Thursday, September 13, 2007

King Car English Village

The BBC reports on the King Car English Village:

The "village" is actually attached to one of the county's elementary schools.

Ordinary classrooms have been transformed to look like an airport waiting room and customs area - complete with the fuselage of a real plane donated by a Taiwanese airline company.

There are other themed rooms including a hotel; a bank; a pharmacy, general store; restaurant and coffee bar; science and cookery rooms and a dance studio.

It's the idea of a non-profit group organization, the King Car Education Foundation, which has spent $1m on the project, which it operates in a joint venture with the local county authority.

Left out in the media reports -- over and over again -- is the fact that the King Car "volunteers" are missionaries (here's the blog of one) from fruitcake right-wing missionary denominations. No doubt Scott Sommers will have a post up soon on the legal and educational aspects of the village.

King Car is the group bringing in right-wing Christian missionaries who illegally prosyletize while on the job all over Taiwan, generally in rural areas. The foundation does quite a bit of work with the Ministry of Education. King Car Education foundation can be had here. Scott Sommers has pointed out repeatedly on his blog that these missionaries are here teaching illegally (here too), while I've commented on their nutty beliefs as well.[UPDATE: Scott just comments to point out that King Car missionaries teaching English has become legal, but only for them].

Scott Sommers has written quite eloquently on the topic of these villages, which have no proven pedogogical effect.

The BCC also repeats the problematic statement that Taiwan came in "17th out of 20 Asian countries" -- as Stephen Krashen noted in a recent letter in the Taipei Times, the statement is meaningless because there is no significant statistical difference between the schools in the middle of the rankings. One could use those same numbers and argue, since the proportion of test takers is much higher in Taiwan than in most countries taking the exam, that Taiwan's English education is excellent. But it is easier to write about failure than success.

* as I noted before, a good example is this fellow here, whose blog proudly says: 我 是帥哥! I'm the Handsome Guy! My name is Samuel (包帝聞) and I'm a working as an English teacher on the island of Kinmen, Taiwan, doing my best to spread the good news of Christ -- among people whom he patronizes:
Their gods are confined to images and carved wood. They aren't so much gods as they are warriors, each with their own battle to fight. The wind god isn't really a god: he simply fights to control the wind. But sometimes he looses. How horrible to have not a God but a warrior, one who might or might not win. What happens when your god looses? Then you are stuck. Aren't you glad our God is all powerful?)

UPDATE: Scott has a post up.


Anonymous said...

Yes Michael, you are right about me posting about this. I had seen the BBC article but your comment and post have forced me to post my opinions on the article. As you suspected, they are not positive.

I'd like to clarify some of the previous posts about King Car missionary/teachers. They are no longer illegal. Apparently some local provision has been passed that makes their work legal if done for King Car, but illegal if done for anyone else.

It also seems that teachers at the King Car English Village have been recruited through missionary channels. I'm not sure who they are or what they represent. The BBC article describes them as "volunteers", so I wonder if they're just as potentially illegal as the other King Car teachers. For more information on this, see this blog,

Anonymous said...

Apparently some local provision has been passed that makes their work legal if done for King Car, but illegal if done for anyone else.

That just makes my skin crawl (and blood boil). Anyway, thanks to you and Mr. Sommers for exposing this crap.

Mr. Dan said...

I would just like to point out that having personal experience with the English Village, The King Car Education foundation and the Albert Schweitzer Education foundation the statement that it is a Christian missionary organization from a right wing religious group is an incorrect assessment of the situation. The Village, KC and AS programs are all independent of any religious obligations and make use of volunteers and employees from a wide range of religious/non-religious backgrounds.

While, in my personal experience, I have observed that a majority (and not all) of the teachers who work with the Village program are Christians and that many of them (but again, not all) were recruited through a Christian based non-profit organization in the US, there is no religious proselytizing taking place in or through organizations sanctioned by the English Vilalge or the education foundation. Also, each teacher working with the King Car Education Foundation is legally in the country and has their own work ARC. What they do in no way breaks the law.

I would ask, what is wrong with individuals holding to beliefs that they act upon in their own free time apart from their contractual obligations with their employer? Taiwan is a religiously free nation with no laws restricting the regular spreading of one's beliefs.

My experience with the teachers is that they are polite, law abiding, skilled and decent individuals who should be applauded for giving up personal resources in the US and Canada to spend their time with a program that reaches out to students who come from a lower socioeconomic environment. The pay (or a better term, stipend) provided to these teachers is much below the average income for a full time English teacher working with the Ministry of Education. They do this out of a desire to help.

Having read some of Mr. Sommers' thoughts on the matter, I do applaud his concern that the law be followed in Taiwan, but I do believe him to be misinformed about the situation and would encourage him to check into it more before making his judgments.