Racism in the TEFL industry

The Hines-Ward effect

Yes racism still exists in America and other Western nations. But there's a difference. Here in many parts of Asia, there is no classification of racist acts because no distinction is made between the racist act and the racist person.


The politics of Babopalooza

The joke is on us

The stress and aggravation of life in Korea for expats can be brutal at times, and that's why it's important to blow off a little steam every now and then. During times like these, most expats simply get together to eat, drink, and complain about life in a society that still views foreigners as less than equal.


The courage to be fair and honest

The intelligence to see the big picture

I have just read the article in the Korea Times entitled "12 Foreign English Teachers Suspected of Drug Abuse" and have been appalled by the light in which you have put foreign English teachers in Korea. I can understand your need to sell a story by the use of using a powerful heading to draw people in. But it has come at a cost of discriminating against the foreign community in Korea.


The madness to the methods

The often crazy world of teaching in Korea

Despite being sequestered on the furthest border of the Kumi frontier, nearly fifteen miles away from the closest foreign teacher, I am still surrounded by hagwon mania. These private schools are everywhere. Due to all this severe competition, schools habitually search for new angles to draw in students. At times the teaching methods advocated are only passing fads and cheap gimmicks.


Sweet spastic, silly swarms

Back in Korea again

Korea was the same as when I left it. New swarms of hagwons proliferated like rabbits on viagra and cheap wine. Every street twinkled with the latest corporate offspring – doe-eyed upstarts of whatever educational franchise chain. Small, independent, family owned schools struggled to compete; while saturating the nation themselves oblivious to supply and demand.


Expatriate waves

Socializing with Mr Expatriate

When in a foreign country, expatriates have a way of forming unlikely bonds. Mutual disagreements can melt away when you discover the common denominator of living in a foreign county. People who wouldn’t give you the time of day in your homeland can strike up friendships with you abroad.


Anti-American protests in Korea

How the ugly american ate the ugly duckling

There is a time tested strategy that nearly all nations use to deflect criticism about their poor economies and failing domestic policies. Put simply, the technique goes like this: blame it on the foreigners and the minorities. In the United States economic hardships have triggered the lynching of Blacks and Hispanics. In the United Kingdom migrants from Pakistan and Africa have been the targets of animosity. Therefore, it is not surprising to witness this strategy placed into action within Asia.


The staff room

Inside a Korean hogwan

A total of seven teachers work at my school. All of them are Korean except for myself. Three of these teachers can speak English with me, but the others are too shy to do so. Staff meetings are held in the Korean language. I seldom understand what is discussed, but that is my fault for not learning to speak Korean fluently. If I want to learn about the meetings I will talk to the director afterward.


Anarchy in the S.K

getting to grips with the karaoke microphone

Korean karaoke, known as “noraebang”, comes in two distinct styles. The first is the family-oriented singing room in which alcohol is prohibited. Entire families attempt to harmonize current pop songs together, teenagers bond over the latest romantic heartthrob’s production, and children run wild murdering Korean nursery rhymes.


Dong chims and dried squid

Changes in Korean education

Education in Korea has rapidly changed in recent years. Up until the end of the Yi dynasty (1392-1910) Korean education was heavily influenced by Chinese practice. Only a few privileged children were allowed to enter elementary school to study Confucianism, Chinese language, and literature. At age 15-16 elitist students attended secondary school. Graduation entitled them to sit for a crucial lower level civil service examination.


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