[Letter to the editor]A long-term view

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[Letter to the editor]A long-term view

I have lived in Busan through the administrations of three Korean presidents, and soon a fourth, and every one of them has stated how compulsory English needs to be. However, not one has taken a long-term view of English language development in South Korea. There are countless immersion programs being used around the world as in Australia, Canada and Europe, that work to overcome the non-cognate difficulties between languages.
Instead of seemingly endless half-measures offered by previous administrations, why hasn’t an immersion system been implemented here? For example, one of many possible solutions might include a “50-50 program” designed so students learn in both Korean and English, dividing their classroom time between the languages. Such a program could be developed over nine years, whereby beginning in elementary grade four let’s say, students could hone their skills and attain English proficiency without the added pressure of immediate results.
The key to success in English as a second language is directly dependent on the number of classroom hours the student is exposed to, and engaged in, the English language. There is no magic wand that will make children learn a second language.
Lee Myung-bak’s intentions are honorable, but isn’t it time for a program that will survive a presidential term for the betterment of a nation’s future?
John Thornton, Kyoungnam College of Information and Technology, Busan
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