Friday, August 21, 2009

Let it All Out

Well I haven't had too many responses to my first podcast yet. I know what I composed was a little bit esoteric.

Moving on..

I recently spent some time in COEX and was at the Bandi bookstore. Whenever you go into the English part of a bookstore here in Korea you sometimes find yourself around people who are hunting down English speakers. In some cases you can spot these individuals and stay clear of them. But if you were like me and was engulfed in the Korean culture section then you were not on alert.

So as I was passing by the bookshelves a man said hello to me. I said "Hi" back but kept on walking. I didn't know if he was out to stalk me for an English lesson or what. Then he followed me, and I turned around to face him. In which case he introduced himself and asked about me. I am sure this all sounds like a very normal and congenial situation. But this guy was kind of odd and a little creepy. He wasn't Korean, but Asian American and apparently has been living in Korea for quite some time.

He told me how he works at a University. But the interesting part got to when he started ranting on about how new English teachers know nothing of the trade. He had a Master's in TESOL and other fancy titles behind him so he was, I guess, okay to talk as if he knew something.

I went along with it and let the guy get out what he needed to say, chiming in here and there with my tidbits of knowledge. His biggest complaint was the Korean education system and that it doesn't favor "Multiple Intelligence" learning. I agreed with him but he still felt it necessary to remind me over and over.

I tried to tell him that in some small way Korean education is changing but we probably won't see the full impact till later on. He still seemed skeptical. It was like a real live Dave's Esl forum gone wrong.

Finally, a pause came in the conversation and it seemed he had finished everything he had to say. I seized this opportunity to tell him I was meeting a friend and so got out of it.

I still wonder if he is in the bookstore looking for an English speaking person to spill his thoughts on to. I kind of hope that this guy has a handful of friends that he can talk to instead of bothering complete strangers. But in this country I think you end up doing what you think works and you go along with it.

As for me I do hope Korean education evolves more and allows for different types of learning, besides just rote memorization. We will see.


  1. I'm pretty sure I was corner by that guy for almost an hour in Kyobo a month or so ago. Did he tell you a story about how he asked a university student for directions and the kid couldn't answer?

    Me and a friend gave example after example of how we tried to incorporate student-based learning (I think that was the term he was bandying about) in the classroom, but he just stuck to his talking points.

  2. OMG! I think it is the same guy. So he has been hiding out in the Kyobo bookstore too. Somebody needs to get this guy some therapy or a talk group. Hopefully he wont go bananas.

  3. LOL.. I think we've all been hit up by the lone-bookstore whacko.

    but I loved:

    "was like a real live Dave's Esl forum gone wrong."


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