English Education Specialist talks of right attitudes toward oneself
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English Education Specialist talks of right attitudes toward oneself
  • Oh Yoon & Ahn In-kyeong
  • 승인 2012.11.26 10:47
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E. Bo-young (’88, English Education) speaks of life and personal principles. Photo by Kahng Sun-woo.

She would always help her classmates with English, and her friends would tell her that she explained better than their English teachers. E. Bo-young (’88, English Education) already knew as a teenager that she had to be an English teacher.
After a series of successful radio shows and books, E. is now among the most popular English education specialists in Korea.
E. is the perfect educator, perhaps because she had such ability to relate to and empathize with learners. E.’s mother, who flew during the Korean War as an aviator, had struggled so hard learning English while studying in the United States. She knew how important English was and wanted E. to learn it well.
E. did learn the language, but not through an alphabet training or grammar teaching.
“I grew up watching AFKN (American Forces Korea Network) as a kid, and I was so absorbent when it came to English,” E. said “My mother would watch me watching those television shows, but she would never ask me if I got what they were saying on television. She would just let me be exposed to the language naturally.”
E. emphasizes the importance of knowing oneself well, talking about her experience in a part-time job as a meal coupon distributor during the 1985 World Judo Championship in Seoul
“To know yourself better, you have to experience a whole lot of different kinds of things,” E. said. “I wanted to make something out of my job for missing 15 days of university, so I started talking to the athletes, explaining to them the courses served for meals, where to go shopping and such.”
Soon word got around among the athletes that there was a kind Korean girl who spoke English.
“Then, I realized I was good at providing a service,” E. said. “Eventually, the experience meant more than just making up for missing 15 university days.”
E. says she was never a great business person, nor a good planner. She puts consistent efforts to be the most competent English professional.
E. had an older friend who had graduated from Ewha and was working at MBC (Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation), and she approached E. and asked her to audition for a position as host of a new radio program starting in 1988 for teaching English to taxi drivers.
“I went to the audition without knowing it was such a big program, and I thought it would just require reading a few lines from the script,” E. said. “The producers were surprised to see such a young girl audition, and they asked me to come up with a 10-minute talk using the phrase, ‘Where to, sir? It only took me 30 minutes to come up with the script, and I nailed it. I used to spend a lot of time making up speeches and talking to myself before a mirror in English as practice, and that day, the practice helped me get the position.”
Her preparedness helped her snatch opportunities whenever she encountered them, but she had never taken any of her accomplishments for granted.
“There are stacks of unknown writers’ manuscripts on the floor around the reception desk at  publishing companies, waiting to be published by the publisher,” E. said.
Many of her books are bestsellers, but knowing the reality of the publishing industry, she always starts from her first resolution every time she writes a new book.
“‘Keep your feet on the ground, keep reaching for the stars,’” E. said. “This is an expression by my favorite American Disc Jockey, Casey Kasem, and I think it describes what I believe. I never think that I deserve something, so I always try my best to reach for the stars, with my feet on the ground.”


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