Thursday, October 2, 2008

Jeju to build foreigner ghetto by 2011.

LOL, I googled "foreigner ghetto" just to make sure I wasn't about to make an offensive reference to a neighborhood in Poland or something, and found that three of the first four pages, and four of the top ten, refer to spots in Korea. A fifth page, and the third result, directs to a Marmot's Hole post.

Anyway, Jeju will open an entire city devoted to English education. I really don't want to talk about it, so go read the thing on your own.

I've been sort of following English Towns and English Villages for a while: actually, my first two contracts were for English Villages, but the schools closed before my visa was processed, lol. My first contract in Jeollanam-do was for an English Town in Gangjin, but because its opening was delayed some 18 months I never made it there. Anyway, when I first began following this trend in 2004 or 2005 I thought to myself "Why would people want to build English Villages in a country where don't talk to the foreigners they already have?" What's with always having to compartmentalize English---and foreigners---and make it something you have to go out and study? What's with the need to make it self-contained, whether in a school, in a town, or on a tour bus? The hundreds of hagwon in your own town aren't enough? The native speaker at your school isn't enough? The foreigners you pass every day on the street and yell "HellOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO monkey" at their back after they've walked by aren't good enough? The white guy you ignore all day at school and then approach for private lessons later isn't good enough? The half-dozen channels devoted to English education aren't good enough? The thousands upon thousands of Korean-language websites devoted to learning English aren't good enough? It's come to this?

I spend a lot of time writing about using a sledgehammer to kill a fly, and here's another example. English Villages are losing money all over the country. Is the experience there really doing anything to improve people's English? Evidence from Paju suggests otherwise. All this coming while communicative competence is still being trumped in schools by the impulse to teach to tests, tests which focus entirely on grammar, reading, and listening, and tests that, at least the ones I've read, are filled with errors in the grammar, reading, and listening sections.

In other news from the Ministry of Land, Transport, and Maritime Affairs, plans are going swimmingly for their Co-prosperity Sphere.

1 comment:

Andy said...

That diagram just looks like a strange way to physically separate Korea, and make one big island...

Wait... has 2mb already thought of that?