2nd ID soldiers give language lessons to South Korean kids
September 9, 2005
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Second Infantry Division soldiers are teaching South Korean school children the language of music, mathematics and management in a conversational English tutoring program that began this week.
Eight U.S. soldiers and four Korean Augmentees to the U.S. Army (KATUSAs) from the 2nd ID’s Headquarters Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade arrived Tuesday night at Dongducheon Foreign Language School to teach two-hour conversational English classes.
The company commander, Capt. Dale Woodhouse, 36, of Missoula, Mont., got a group of 10th-graders’ attention right away by yelling “Arrgh!” at the top of his lungs soon after entering their classroom.
Once the kids stopped laughing, he introduced himself and explained the ground rules for the class, which included always speaking in English.
The brigade is one of several 2nd ID units whose soldiers give English language classes to South Korean students in Area I, officials said. Woodhouse said his soldiers would visit the school for two hours each Tuesday and Thursday night.
The school, which shares the 2nd ID motto of “Second to none,” gives its students intensive instruction in English language and was seeking native English speakers to help with night classes, he said.
Soldiers plan to spend time with the students and talk in English about the soldiers’ areas of expertise, said Woodhouse, who has bachelor’s degrees in government and economics and a master’s degree in management.
Second Lt. Brian Obmerga, 25, of Hercules, Calif., who has a degree in mathematics, was eager to find out how good South Korean students are at mathematics. “I will have to gauge how far along they are. I have been told foreign students have a better understanding of math” than U.S. students, he said.
The words South Koreans use to explain mathematics might be different from the words used in the States, he said. “In some countries they have different math terminology. I am not sure what they do here,” he said before his class started.
Another soldier tutoring students Tuesday night, Cpl. Kevin Creel, 32, of Panama City, Fla., has a bachelor’s degree in education with an emphasis on vocal music. He is a paralegal with 1st Brigade.
“I have traveled a lot because I grew up in the military. I have seen a lot of places and I was a teacher,” he said.
Will he sing to the children in English?
“I haven’t decided yet,” he said, before heading into a classroom of expectant youngsters.