The report contrasts with the country’s high demand for native speakers as tutors, hagwon instructors, and teachers at public schools and universities
By Kim Min-kyoung
Seoul-area elementary, middle, and high school students and their parents prefer capable Korean teachers of English over native speaker assistant instructors, a Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) study found.
The report released Sunday by the SMOE found 62.2% of 12,150 student parents and 53.7% of 28,761 students taking part in an online poll describing the most desirable type of English teacher as “a Korean teacher who has excellent English conversation skills and teaches effectively.” The rates were higher than the preference for native English speaker assistant instructors, which stood at 26.9% for parents and 29.7% for students.
Korean-taught classes outranked native speaker-taught classes in terms of interaction rates during class time and class participation. The percentage of English-language interaction with teachers stood at 34.7% for students in Korean-taught classes, compared to 31.93% for those in native speaker-taught classes.
Class participation rates were found to be 81.3% for Korean teachers and 76.9% for native speaker assistant teachers. The most frequently cited reason for lower participation in the native speaker classes was “inability to understand what the teacher is saying,” given by 42.1% of respondents.
In-depth interviews were also conducted with English teachers on the native speaker assistant instructors. Among the factors cited as strengths were the “new cultural experience” and encouragement of student curiosity and interest regarding English. But teachers also voiced negative opinions about the instructors’ individual qualifications and the cost of their employment relative to the learning benefits.
The SMOE said the survey rules showed high levels of satisfaction with the native speaker assistant instructors but indicated that students and their parents prefer capable Korean teachers “because speaking English well and teaching English well are two different things.”
“Based on effectiveness relative to cost, we will need to make effective use of capable Korean teachers of English,” the office added.
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