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360. The Contributor of English Education in KNU

Lee, Yu-jeang 기자2015.11.24 20:47:45


Professor Andrew Finch has written many books related to English education for non-native speakers, including Freshman English 1 and 2, published by KNU Press. He served as a professor in the Department of English Education at Kyungpook National University (KNU) for fourteen years, until he retired in August, 2015. Up to this year, he has donated 50 million won to KNU. He is one of the English advisers of The KNU Times.


Book Writing

Q1. I have seen on the finchpark.com that you have written many English education related books. What motivated you to write those books?

A1. After I first came to Korea in 1989, I started teaching in Andong National University, where the students have been through middle school and high school learning English. However, what I found was there were no real books for these students. All the books came from America at that time, and they were truly for American students. So I tried to find all the best activities I could, and then wrote my own activities that would really help them. My aim was to help Korean students to speak English properly, since I thought that up to that time, no one had really looked at their problems. That was my goal.

Q2. If you write another English textbook, what kind of book would you want to write? 

A2. I would like to write a book for Korean students. Perhaps it would be a book to help students study English, not just memorizing, but using learning strategies. I would really like to show Korean students how they can teach themselves and take the lead when studying because they are really diligent. However, unfortunately, they are not 100% effective, even though they work very hard. So I want to help their study to be more effective.


English Education in Korea

Q3. You have written many English textbooks and many Korean students are using them. What do you think about English education in Korea?

A3. During my stay in Korea, Korean English education has improved. When the new freshmen come to KNU each March, their English ability gets better every year. Therefore, I am very hopeful that English education is constantly improving. I was very sad when the National English Achievement Test (NEAT) was canceled. I expected it to help Korean students to improve their English skills. Korean students are really good at reading, and now we need to move that focus into speaking and writing.

Q4. Koreans don’t use English in their everyday life. How could they improve their English skills without going abroad? 

A4. First, going abroad is not a necessity in learning English. You can improve your English ability by working hard to teach yourself. Second, many Koreans already know a lot of English words even though they do not use English. They use English words every day in Konglish. These days we are moving into world English, and Konglish is one of the world Englishes like Chinglish and Japlish. Finally, Koreans should use English a lot in their daily life as if it were one of the official languages of Korea. I think Koreans can do this because when I go to Europe, to Germany or Holland, everyone speaks about three languages. There is no problem for them, so I think Koreans can speak three languages as well.


Personal Life and Advices

Q5. I have heard you changed your major after you came to Korea. What kind of events made you to come to Korea and change your major?

A5. My original major was 20th century music composition, not English education. While I was in England, my number one hobby was baduk. I read all of the books about baduk in England and went to all the baduk competitions in England, but I did not fully improve, only reaching 5 geup. Therefore, I came to Korea to improve my baduk skills because Korea had the best baduk players in the world at that time, like Cho Hun-hyeon, Lee Chang-ho and Seo Bong-su. It was fantastic and wonderful. While I was playing and studying baduk, I started teaching English and found out more and more about English education. After that, I decided to change my major to English education. I did a master’s degree (M.Ed) and Ph. D. in Manchester University based on my research in Andong National University.

Q6. Do you have any advice to KNU students?

A6. I know it is difficult to get jobs, and every KNU student is worried about getting a job. Please remember, however, that we go to university to learn ‘thinking skills’ and to think about life. By developing your thinking skills, you improve your chances of getting a good job. However, university is more than job training. It is a chance to think about what life is, and what you really want to do in your life. You might find a job, but will you want to be doing this job ten years later? Do you want to spend your entire life doing this job? An educator in the 1970s said, “The most difficult thing that most people do every day is driving to work. After they arrive at their workplace, they do the same things all day long, and then they drive back home.” Is this what you want? When you pass high school and university, get a job and make a family, without thinking about what your life really is, what is left? What do you really want to do in your life?

Finally, thank you for inviting me to be interviewed for The KNU Times.

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