? And Blackberry is quickly on the demise.
When Japan started recruiting English teachers they became the first country to be able to establish brands globally and part of this emergence directly involved communication and cultural change. Being able to understand and predict what another culture wants and needs when you are capable of making good products is a successful formula. Japan has been making many better products than America for years.
Over the last decade, Japan has gotten cheap--removing good secure teaching jobs, replacing them with low paying part time positions. Then greed surfaced as full time jobs disappeared and teachers worked miserably through agencies, which eventually bankrupted, resulting in many teachers going to other countries—especially Korea. Japan now has a reputation of not being a country to work in as a teacher. Korea on the other hand has a great reputation and continues to gain more of the Asian global market export share.
China has large economic growth in demand for “outsourcing products” from western companies and expansion of global markets. Realizing the demand for English and communication as a necessity, well-paid teaching positions are also emerging in order to prepare a generation for change. The future looks promising. A degree is enough in China.
The same may be said for Vietnam. They are quickly developing and acquiring more share of a global market in manufacturing and it is just a matter of time when brands develop. They are also a country recruiting teachers and paying them fairly well.
Singapore has been speaking English since the colonial days but they have still failed to establish their brands globally. Only their airline is a well-known brand. This seems odd when it is a huge area for trade. It seems safe to say that just speaking English is not enough, one has to change certain things culturally as well—this is hard to define because how do you explain Samsung’s decision to get Ozzy to market their cell phones?
It seems safe to say that the country that keeps teachers and pays them well benefits in the long run. Those that don’t, lose them and carry the stigma of being an undesirable place to work. This has lasting affects on economic growth.
Dr. Morgan Rodder