[LETTERS to the editor]Overhaul English education in schools

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[LETTERS to the editor]Overhaul English education in schools

What is wrong with English education in schools? It is important to improve the curriculum and replace textbooks which are outdated and not really suited to the needs of students in a time of rapid change. I think that we should get rid of English textbooks used in schools that have many mistakes and teach mainly written English. The curriculum focuses only on grammar and reading, and students do not really learn to speak the language. One survey showed that nearly half of Korean college students could barely communicate in English.

Students should learn English not only to get good test scores but also to understand native-English-speaking cultures. Communication in English ? or any language ? is achieved not by simply learning its grammatical and structural features but by understanding native speakers’ cultures and customs.

Until now, [Korean] students have studied English by memorizing grammar rules only for reading. English has to be taught with a practical, conversational approach. Students should learn vocabulary in context, not just by translation.

Teachers are another important factor with a tremendous role in improving students’ overall English ability, and the government is planning extensive training programs for all teachers. I think this effort should start with improving the curriculum of English education departments in universities. I hope the education ministry steps up its efforts to change the curriculum and textbooks for English classes.

Kim Dong-taek, student, Buwon High School
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