North Korea Goldmine for ESL

Any
day now the
Dowbrigade may be looking for a new job as far off the beaten track as
possible.  We are keeping our eyes, and our options, open. The
following article makes North Korea sound like a promising possibility
– and that Kim looks like a real fun guy….

For decades after the 1950-53 Korean War, North Korea’s
government deemed English a language of the enemy and banned it almost
entirely.

Now, years after the rest of Asia went through a craze for learning
English, North Korea has discovered the utility of the lingua franca
of international
affairs. But the pursuit of proficiency has been complicated by the
reclusive regime’s fear of opening the floodgates to Western influences.

Almost all English-language books, newspapers, advertisements,
movies, and songs are forbidden. Even T-shirts with English slogans are
not allowed. There are few native speakers available to serve as instructors.

‘There is a big drive now for learning and speaking
English. The Ministry of Education is really trying to promote it," said
the expatriate, who asked not to be quoted by name because of the North
Korean regime’s sensitivity about news coverage.

The biggest complaints of English students were the lack of native speakers
and the dearth of English-language materials.

Joo Song Ha, a former North Korean high school teacher who defected and
is a journalist in Seoul, the South Korean capital, said: ”Basically
what you’ll get is a teacher who doesn’t really speak English reading
from a textbook with pronunciation so bad that nobody could possibly
understand it."

from the Los
Angeles Times

This entry was posted in ESL Links. Bookmark the permalink.