Rob Dickey interviews Dr Bean (AKA Greg Matheson) on the AETK/KATE/KOTESOL story

To: rjdickey
Subject: Re: Olden days of (pre)KOTESOL

On Sat, 14 Oct 2017, rjdickey wrote:

> As in the past, I’m still trying to define the earliest days of KOTESOL. There are varying memories. ..

> The period 1992-1996 is particularly challenging because recollections differ. Prior, there are simply few recollections!

> As I know, you were involved in both AETK and KOTESOL in Seoul, in fact Seoul Chapter president for a few years. Your resume at (updated in 2012 or later) says 1992-1996.

> The question of “a splinter group of AETK” that continued to meet, separate from the new KOTESOL, has arisen. Any news or comments on this?

No, they had all gone by that point.

(5 seconds)

That was me?

The Seoul chapter (as separate from AETK itself) was set up by Aller in response to the complaints from outside Seoul. Is that what they are refering to?

I don’t recognize any AETK bloc versus a KATE (plus other non-Seoul teachers) bloc as existing after Fellbaum and Aller and others left.

There were antagonisms and conflicts, but they were more individual and should not be characterized as organizational.

I was conscious at the time of belonging to a third bloc, after the Koreans and the Americans, the Commonwealth bloc of me and Mike Duffy. He used to come and stay with us when he came up to Seoul for meetings, and I went and stayed with him one time for a meeting in Pusan.

But we never talked about the politics of the organization, and I never talked about being conscious of not being American. I was surprised when he said he was standing down as Pusan chapter president, like I had stood down as Seoul president.

I didn’t think the name change to KOTESOL was a good idea. I told them Tony Jones, vice-director of the British Council responsible for language programs didn’t think it was a good idea.

I published a piece somewhere arguing that the interests of TEFL teachers had little in common with those of TESL teachers. The JALT president at the time, a guy with a Business Studies background, thought the idea was interesting, but perhaps he wasn’t refering to what I had written. (Where was he from? Was he Canadian?)

> It sortof comes down to the question of a proper “merger” between AETK and the old KATE, or some kind of agglomeration or opt-in or whatever.

Follow the money. I don’t know who was treasurer at the time (probably someone outside Seoul). I think I just handled money for the Seoul chapter. I don’t even remember where this money came from.

> Any recollections on the transition(s) from AETK to KOTESOL? There was a Joint Conference at Han Nam U in Daejeon in 1992,

I may not have been in the country for that conference. I was at earlier KATE conferences, and met Margaret Elliot and Dusthimer. AETK president, Deena Trapp was there and her relationship with the people there was cordial, as was mine. I got on well with Trapp too, but Faldetta’s relationship with her was bad. (I had a great relationship with Faldetta).

> and the first KOTESOL Conference at Wonkwang (Iri) in 1993,

(Having returned, and the conference being outside Seoul, I was not very involved. I was supposed to produce the program for the conference. Typed up all the material, but I only had access to a non-PDF printer at the newspaper that only had mono-spaced typewriter fonts. I should have gotten help from Holstein, but he wasn’t involved in AETK/KOTESOL at that point. I sent the actual floppy disks (the old really floppy kind) by mail to Iri as the conference bore down on us. I couldn’t believe the quality of the program they produced.)

> I’m very interested in how memberships moved from A to B.

It was smooth, from memory. Everyone joined AETK (perhaps they were already AETK members). And AETK changed its name to KOTESOL. The organization was already under the control of people outside Seoul.

> Do you remember the meeting places for the Seoul chapter from 80s to 90s? Which places which years (roughly?)

I think we met at the ETS offices in Anguk-dong, until Saturday became impossible there. Then we moved to Pagoda in Jongno, and then we went south of the river to Kangnam, when a publisher (and/or a school?) offered its offices. I don’t remember what the benefits over Pagoda were. Pagoda was OK. (I remember Aller inviting himself to hold one conference at the Pagoda school south of the river close to where he lived towards the end of his tenure.) There was more than one place in Kangnam? (Besides the one time at Min Byung-chul’s school in Kangnam)

> Contacts of others who might have memories or documents? John Holstein? Who else?

Have you talked to Mike Duffy? He was at the Railroad College last time he wrote in 2013. He was at some of the first conferences at Sogang after the Yonsei conferences after 1986. I don’t think he ever went to a KATE conference, at least the ones I went to.

I’m posting this on my web page at

Back to KoreA