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Author Topic: Public school English education around the world  (Read 1414 times)

Offline bb

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Public school English education around the world
« on: November 01, 2011, 09:30:06 AM »
So my CT asked me my opinions about Korea's foriegn language  (English) education methods the other day and I realized that, while I was more than happy to spout off a gazillion opinions, the truth was I had almost no points of comparison.

My own foriegn language experience in Madam Cohen's French class was almost 30 years ago and I spent most of that time making paper airplanes and hoping that my terrible acne wouldn't prevent me from wooing the girl who sat in front of me (it did.)

So my question, for those who have taught ESL outside of Korea is: What's different? What's similar? Is there anything distinctly Korean about Korean ESL education or is it basically structured the same as everywhere else?

Have a nice Tuesday, everyone.


Offline bb

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Re: Public school English education around the world
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2011, 07:58:21 PM »
Oh yeah, one other question (though this topic looks pretty DOA)...anyone know much about the roles and expectations of native teachers in other countries?

Offline smippy

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Re: Public school English education around the world
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2011, 10:01:46 PM »
I briefly volunteered as an ESL assistant teacher at a middle school when I studied abroad in Italy a few years back, so I can only relay my experience. My main duty was to provide conversation and listening practice, usually through games and small, informal conversation. A lot of them were interested in talking about American pop culture and music, since it's really popular among kids and teens over there (Disney, Cartoon Network, etc are all dubbed in Italian). As far as teaching grammar, the main teacher would follow the textbook, much like they do in Korea. Students also were required to have a workbook, which had various fill-in-the-blank sheets and other grammar exercises that were to be completed as homework. I do notice that the Korean textbooks try to incorporate a lot of songs and little games, which were more or less lacking in the English books my students in Italy were using. I'm biased with this point, but classroom management was easier for me in Italy due to the fact that I speak Italian, which made it possible to communicate with my students and the teacher I was working with. :b

Also one last point: The co-teacher/NET thing (aka us) is uncommon in Italy, and there is no government run program or recruiting agencies that hire foreign NET for public school positions, as far as I know. My friend is a NET/Language Assistant in France (hired through a French government program), I can ask her these questions and get back to you if you'd like. ^^;

Offline Ben-Ja-Meen

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Re: Public school English education around the world
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2011, 10:24:58 PM »
I'm interested in this topic as well.  I hope people with EFL experience elsewhere will share...

Offline bb

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Re: Public school English education around the world
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2011, 11:06:13 PM »
My friend is a NET/Language Assistant in France (hired through a French government program), I can ask her these questions and get back to you if you'd like. ^^;

That'd be very cool. Thanx.

Offline jazzychica

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Re: Public school English education around the world
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2011, 11:32:26 PM »
I volunteer taught in Chile for about 6 months through a government program. It emphasized fun and simple games to encourage speaking in English, though my students were so low level (and poorly behaved) that I taught primarily in Spanish. The program is fairly new in Chile, and it offered several co-teaching models. I ended up with 'separate rooms, separate material'. I taught half of a class independently for 45 minutes, then switched with my co-teacher and taught the other half for 45 (yes, standard class periods are 1.5 hours long, even in elementary!)

There was a standard nation-wide textbook for each grade starting in 5th, when schools are required to start teaching English. My school started earlier, with classes from 1st-8th grade (and only 1 over-worked English teacher plus me).

The textbooks there are bad, just like here in Korea, but from what I recall they were less convoluted. They had too much material and were too difficult for most students, but they didn't have pages upon pages of bizarre, unnatural dialog to memorize word-for-word. They also were more clearly laid out; you knew exactly what each chapter was trying to teach. Here, it's more a random amalgam of grammar and vocab that's been awkwardly combined into one chapter.

As far as the students, it's SO much better teaching them in Korea. Of course, I worked at a bad school in Chile (one of those that takes in all the students that have been kicked out of other schools), and here I work at a much nicer all-girls middle school. The biggest downside to Korean students (and teachers) is that they nearly refuse to speak in English to each other outside of games.

I had an easier time with partner/group conversation in Chile, where most of my students were at or just past the "How are you? I'm fine, thank you. And you?" stage. I'm constantly surprised by how much students will talk to me in English and then never open their mouths with each other, despite my many, many efforts and varied approaches. Everyone is too unwilling to risk losing face to actually practice English in English class.


tldr; teaching in Korea = MUCH better; textbooks = worse; willingness to speak English = worse

Offline cinamon

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Re: Public school English education around the world
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2011, 11:21:22 AM »
I remember my "Spanish" lessons in elementary and junior high were pretty terrible.  We saw our "Spanish teacher" once a week, much like here, but we never even had any other Spanish lessons other than seeing our teacher every other week or so.  We would do relatively forgettable things each class, much like I do now. *sigh*

Offline langel

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Re: Public school English education around the world
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2011, 11:14:00 AM »
Do the teacher's require a university degree to teach in Chile with the government program?  or can you teach with a college diploma? and TEFL certificate.

 

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