[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]English teacher fires back

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[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]English teacher fires back

I read your article “Seoul hears some biting foreign advice”(Dec. 5) with interest, but I wonder why you don’t publish the other side of the coin. As a teacher of adults for a number of years I would like to give you a few of the reasons that Korean adults are not good speakers of English.
They come late, leave early or are absent from class due to work commitments. They do no homework, nor do they study. Reasons given are work and home commitments and being too tired. They do not practice outside of class. Reasons range from no one to practice with (even though our teachers have offered to take phone calls on occasion to help them), embarrassment, lack of time or being too tired.
When asked why they want to learn English, most younger male students cite work-related reasons, but admit they have no personal incentive to do so. Quite a few students resent being “forced” to study English in order to obtain or keep a job and this resentment interferes with their ability to improve their fluency.
The inefficient method of English instruction in the school system produces children who have built-in problems of grammar and pronunciation and who are so tired of “studying” English that they literally switch off. As they get older, they become embarrassed at their years of English study while still being unable to speak or understand English.
If these problems were aired and addressed, things might start to improve. To blame it on teachers who, on the whole, put their heart into teaching adults who don’t try in return ― that is most unfair. As a teacher who really tries hard and puts in a lot of effort and after-hours assistance to my students, I resent the broad brush of complaints.

by Noeleen Liapis
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