The special program driven by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and Canada’s educational organizations, including the Peer International Education Alliance, was held from July 25 to Aug. 12 at Hallym University in Chuncheon, the lakeside city of Gangwon Province.
“At the program’s beginning, I was not very good at making myself understood in English, but as the program proceeded, I could see much improvement in my language command, helped by foreign teachers, who were very friendly and professional,” Choi Ye-in, first grader of Dongmyeong Middle School said during an interview.
|Canadian teacher Domenico Grace conducts an English class for elementary school students on Thursday. (The Korea Herald)|
The summer vacation program aims to provide the students in farming and fishing villages with equal educational opportunities and to enhance the country’s English education by inviting both domestic and foreign English teachers to attend, according to the Education Ministry.
The program also strives to bridge the educational gap between the poor and rich by inviting students from the underprivileged class, such as low-income or multiethnic families, before others.
One merit of this program lies in that it recruited foreign teachers who are particularly interested in Korean English education and who have a strong sense of public service as well, the Education Ministry explained.
Domenico Grande, a Canadian faculty member, said he got to know the program through Korean English teachers who had visited Canada for their English education training. Domenico himself taught at an English language institute in Korea from 2001-04. He recalled his old memories of playing gonggi, a Korean traditional game, with Korean students back then.
Domenico praised the operation of the program by Hallym University and the support of the Gangwondo Office of Education.
Before the program started, the Korean and Canadian teachers had gone thorough an intensive workshop session to boost inter-cultural understanding and to prepare the most efficient and effective curriculum of all.
They also held a series of meeting before and after each class to further develop highly customized teaching methods for Korean students in particular, Korea’s Education Ministry officials explained.
The summer program also provided the Korean teachers with chances to brush up on their pedagogic expertise through inter-cultural exchange and to come up with new teaching methods to apply in their classrooms.
“I really appreciate this program because chances are rare for us to meet or even work with teachers working outside Korea,” Lee Eui-jung, a Cheolwon Girls’ Junior High School teacher said.
Lee added that she felt lucky because she had a great opportunity in the first year as a teacher. “I am ready to make great use of the new teaching methods I have learned here,” she said.
The three-week education included not only in-class study but other activities including athletics and English musical performances. On Thursday, a day before the program’s closing ceremony, all participating students divided into nine groups staged such musicals as “Cats,” “Mama Mia,” “The Sound of Music,” and many others.
The Education Ministry said it plans to expand the education project in a procedural manner after analyzing the achievements and customers’ satisfaction of the 2011 program.
By Ro Ji-woong (email@example.com)