Foreign Teachers become propaganda tools in exchange for trip to Dokdo

BEFORE YOU READ THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE BE REMINDED THAT I TEACH IN GANGWONDO AND ALSO KNOW I ALMOST WENT TO THIS AS I DID INQUIRE WITH MY CO-TEACHER… Glad I opted against it…
 
On September 21, Yonhap reported (in an article with “Dokdo is Korean land” in the title) that members of the TaLK program in Gangwon-do would be going on a trip to Ulleungdo and Dokdo, because “Letting foreigners who live in Korea and have an interest in Korea know about Dokdo is very important.” TaLK stands for ‘Teach and Learn in Korea’ and allows foreign university students (who have not graduated) to come to Korea and teach English in rural schools for less money than NSETs make. The idea was to attract ethnic Koreans from abroad, though with all the talk of ‘unqualified foreign teachers’ that gets bandied about (such as Newsis reporting last week that “4 out of 10 native speaking English assistant teachers are unqualified”), allowing non-graduates to teach here is not particularly consistent.

These kinds of trips to Dokdo for foreign teachers are nothing new; Brian linked to an account of a late 2008 trip and wondered, what with all the propaganda they are both subject to and made to become the subjects of, why anyone would want to go. One answer, perhaps, might be the free trip to Ulleungdo. I posted photos of Ulleungdo to accompany this report about a 2011 trip for NSETs to Dokdo (made to promote a “correct understanding” of the islets). Such visits tend to require that the teachers write essays about their experience, however, and the use to which essays will be put is made clear in this article about a similar trip earlier this year:

Gyeongsangbuk-do Dokdo policy head Heo Chun-jeong said, “Directly introducing foreign teachers who understand Korean culture and history to Dokdo is meaningful and important.” “I want these visits by native speakers to spread continuously in the future.”

Gyeongsangbuk-do plans to have the foreign teachers who participated in this publish the story of their visit to Dokdo as essays, distribute them among related organizations and post them on the ‘Cyber Dokdo’ homepage for use as promotional material.

They can’t really make it clearer than that, can they? There are other ways to encourage the production of such propaganda as well.

An article written after the most recent trip, titled “Confirming that Dokdo is ROK territory,” reports that about 40 Teach and Learn in Korea (TaLK) teachers went on a historical and cultural visit to Ulleungdo and Dokdo from the 24th to 26th, “ahead of the nation/race’s holiday, Chuseok.” The trip was meant to give them a chance to “take in the special and beautiful landscape of Ulleungdo and experience its unique island culture.” The article includes this photo:

 It gets worse, however:

In particular, they visited the Dokdo museum and saw materials and literature from Korea and abroad attesting to Dokdo being ROK territory, and they plan to remake “Gangnam Style,” which has attracted attention worldwide, into “Dokdo Style,” and upload the video to Youtube soon.

Yes, Satan help us all, they did actually shoot a “Dokdo Style” video, and unlike this one or this one or this one (which may or may not be related to VANK’s new cyber campaign) or the one with Dangun, founder of the Korean race, it was actually shot on Dokdo. Here’s the description of the teaser for it:

42 TaLK Scholars from Gangwon Province in South Korea traveled to Dokdo Island on September 25, 2012. After a difficult boat ride, these English teachers became a part of the 1% of Korean residents who have stepped foot on the island. To make the moment even more memorable, we danced to the now viral Gangnam Style as the first group ever to successfully do so on Dokdo Island.

 

READ THE REST HERE!

Advertisements
Previous Post
Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. tg

     /  10/14/2012

    Just goes to show you-ALL THAT SHINES IS NOT GOLD (meaning thinking the trip was
    getting something for free).

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: