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What is he saying?The importance of lectures in English
  • Seo Yong-geun, Lee Seon-ah
  • 승인 2005.09.27 03:24
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  "It's time to emphasize glocal more than global," said Hong Gi-sam, the President of Dongguk University (DU). The word glocal is a combination of global with localization. Glocal implies having a global mind and global language, which is English. To have a global sense, Donggukians need English proficiency. One of the ways to improve their proficiency is by taking classes lectured in English.  Let's check the situation of DU's English classes ................................................................................................Editorial
Part 1.
  Dongguk University (DU) will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2006. This upcoming anniversary will focus on its vision and the goal is to educate students that can be leaders in the 21st century. Digitalization, networking, and globalization are central to this goal and vision. They require using English.
  Other universities are expanding the percentage of classes lectured in English excluding lectures of English Communication and Practical English. Why are they doing that? After taking classes in English in Korean universities, the students are able to attend English course in any university in the world that uses only English.
  "Nowadays customs and trade barriers are disappearing. So we can't survive without a global mind. Korea University (KU)'s English program is well developed because they have been active since 1996. Although we started relatively late, the President wanted to expand classes in English," said Cho Won-saeng, the office chief of the Academic Affairs Office of the Registrar.
  However, DU's English classes are not very active. Only 15 classes (0.73% of all classes) out of 1,919 classes were lectured in English during the Spring semester and this Fall semester has only 30 classes (1.52% of all lectures) available.
  By giving many benefits to professors, the School Authority (SA) increases the numbers of classes lectured in English. Teachers who lecture in English will be paid twice.
  "DU started to run classes in English four years ago, and English lectures were revitalized last semester. We plan to have a workshop for those who have no confidence in their English skills so that they will have no fear of using the language. We also have added lectures in English to the curriculum. If students don't take these courses they won't graduate," said Park Hyun-suk, a staff member of the Academic Affairs Office of the Registrar.
  The plans for the English program are not yet decided except for the pay scale. "I know that we have to hold a conference about the program. Then the inexperienced professors can get advice from the experienced professor about how to better teach English. We work sequentially as work piles up. By doing the work sequentially, we will be prepared for the conference," said Park Sei-hun, a Section Chief of Center for Teaching & Learning Administration Support Team.
Part 2.
  Many universities have increased the number of classes lectured in English. As you can see from above, DU's English class rates or efforts are lower than the others. Let's compare DU with Korea Univ. (KU), Yonsei Univ. (YU), Handong Univ. (HU), Konkuk Univ. (KKU) and Chung-ang Univ (CU), all of which are better prepared than DU.
  Most well-developed universities such as KU pay professors who teach in English three times more than those who lecture in Korean. “For example, an  instructor teaching in Korean is paid 23,700 won per hour, but one who teaches in English is paid 78,800 won per hour,” said Kim Ji-hyun from Academic Support. And instructors employed from September 2003 have to lecture in English. Moreover students who entered the school from 2004 have to take five lectures in English in order to graduate.
  The reason why KU emphasizes lectures in English is because of its goal to be ‘Global KU.' They are stressing the global policy and English-lectured classes are needed in globalized world. After all, they have been preparing since 1995. More than 20% of lectures in the first semester this year were in English, and it will increase to 30% in the second semester.
 The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) in KU encourages professors to lecture in English. Its programs help instructors lecture in English. Professors learn tips on how to teach in English from native speakers in the Coaching Program. And the Luncheon Program gives Korean profs. the chance to share their experiences of teaching in English during lunch-time conversations with the native speakers,” said Park Hye-sook of the CTL. The Luncheon Program started as a way of counselling in the second semester of 2003. “Round Table Program was introduced to give advice through meetings with various professors,” added Park. In addition, there are many programs such as Micro-teaching and Feedback for professors to help them with their lecturing.
  YU's instructors are making every effort to have YU rated as one of the top 100 universities in the world. Therefore, they do their best as instructors and for their students. Also, when professors lecture in English at YU, they receive more pay and their chances of advancing are much higher than those lecturing in Korean.
 “In fact, many more young professors participate its program than older ones, so YU supports it eagerly,” said Jung Kwang-su, from Academic Affairs. Currently 6.5% of classes are lectured in English, and they will increase to 30% by 2007.
  “We have made every effort to reduce students' heavy burden,” stressed Jung. For example, they proposed keeping the English classes open even if the number of students are too low. Also, the teacher will be allowed to grade students freely, without interference.
  At Handong, a new school, English lectures work well. There are many foreign professors and HU makes full use of them. Students have to complete all of their major courses in IT, Managements and Economics and UIL's courses, up to 33 credits in English. HU is maintaining its English lecture from 23 to 25 percent while they accept foreign professors and students. However, many Korean professors at HU get paid 1.5 times more than the foreign professors.
  Also their classes' abolition standards are below 15 students, so curriculums don't abolish easily. Since the year 2000 they have persevered plans. Even though the instructor's incentives are lower than at other universities, HU makes sure that the teachers do classes in English.. “HU was opened in 1995 and has emphasized education in English since 2000. For five years we have expanded these curriculums,” said Park Seong-ho from Academic Affairs.
  One school has a different opinion concerned with incentives about classes lectured in English. This school is Konkuk University. "Interactional teaching and studying in English is natural among professors and students in the English department. Why do you think that this is surprising?" said Ko Soo-young, from Academic Support. They don’t receive applications for lectures in English from the English department. “Though, only non-linguistics departments and elective courses’ professors apply for their curriculum lectured in English.” In addition, the English department's lectures in English are nearly 50%.
  If students think that the class they took didn't use enough English, they can give a low evaluation of that class.
  KKU's president has been announcing the importance of English classes without any support for the professors.  But amazingly the outcome of this situation is successful. This is because the professors and instructors teach in English with enthusiasm and because the students participate. So, KKU does not need any support.
  Even if there were not any regulations for lecturing in English, the President of KKU has been active about this for the last five years ago.
  As for CU, they give students the option of taking  lectures in English or not. "We promote the English lecture program and also try to inform students by utilizing our home page," said Jang Choong-hwa from Academic Affairs. “Before the new semester starts, professors lecturing in English put their study plans in English on the school web site. A study plan signifies that it is a class lectured in English so that students can choose their lectures freely among them,” said Jang.

Part 3.
  During the 2004-05 academic year, only ten professors among 314 professors in DU gave lectures in English. The Post interviewed three professors who have been lecturing major classes in English. Prof. Kwak Moon-Kyu, Prof. Lee Yong-Han, and Prof. Lee Sung-Ryang shared some of their thoughts and opinions about their classes. They talked about why major classes should be lectured in English in DU, the way they lecture their classes, and the responses from the students who took their classes.
  Prof. Kwak Moon-Kyu is a professor in the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering. He has had eight years experience lecturing in English. His propose to teach in English is to help students improve their English ability  so that they can be comfortable using it. All the students who took his classes were Korean, and no one had any prior experience taking major classes in English. Because studying English textbooks is hard, he makes teaching notes that are easy for the students to better understand the subject. He sometimes has to mix Korean and English during class when students have a hard time understanding. However, not many students make diligent efforts nor show enthusiasm to study.  The students act this way because the subject itself is hard. Studying it in Korean is also difficult. Professor Kwak thinks that students who have the opportunity to take their major classes in English should do so because studying their major and studying English language separately is neither effective nor efficient. Studying their major classes in English will help them look for a job after they graduate.
  Prof. Lee Yong-Han is a professor in the Dept. of Information System Technology. He had several experiences to lecture in English when he was in the United States. Because of his experiences, DU strongly recommended that he lecture in English. However, none of the students in his classes had experienced English lectures. At first he tried to do everything in English, but since the students had a hard time understanding him, he explained the main points in Korean fifteen minutes before the end of class. And for the exams he put some Korean explanations beside the test question so that the students could understand and solve the questions faster. There was not very much interaction between the professor and the students. From the feedback at the end of the 1st semester of this year, only 20% of his students were satisfied with the class.  The other students responded that the school should avoid lectures in English for their major classes. Those students desired to take elective classes in English instead. Professor Lee thinks that the school is doing a good job to increase the number of classes taught in English. He also thinks that hiring professors from overseas is also a good idea.
  A high number of students in the Science and Engineering Departments were less eager and showed less enthusiasm for major classes in English. The subjects themselves are hard enough in Korean, to say nothing of in English.. But the students from the Dept. of International English Relations are different.  At first they felt that the classes were so difficult that they avoided taking those classes. Gradually the students began to participate.
  Prof. Lee Sung-Ryang is a professor in the Dept. of International Relations. He has lectured in English for six years. He interacts very much with his students, and he thinks that interaction is important because it activates the students and makes them participate in his class. He keeps his students active by having them read English magazine and newspaper articles, making them write short descriptions about the articles and having them give short presentations about the articles in English. His main focus is to make his students think. After hearing the students thoughts, Professor Lee explains and gives his students his background knowledge. He does not think that interaction goes well in every major class. For example, engineering classes are very stiff and formal compared to business or economics classes. Thus the students feel bored and are less interested.
  DU has announced that it plans to become one of the top schools in the 21st century. Therefore, it is focusing on increasing the number of classes lectured in English and giving incentives to those who lecture in English.
Part 4.
  As has been noted, English lectures are not without problems. They are closely related with SA, professors, and students. No one can solve those problems without the other's support. They need to change their positions. Students must end their fear about lectures in English and challenge. When students were asked 'What is the  key of lectures in English?' Professor's ability was the answer given by 58% of them. But the success is also due to students. Students must change their minds and accept the challenge.
  And the SA hasn't given much support for English classes yet, except for an increase of pay. The SA doesn't want to enforce a one-sided agenda but to cooperate together. Through this cooperation, professors and students can ease the burden of English and meet the challenge.
  Some professor have no experience with lecturing in English. The reeducation for those professor will improve the quality of classes in English and ease to start the lecture. And it is a good way to increase the elective courses in English which less budget  than major class. For example, the students of Faculty of Management need the business English related to this major. Opening this kind of class will help students really improve their English because it will help them loose their fear of classes in English.
  When the professors attend the classes in English, they prepare for more than classes in Korean. Besides they and are hard to run the classes by seizing the students' interest. Interaction is the efficient way to solve this problem. By speaking to students the professor can check their levels and know what they don't understand it.
 When it comes to making decisions and solving problems, you have to discuss and negotiate with one branch office and then the other. But the SA, professors and students do not talk enough. Although it takes a long time to communicate and share information with others, this is how we can solve problems quickly and more efficiently. Don't hesitate and do it now!

 

Seo Yong-geun, Lee Seon-ah  komet99@dgu.edu

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