2017-11-10 “English is my forever homework”

Catching up on recent activities…

Individual Education Plans

When refugees join TNKR, Eunkoo Lee and I do our best to conduct interviews with them. This past week we had four new students visit the office. Every one of them says something inspirational to remind us why we are constantly trying to upgrade this humble little project.

  • My favorite was a refugee who has already lived abroad and realized how important English is to his future. “English is my forever homework.” Tutors won’t have to wonder if he will be motivated to study. He found out about TNKR recently, he immediately applied to join us.
  • A refugee repeatedly told us how “impressive” TNKR is. She previously paid to study at a language institute, but she didn’t feel that her English was improving enough. Then she heard that she could study English 1:1 with as many tutors as she wants. So she applied!
  • A refugee who has followed TNKR for quite a while finally decided to apply. She said that she is impressed by our “new approach” putting students at the center. She has heard about other programs saying that they focus on the students first, but she can see that we really do so. She said she can feel that she has responsibility for making the class successful, so she will think deeply about ways to have a class that is self-directed.
  • A fourth student made it clear that she is “very eager” to study. She wants conversation, conversation, conversation. I asked her about using Korean in class, she said she really hopes teachers will use only English, she can already speak Korean! She has studied English in many situations in Korea, but this has the potential to truly push her to learn more.

All four of these applicants learned about TNKR from other refugees–three are former students, 1 is another refugee familiar with TNKR.

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He’s about to lose his mind, up in here…

TNKR Academic Adviser (In-house tutoring program) Youngmin Kwon has been chasing two or three rabbits at the same time. Translation, tutoring, #BringMyFatherHome campaign, handling media, he has been moving non-stop. Scroll through the post, you’ll see him popping up in many activities.

 

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We had two smaller events with refugee authors in the last week. Eunsun Kim, author of 1000 Miles from Freedom, spoke to a group of Americans. There were about 15 of them, and it seemed that every one of them had at least 2 questions. Yesterday, TNKR Special Ambassador Ken Eom spoke to a different group of Americans interested in hearing about North Korean refugees. That group had a handful who had many questions.

Coaching & Mentoring

One refugee who just entered TNKR is not ready to give speeches, so we are now documenting her story to help get prepared later on. She is already a regular on TV shows in Korean, we hope that a bit later she’ll be ready to give speeches in English.  

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Then there’s TNKR Special Ambassador Cherie Yang! Last month she gave a fantastic TEDx Talk, which I am confident will graduate to become a TED Talk. Here she is with TNKR Assistant Manager Dave Fry. He was recently in a video which (he hopes!) will make him world-famous in North Korea and put on North Korea’s Enemies List. Later I will be doing a special post about Cherie’s TEDx Talk.          

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