Recruiter In Korea

The Honest Truth About Recruiting in Korea

You Can Master English at Home

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Interesting article here but again, Korea Times manages to fuck it up by writing something stupid:

More than 70 percent of Korean students are living overseas with their mothers while their fathers remain here earning money for the purpose of education.

Really?  70%?  Wow, if they would have all stayed in Korea, there would’ve been a serious over-crowding issues at schools.  Good thing they left eh?

While I do agree that one does not have to go overseas to be fluent in English, I agree with BCM (yes, he’s the owner of the hagwon with the same name) that communication is key, not just learning grammar.

“I went to Sunday school when I was young and made friends with one of the missionary families. I was invited to lunch and started to play with the children. I didn’t know how to speak English at the time but the meetings gave me great motivation and an opportunity to explore and learn English. Mingling with them helped me learn the pronunciation of English,” he said.

My cousin lived with us for 10 years and didn’t learn a lick (okay I’m exaggerating but it was honestly bad).  Why?  He only hung out with other Koreans at school, church, everywhere.


English-language educator Min Byoung-chul talks about his experiences as an educator to The Korea Times during an interview at BCM Educational Group Headquarters in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul.

/ Korea Times Photo
by Shim Hyun-chul

By Han Sang-hee
Staff Reporter

Few Koreans would deny that Min Byoung-chul is a pioneer in the promotion of English education in Korea.

In a recent interview with The Korea Times, his message was clear: You don’t have to study in an English-speaking country to master English. You can do it in Korea.

The professor at Konkuk University in Seoul said, “English education in Korea has had its fair share of struggles and they are likely to continue this year as well.”

More than 70 percent of Korean students are living overseas with their mothers while their fathers remain here earning money for the purpose of education. But the English proficiency of Koreans remains close to the bottom among the world’s non-English speaking countries, according to Educational Testing Services (ETS), the organizer of the TOEFL exam.

As heavyhearted as the students studying abroad and their parents may be, the reality is that many families believe that overseas study is the best way to learn English.

“We can learn English in Korea. It takes time, effort, determination and the right tools, but we can do it,” Min said.

The professor has studied English education for more than 30 years, and according to him, moving out of the country does not necessarily make a person fluent in English or any other language.

Thanks to the Internet and other effective tools, learning English doesn’t have to mean crossing the sea anymore. According to Min, you can realize your goal of learning English right here in Korea.

Min’s Lifelong Journey

Min’s interest in English started at an early age, and by chance.

“I went to Sunday school when I was young and made friends with one of the missionary families. I was invited to lunch and started to play with the children. I didn’t know how to speak English at the time but the meetings gave me great motivation and an opportunity to explore and learn English. Mingling with them helped me learn the pronunciation of English,” he said.

Realizing the importance of learning the language, he studied education and eventually became the host of the television program “Min Byoung-chul’s Practical English” on MBC.

But Min, one of the pioneering English educators to have his own TV program, faced some hardships during the show.

“People didn’t understand my lectures because I was introducing colloquial American English. People would ask me why I would use words like ‘wanna.’ I would say ‘I wanna go to school,’ and they would correct me, saying, ‘I want to go to school,” he said.

“I was also once criticized for using too many hand gestures, so when you look at some of the episodes, I look very stern. I stopped moving,” Min said.

Time and Determination

So what is the best way to learn English?

“Back in the 1970s, learning English was focused mostly on grammar, specifically for college entrance exams. Now we have started to emphasize communication. But personally, I don’t believe there has been a great change, mainly because the test has not changed,” he said.

Many students these days begin learning conversational English during pre-school years – at English academies and at school – but as soon as they reach the fourth grade, parents encourage them to focus on grammar, according to Min.

Recently, the government announced an increase in the number of listening comprehension questions on the English portion of the College Scholastic Aptitude Test from 25 percent to 50 percent, beginning from 2014.

Some have argued that this will necessitate more private education, but in order to help students learn conversational English, the change is a must.

“What is the purpose of our students learning English? Currently, it is to enter a good university. But what about university students? Their goal is to get a good job. Major companies recruit people by testing their skills in English proficiency, presentation and negotiation. It’s important that teachers and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology understand that English education must go to that direction,” he said.

Min stressed that the best way to learn English is to devote time to the endeavor every day.

“Koreans do not have enough hours of English-language learning at public schools. So they simply don’t have the time to learn it at school. Anyone can learn communicative English if they make time for it,” he said.

Another important method for learning English is memorization.

“Some may say that learning a language is not about memorization. But because Korean students are learning English as a foreign language, fundamental knowledge must be memorized,” Min said.

Take multiplication, for instance. In order to solve a complicated mathematical question, one must know the basics. Without basic knowledge, you are stuck.

“You need to know the phrase ‘how old are you,’ to learn the phrase ‘how old is this school,”‘ he said.

Global Citizen

More than seven million foreigners visited Korea last year, and it is crucial at a time like this to learn more about other cultures, not just their languages.

“We need to understand and embrace foreign cultures, rather than telling them that this is Korea and we don’t do that here. We have to be more open-minded to motivate people to visit Korea again. We must learn how to understand their cultures,” he advised.

He launched Min’s Sunfull Movement, an international campaign to clean up online message boards of derogatory comments and to increase the practice of posting positive messages online.

Min started the movement following the suicide of singer Unee after she became devastated by malicious comments and groundless rumors about her. Min assigned his students to post positive comments on celebrities’ Web pages and blogs. It has now become a full-fledged international movement among Internet users.

“This year we will be hosting the G20 Summit. In 1988, the Olympic Games was an effective way to show how much Korea had changed over the turbulent years. The summit will once again serve as an important occasion for Korea to surprise the world. Moreover, it will be a great chance to prepare Koreans to become global citizens,” Min said.

He will also kick off a donation campaign through which companies and public figures will donate a certain amount of money whenever people post positive comments on the Internet.

“I want to be remembered as a person who offered a way to communicate with the world and also showed the younger generation that they can contribute to various fields of society through the English language.”

sanghee@koreatimes.co.kr

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Written by recruiterinkorea

January 4, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] should just save their money and follow what this guy is advocating.  Of course we’d all be out of the job though if that went […]


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