Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Using the Local Language When Teaching ESL Abroad

A nice post from Tefl Newbie on the subject.  This is the part that I liked best:

"You have this great job as an EFL teacher because you are a native English speaker and the expectation is that your classes will be solely conducted in English. There are plenty of local teachers—often paid much less than you are paid—who will use the local language to explain concepts and drill translations. You are expected, because you are foreign, to challenge the students with an immersion experience for the duration of your class. That is what makes you valuable as a teacher."

My thoughts:

Yes, we are indeed paid to speak English, which is why I always find it quite bizarre that some of my foreign colleagues seem to speak a lot more Korean than English in the classroom.  Of course it's easier for the students, but it's not exactly helpful if someone is trying to acquire proficiency or fluency in another language.  If students wanted a class that was conducted in Korean, they'd take a class with a Korean teacher (and it would be much cheaper too!)


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Interesting Results from my Presentation Class

This semester, I taught a presentation class for the first time, and actually it was only my second time teaching a content course (the first one was a social issues class last year). Yesterday was our last class, and as kind of a wrap up, I got the students to share with the class something they really liked, or something they learned from the class. And then something that they found challenging/difficult or didn't like. And I'm also reading their journals too, where they had to talk about similar kinds of stuff.

Surprisingly, almost all the students mentioned that doing speeches in English was quite difficult and that for some, it was the first time they'd ever spoken English in front of a large group or in front of Koreans.  And, some of them mentioned learning a lot of new vocabulary as well, which was interesting.  Neither the actual English, nor the vocab were a focus of anything I did for this class.  I didn't correct a single grammar mistake the entire time (purposely!)

I expected most of them to say that standing up in front of people, or that something like speaking loudly, or using gestures was what they found difficult. But, not really.

Anyway, the learning vocab/improving their English ability kind of makes sense if you take into account Stephen Krashen's comprehensible input theory. The students in this class listened to a total of about 120 speeches (!!!), all at their own level. That's A LOT OF input and it makes sense that they'd learn some new vocabulary this way. Interesting.

Another thing that the students mentioned was that they were happy to have a skill to take them with in the future, for job interviews, presentations in other classes, at work, etc.

If you're looking for a textbook to use when teaching presentations or public speaking, by far my favorite one is Speaking of Speech: Basic Presentation Skills for Beginners. It's at an ideal level for university students in Korea and covers all the basics.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

You know what I find amazing?

These past couple of days, I've been doing review for my basic, conversational English classes.  The test is next week and these days were the last class before the test.  So, I made up 8 example questions that were almost identical to some of the questions on the test, and I covered every style of question that they're going to encounter on the test.  And, without fail, at least 5 of the 30 students in each class were sleeping, cruising on their cell-phone, or talking to their friend.  Another 10 or 15 didn't even bother to write down the examples.

Crazy.  I don't quite understand.