Donducheon English Camp students visit Casey
February 3, 2009
CASEY GARRISON - Students, teachers and Donducheon Middle School officials came to Casey Jan. 9 for a day of study and play to wrap up their "Dream English Camp."
More than 40 students, nine teachers and four school officials gathered in the Casey United Services Organization building to begin the day. They continued with English language tutoring from 15 Soldiers of 1-72nd Armor and 15 Soldiers of 2-9 Infantry in the Casey Digital Conference
"I overheard my Sgt. 1st Class talking about volunteering to teach the middle school children from Dongducheon so I volunteered," said Pvt. Alexander Burbank.
"I previously volunteered to teach elementary students on Saturdays, so I figured this was another good opportunity to volunteer."
The children already speak very good English, Burbank said, so I taught them conversational English to improve their vocabulary.
Teachers found the children could read the materials offered in the class and spent the time in class getting to know them. Classroom study lasted for 90 minutes. After class, they toured the Camp Hovey Community Activity Center and Library, and USAG-Casey Carey Fitness Center and
"Our students study English in school, but they have no time for practical use in conversation," said Mija Kang, Dongducheon Middle School vice principal. "Every vacation our school has this English language camp. The camp last six days and the teachers teach the students some basic
conversation before coming to USAGCasey."
After five days of practice with English conversation, the students get practical experience meeting with and learning from volunteer Soldiers on Casey, Kang explained.
"Our students are very shy to speak English," Kang said. "After this experience, they have a lot more confidence in speaking English with foreigners."
Korean students begin English studies in the fourth grade and continue throughout their school experience, Kang continued. Activities such as the Dream English Camp help the students polish their English skills.
"Our Korean English environment is different from others," Kang said. "For example, in India, and Singapore, their basic language is English. In Korea, we have English only in schools, and we do not speak English at home or in common everyday life. Our students must take every opportunity
to use their English language skills so they can become fluent."
Kang went on to explain even though Korean students continue English studies through college; it is still difficult for them to become fluent because of the lack of opportunities for daily use in conversation. Many parents of school age children enroll them in private English language academies to give them more opportunities to learn and polish conversation skills. For the public
school teacher, it is difficult to teach them all they need in the time allotted for class.
"It is a serious problem," Kang said. "Because there isn't time for using their English skills, opportunities such as those today will help the students gain confidence and polish their skills, and this should happen more often."
USAG-Casey hosts the one-day English language camps twice every year, said Pae, Tong Su, USAG-Casey community relations officer.
"The Dongducheon City public school system sponsors a six day English language camp," Pae said. "They began five days ago and today's visit is the final day dedicated to actual face-to-face experience with Soldiers to gain confidence and polish their speaking skills."
All funding is provided by the city of Dongducheon and USAG-Casey hosts the students as part of the Good Neighbor Program, Pae explained.
"The USO coordinated the day for the students and Soldiers," Pae said.
The children wound up the day in Casey Lanes and bowling for two hours before going home. When they arrived at the center they found something special.
"I learned the students were coming to Casey Lanes about three days ago," said Gerald Keener, Casey Lanes manager.
"I put together all my leftover Happy New Year hats and gave them to the students to wear while they are bowling."