A conference held in Busan on May 14th, 2005 by Efl-Law.com.
Comments by posters on the conference:Edit
The conference was similar to the one I attended two years ago...some interesting guest speakers, a lot of book shilling, and one or two interesting research projects presented. I liked Rod Ellis's presentation and got some ideas for teaching my students from it, and plan to buy his book. Dr. Cathy Yi's research on pronounciation strategies by Korean high-level learners of English was also rather interesting.
My big disappointment was the advertised job board that did not materialize. Apparently there was someone running around with a file folder with info. on some universities who are looking for people, but these were never posted anywhere. Personally I think it was a bit irresponsible to advertise a job board, and then not follow through with it.
The EFL-Law forum didn't appear to have much structure as they originally planned. There was nothing noteworthy that I took out of there, other than EFL-Law guy's rundown of the paperwork involved if one wanted to get consent from their employer and the other employer, to teach privately. Plus the english lawyer(shawn or mark? Can't remember) and his explanation of legal process involving small claims court. And the guy from immigration showing a presentation that said that there were roughly 1000 illegal teachers in Korea, which was basically the same as him saying that they have absolutely no friggin idea how many are here, but we better use a low official estimate to appease the media. No follow-up answer from them on my question about how they came up with the 1000 figure(which was waived because I must have crossed the 'be considerate of the cultural implication when posing questions to Koreans'/'wear your muzzle tightly, yet comfortably' lecture that we got at the beginning of the forum), considering that in 2003, govt stats show that 2.5 million+ people entered this country on tourist visas(B2+C3 totals) and are free to slip away into the cracks of their society, not to mention that the MoJ also said that year that 80.1% of foreign workers in this country are illegal.
The union thing was brought up very lightly, then smacked down shortly thereafter. The guy from immigration and the very informative lawyer alluded to the fact that, technically, a union would be legal, but the Korean govt has gone on the record with the speakers that they would vehemently come down on any such thing. The english lawyer raised a very good point over why people care so much about forming a teacher's union and not expanding it to being a foreigner's union, which would then encompass foreign businessmen and lawyers, and therefore people who may have some tangible influence with govt and industry and knowledge on how to leverage it. But that all digressed back to viscious circle of esl discussion that we are in and have always been in. EFL-Law guy mentioned that his focus is going to be slowly moving away from his site and towards a new business venture that he is taking on elsewhere in the world.
In short, pretty much all the key people in the industry who would have a real, legit shot at leading and drafting an informed and solid approach at forming a union, was in that room and it was decidedly kaiboshed on the grounds that the govt wouldn't stand for it, so much so that going to court to enforce that right would be a total waste of money and time. The only solution that came out of it was forming a more broader support center, along the lines of the Seoul Help Center for Foreigners, but funding is the obvious issue there.