A practicalities and experiences of being non-native english teachers in korea by sardor akramov. A student of

participants to an extent. This may be because they believed, as

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A Practicalities and experiences OF being NON 2-version

participants to an extent. This may be because they believed, as 
many of them stated, that their positions could not be completely 
escaped by any means; the title 'foreign teacher' in itself implies a 
perhaps inescapable Otherness. However, it could be argued that 
the particular Other that is the White foreign English teacher 
occupies a desirable position in the ethnic discourses of Korean 
society compared to other groups, much as it does in the 
discourses of other societies in Asia, such as Taiwan (Lan, 2011) 
and Japan (Appleby, 2013). As participants variously described it, 
they suffered only trifling discrimination, and/or were 
stereotyped in more positive, or less destructive ways than 
members of other minority groups, and enjoyed greater benefit of 
the doubt for their mistakes and predilections than they might 
have received had they been ethnically-Korean gyopos
(Cho, 2012; Redmond, 2014), while possibly also being more free 
from social obligation than the members of the Korean ethnic 
majority. , participants variously fought against and embraced 
their Otherness, because this put them in a position where in 
their lives possessed a ‘special shape’ (Hennig, 2010)
in two senses; they were special as foreigners from ‘richer 
countries’ (Nigel), and again as members of that group who had 
learned Korean and shown interest in Korean culture, contrary to 
expectations. Between the benefits of having acquired Korean 
and the privileges attached to being a White foreigner in Korea, all 

participants seemed to have found an agreeable space within the 
‘pre-given power structure’ (Hennig, 2010) of
Korean ethnic discourse. 

The results of this research highlight a number of discourses 
relating to White foreign teachers of English in Korea, as language 
learners and long-term foreign residents, contributing to the body 
of research on discourses of ethnicity and immigration in Korea, 
and complementing existing research on foreign English teachers
in Asia and theirdiscursive positioning as language educators 
(Appleby, 2013; Jeon, 2009). The discourses identified were as 
follows: foreign teachers generally cannot speak Korean; a 
teacher is worthy of respect for knowledge of Korean, because, by 
learning, they distinguish themselves from the perceived common 
behaviors of foreign teachers; even though a foreign teacher may 
learn Korean, an inextirpable (possibly ethnically determined) 
difference will continue to separate them from the Korean 
majority community as a whole; to be White is to occupy a 
position of relative privilege among ethnic groups in Korea. 
Further research on foreign teachers as Korean learners might be 
conducted to elaborate on these discourses. The sample size of 
this research being six individuals, all White and mostly male, a 
larger scale study on Korean-speaking foreign English teachers of 
varying ethnicities and with a greater proportion of women would 
likely reveal
clarifying details about the hierarchy of ethnicities (and perhaps 
genders) in Korea, the privilege of White teachers, the potential 
social gains that can be made by learning Korean despite 
disadvantage resulting from ethnic positioning, and what may not 
be gained even by learning. Also, as many participants suggested 
that in general younger Koreans were more comfortable 
interacting with them in Korean despite theirethnicity and older 

Koreans were more likely to behave in an awkward manner, 
conducting this study again after some years may yield different 
results in terms of participants experiences and challenges, and 
these differences might reflect changing attitudes towards 
foreigners in Korean society over time.Knowledge of the foreign 
teacher-related discourses of Korea may be of use to those 
bearing responsibility for the training and support of foreign 
teachers, such as school principals and managers, public school 
English program coordinators, teacher educators, and recruiters, 
as this knowledge may serve to inform advice given to foreign 
teachers about the experiences they have, or are likely to have, 
living in Korea, and the benefits and implications of learning 
Korean. The accounts of experiences and perspective contained 
within this research should also be of interest to foreign teachers 
themselves, asthey may provide clarifying perspective on the 
reader’s own lived experiences, as they did for the author. 
Though a case may be made about the lack of benefits to learning 
foreign languages like Korean for L1 English speakers in some 
situations (Dustmann, 2000; Gordon, 2012), advantages of 
learning go beyond the practical and economic upsides of 
communicative ability and extend to the creation of our selves 
(Foucault, 1985) as culturally open-minded
individuals, who may give and receive respect as a result of 
choosing to show interest, and thereby striving to bridge cultural, 
ethnic and community divides (Dustmann, 1996;
Wenger, 1998). Learning Korean may not presently be sufficient in 
itself to entirely overcome perceptions of foreign English 
teachers, but participants in this study believed that it was a 
worthwhile undertaking for the positive. Some ability in the 
Korean language may potentially aid in the development of 
greater mutual understanding between foreign
English teachers and Koreans, and contribute towards a modern 
Korean society ‘governed by mutual respect and freedom’ 

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