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The future of ESL in Korea
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bobbybigfoot



Joined: 05 May 2007
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:41 am    Post subject: The future of ESL in Korea Reply with quote

Do we have another 5 years of employment left? 10? 25?

How long before the English jig is up?

Honest answers please. I have a decision to make about my future. And I'm starting to think we are seeing the beginning of the end in Korea.
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crossmr



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Location: Hwayangdong, Seoul

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "end" has been coming for over 100 years. It's unlikely to come anytime soon.
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Died By Bear



Joined: 13 Jul 2010
Location: On the big lake they call Gitche Gumee

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back in '95 all the experienced teachers kept telling me that the '5 year window' of making serious money *50,000 won/hour* was over. Very Happy

It wasn't.
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Troglodyte



Joined: 06 Dec 2009

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There definitely aren't as many jobs here now as there were 10 years ago, but there are still plenty and there will probably be more when the economy "back home" improves. I don't see a major decline in the Korean EFL industry in the next few years. But even if it doest start to dry up for some reason (who knows, maybe those robot teachers really will replace us) the EFL industry in some other Asian countries seems to be increasing.
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Provence



Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Died By Bear wrote:
Back in '95 all the experienced teachers kept telling me that the '5 year window' of making serious money *50,000 won/hour* was over. Very Happy

It wasn't.


Except 50,000 an hour in 95 was a lot more than it is now. Not just in regards to exchange rates but the cost living has increased since then as well. Although I suppose that could be a direct reflection of the exchange rates.
Itís still good but defiantly not the same as it was in 95.

http://moneycentral.msn.com/investor/charts/chartdl.aspx?Symbol=%2fKRWUSD&ShowChtBt=Refresh+Chart&DateRangeForm=1&C9=2&ComparisonsForm=1&CE=0&DisplayForm=1&D4=1&D5=0&D3=0&ViewType=0&CP=0&PT=11
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misher



Joined: 14 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I BELIEVE somewhere between 2020 and 2025 we will still see NET's at universities and teaching specialized things like business English, test prep etc. They will however be insanely qualified with relevant graduate education, certificates and years of experience. The majority of them will be Kyopos or individuals married to Korean nationals.

All of the public school and hagwon gigs teaching kids I believe will be nowhere near what it is now. Jobs will increasingly become more competitive to get in general and Koreans that speak English more than adequate enough will replace the 4 year BA E-2 holder. Parents will be tightening their bootstraps and will probably not care if their kid's teacher is a Korean that spent 4 years in the USA at a university. Hagwons can also pay Korean teachers a lot less and not have to deal with cultural differences that an entitled 25 year old know it all north american who majored in political science brings to the table.

I believe that unless you upgrade your qualifications and your experience and get into the uni mix NOW you will be screwed. That is unless picking up your bags and going to a polluted area of China is ok with you. I know for one it isn't with me.
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Provence



Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

misher wrote:
I believe that unless you upgrade your qualifications and your experience and get into the uni mix NOW you will be screwed. That is unless picking up your bags and going to a polluted area of China is ok with you. I know for one it isn't with me.


You mean like Korea was not too long ago.
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Provence



Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is just my opinion but I think the ESL industry in Korea is becoming the way Japan was in the 90s (more modern living and working environment for foreigners with many western commodities while becoming increasingly more expensive) and China is the new Korea (cheap cost of living, increasing wages, and easy employment). And since Japan's ESL industry is slowly disappearing I assume Korea will follow in a decade or two.
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WadRUG'naDoo



Joined: 15 Jun 2010
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Provence wrote:
This is just my opinion but I think the ESL industry in Korea is becoming the way Japan was in the 90s (more modern living and working environment for foreigners with many western commodities while becoming increasingly more expensive) and China is the new Korea (cheap cost of living, increasing wages, and easy employment). And since Japan's ESL industry is slowly disappearing I assume Korea will follow in a decade or two.


Will actually disappear quicker than that with the world becoming more global due to technology.

Also, you don't need many skills to follow a curriculum. The better the curriculum and facilities an educational institute has to offer, the less qualified the teachers need to be. To a certain extent.
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Troglodyte



Joined: 06 Dec 2009

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

misher wrote:

All of the public school and hagwon gigs teaching kids I believe will be nowhere near what it is now. Jobs will increasingly become more competitive to get in general and Koreans that speak English more than adequate enough will replace the 4 year BA E-2 holder. Parents will be tightening their bootstraps and will probably not care if their kid's teacher is a Korean that spent 4 years in the USA at a university. Hagwons can also pay Korean teachers a lot less and not have to deal with cultural differences that an entitled 25 year old know it all north american who majored in political science brings to the table.


Who in their right mind would be competing for a hogwon job? The vast majority of people who take these jobs are recent university graduates who want to travel a little. These aren't high profile career jobs that we're talking about. I think that people will compete for jobs at McDonald's before they compete for hogwon jobs.
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Troglodyte



Joined: 06 Dec 2009

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WadRUG'naDoo wrote:
Provence wrote:
This is just my opinion but I think the ESL industry in Korea is becoming the way Japan was in the 90s (more modern living and working environment for foreigners with many western commodities while becoming increasingly more expensive) and China is the new Korea (cheap cost of living, increasing wages, and easy employment). And since Japan's ESL industry is slowly disappearing I assume Korea will follow in a decade or two.


Will actually disappear quicker than that with the world becoming more global due to technology.

Also, you don't need many skills to follow a curriculum. The better the curriculum and facilities an educational institute has to offer, the less qualified the teachers need to be. To a certain extent.


That's a predominantly Asian phenomenon because they like the rote memorization, exact procedure, A to B linear progress type learning. And look at where it's gotten them. You can't just come up with one fixed curriculum and expect that it will work for everyone. Until Korea makes some huge changes to the education system (or at least the foreign language part of it) they're going to keep on needing foreign teachers. When they change their methodology, they may start producing more fluent students who can go on to teach other Koreans.
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some waygug-in



Joined: 25 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem with that idea is that just because someone becomes fluent or near fluent in English does not mean they will be a good teacher or even want to be. Many will prefer to work in business or overseas.

I've worked with several co-teachers at various levels of fluency and I have to say some of the worst teachers were at either end of the scale.

Meaning, some very fluent but had no clue how to teach, and some had no understanding of what they were trying to teach.

The best ones were somewhere in the middle.
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sirius black



Joined: 04 Jun 2010

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As long as the korean college entrance examinations have an engish component there will ALWAYS be a need for a large number of english teachers . I think Japan (which does have a language component on their test) is a bit of apples and oranges because their economy has been in stagnation for a long time.

Who does the teaching of english may change but the fact is the korean parent mindset will have to change for it to be anything other than a native speaker who looks 'wayguk' for it to change.

You read posts here just about everyday that 'white, young, attracitve female and blond' is the most desirable. So, wouldn't that view have to change for them to replace the 'standard'? Its firmly ingrained from what we see here.

Then there are all the underserved areas. Areas that can't get anyone to live and work there. The western economy, specifically the USA came near total collapse. The job market in America is as bad as anyone can remember. Of course there will be people willing to come out of their comfort zone and go to Korea and other places for work, just like you have people who grew up their whole life in certain areas (Michigan, Ohio)and wanted to live and work there after college who are moving to other parts of the states because the economy in their city, state or region is bad.

When or if the economy picks up the applicants will dry up. Throw in the recent N. Korea flare ups and that makes it even less likely people will want to come here in a good or even decent economy.

Not to mention their further reducing the pool with the current requirements that will ONLY increase. I've met a couple new teachers who said they were >>this close<< to saying 'fahgetaboutit' because of not only the requirements but the costs which are not insignificant to a jobless recent grad.

I'd also like to see a study on the number of people who either don't complete their first year contract or leave as soon as its done, never to return. There's no wonder why schools are worried about the first few months. For someone who has never left America, Canada or South Africa and then having to deal with the vast cultural issues we face here, I wouldn't be surprised if that number is higher than we all think.

Korean parents pay top dollar for hogwons with the right 'face' there. I don't see that changing. The ones that pay less for someone that doesn't fit the bill is doing so out of financial need sometimes. If their finances get better so will their hogwon.

Markets change. China has exploded and will only get an increased apetite for more teachers. As their middle class grows so will their need to learn english. Vietnam, barely a blip on the ESL market has now become very competitive.

Its always wise to make your resume better with certifications, additional degrees and such but I am not buying the argument that the future looks bleak for teaching english in Korea. I'd say the opposite if anything.
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redaxe



Joined: 01 Dec 2008

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The future of ESL in Korea is that if you stay in Korea teaching ESL too long you will end up like asmith. That guy's blog is so depressing...
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bobbybigfoot



Joined: 05 May 2007
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sirius black wrote:
but I am not buying the argument that the future looks bleak for teaching english in Korea. I'd say the opposite if anything.


Really? You'd say the opposite. That the ESL job market will only get better over time? Question
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