Online Acronym Dictionary for Teachers in South Korea

(in alphabetical order)


More and more, for whatever reason, people are speaking in acronyms. Of course, living and working in Korea brings its own set of abbreviations. Some of these are pretty common and well known, but others may not be so much. Did I miss any? Post a comment and I’ll add it to the list.

For whatever reason, this page has become the target of all sort of SPAM comments. They are absolutely foolish, and serve no purpose other than to point and laugh at. Scroll down to the bottom and check em out.

ATEK: Association for Teachers of English in Korea – View Site

An organization run by and for instructors of English in Korea that is committed to improving the Education system there. Visit their website and learn how to get involved.

DMZ: Korean Demilitarized Zone

The roughly 2.5 mile wide buffer area between North and South Korea. It is the most heavily militarized border in the world. You can take a DMZ tour on the South Korean side.

DPRK: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

North Korea.

EFL: English as a Foreign Language

This is also stands for European Football League, and is the airport code for Kefallonia, Greece. Wow.

ELL: English Language Learner

Anyone learning English might be referred to as an ELL.  One of many acronyms to fall under the umbrella term ESL.

ELT: English Language Teaching

From Wikipedia, this is a “widely-used teacher-centered term, as in the English language teaching divisions of large publishing houses.”

EPIC: English Program in Korea – View Site

Program sponsored by the Korean Ministry of Education for recruiting native English speakers to work as teachers in the public school system.

ESL: English as a Second Language

An umbrella term that basically refers to anyone learning English that speaks a different native language. You probably already knew that.

GEPIK: Gyeonggi English Program in Korea

This statement is from GEPIK that I found posted on a forum thread at Dave’s ESL Cafe: “GEPIK is an authorized English program which is promoted by Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education in cooperation with self-governing communities to improve elementary kids’ communicative English ability through inviting and cooperating with native English teachers.” Note that the above link is the site for GEPIK Teachers in Korea. The official GEPIK website is in Korean, and requires an 아이디 for some reason. For anyone unfamiliar with the geography of South Korea, Gyeonggi is the name of the province which surrounds Seoul.

JETI: Jeollanamdo Educational Training Institute : View Site

A training center in Damyang for public school teachers that is run by the local Provincial Government. The English portion of their website has a flow chart and maybe 5 sentences.

KOTESOL: Korea Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages : View Site

Formed in 1992 when acronyms KATE and AETK (not to be confused with ATEK) merged. From their official Constitution: “KOTESOL is a not-for-profit organization established to promote scholarship, disseminate information, and facilitate cross-cultural understanding among persons concerned with the teaching and learning of English in Korea. In pursuing these goals, KOTESOL shall cooperate in appropriate ways with other groups having similar concerns.” Their conferences are probably a great place for meeting like-minded professionals in the field of English teaching in Korea.

KOSPI: Korea Composite Stock Price Index

The Korean Stock Market. View the current index value.

PAC: The Pan-Asian Consortium of Language Teaching Societies

PAC is a collective of Asian based ELT research networks and publications, of which KOTESOL is a member. Check out their Facebook page for the full PAC mission statement.

ROK:  Republic of Korea

South Korea.

SMOE: Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education

Organized and run by the government of South Korea, SMOE has been recruiting and placing native English speakers in Seoul public schools since 2005. The acronym sometimes appears on the Internet in conjunction with GEPIK, but the proximity of their relationship remains yet to be determined by this writer.

TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language

TEFL’ers are those who teach English to students whose primary language is not English. Many teaching jobs in foreign countries require TEFL certification. This certificate is not required to teach in a Korean hagwon, but it certainly doesn’t limit your opportunities having one. Basic TEFL certifications can be achieved in a 40 hour training course and cost anywhere between $180-$260. TEFL diplomas require at least 100 hours of course study, and may be purchased for around $330-$600.

TESOL: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

TOEIC: Test of English for International Communication

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language

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