Robert Dickey


KOTESOL Daejeon-Chungcheong 2012 Annual Autumn Conference

November 24, 2012

Korean Contexts and Korean Students:

Better Understanding makes Better Teaching and Better Learning

Featured Presentation 

Perceptions while working with Koreans' English

(It's not just Konglish!)

Rob Dickey

Keimyung University


We take students as we get them. They are not just blank slates (c.f., "tabula rasa"). The youngest children in Korea are aware of at least some so-called "English" words.  Even in small-town Korea, Koreans encounter foreign words on a daily basis. As teachers of English, how do we deal with this?

I confess: in my early years as a teacher I said to students "that's not English"... only to later discover it was perfectly good English, just not the English I knew.  And who decides what is English, anyways?  How do we treat loanwords?

This presentation is Not about World Englishes, English testing, or the history of English.  Instead we will explore learners' and teachers' perceptions of English and the types of English we encounter in Korea. Part of that is the question of Korean-ized English, and Konglish (whatever these two words mean). Before correcting learner "errors" we must decide what English is "valid" -- the arguments for more globalized forms of English, particularly outside of the so-called inner-circle of norm-setting native speakers, grow louder and more specific. At what point does English lose its Englishness? Does it matter if the English will or won't be used in particular overseas contexts?

The choices we make here impact what and how we teach English. This presentation reviews many of the major discussions concerning Konglish and Korean-English (by whichever names), presents a number of terms for consideration, and invites the audience to assist in conceptualizing the issue further through specific examples.



Rob Dickey has been teaching (and learning) English in Korea since 1994. Prof. Dickey is from the USA, and holds higher degrees in Law and Public Administration, but also obtained the CTEFLA in England as part of his English language awareness and TESOL preparations. Rob has completed the coursework for a Masters in English Education at Korea Maritime University, and served as president of KOTESOL 2001-2002. His research interests include teaching pronunciation, content-based language learning, and task-based instruction, as well as cross-cultural issues. He teacher in the department of Public Administration at Keimyung University in Daegu.


Cell:  010-2272-0968   (don’t be shy!)