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My primary job at Korea University is to prepare students for a learner centered educational environment and the world of academics in the medium of English since 40% of the courses at the University are English mediated. According to my experience, not only are my students having problems with the English language as a medium of academics but most of them have no idea that an essay has 3 main parts; introduction, main body and conclusion. In particular, they need to be taught the art of writing from the beginning stage. What is more, they are rather reluctant to take active roles in activities that require them to take the initiative. Putting forth a similar view, Hye-Yeon Lim states that “commonly, Korean students tend not to speak much in class, appear reserved, rarely ask questions, and do not express opinions. … These behaviors can be taken by teachers as signs of disinterest or lack of motivation”(Lim, 2003). That is to say, Korean students tend to come across as being passive to the American professor unversed in Korean culture. According to Lim, one might even expect that the average American professor would likely give these ‘passive’ students lower evaluation scores as a result of their apparent lack of classroom involvement. Keeping this in mind, there should be little wonder why Samuel Kim’s findings so obviously depict that Korean students do comparatively poorly in American universities. After all, American universities do require high levels of student initiative in and out of the classroom and more importantly since essay writing is considered to be such an integral part of American university education, Korean students’ lack of knowledge of the acceptable academic writing techniques may cause them to fall even lower on their course assessments. What is more, at American universities there are few academic English classes, such as the ones I teach, wherein students are prepared for university life that is so heavily reliant on the use of the above mentioned academic skills in the medium of English.


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