[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Foreign teachers needed

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[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Foreign teachers needed

I agree with B.R. Myers’s column (“Get back to basics with English,” June 2), in which he argues that Koreans must work on their English grammar to become more competitive. He was right to point out that in learning the language, Koreans try to add tiles to the roof before strengthening the foundation. But he was not correct to say that too little grammar is taught in Korean high schools. The problem is that schools emphasize grammar too much, not too little.
The main reason for this is Korea’s unbalanced education system. The most important thing in Korean English classes is grammar. Teachers often try to cram grammatical formulas and laws into students’ heads without regard to whether they understand them. Many students thus become good only at “written grammar,” mostly practiced for tests. Because of this, many students have a hard time giving simple directions to foreigners in English, despite their high English scores.
What Korea can do now is create a new English program for Korean students. I suggest that foreign teachers be used, as they are in foreign language high schools. Those one or two hours of conversation will be a bigger help than one might think.
This will help students actually use what they learn during class. Also, adopting English as a second official language would create a motive for schools to brainstorm about better teaching methods, and will help many people become more familiar with using English.
We live in a world where the importance of English is being empahasized, making the language crucial to survival. Better English skill will help Koreans maximize their passion, intelligence and adaptability, and help them become the key leaders of the future.

by Kim Yae-eun
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