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Author Topic: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?  (Read 1514 times)

Offline daelight

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Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« on: December 13, 2018, 09:36:33 AM »
Hello all, this is going to be a long post.

Tldr: I speak some Korean, the kids don't know this. Should I allow myself to speak to the kids in Korean outside class/during class?

I studied Korean in university and I understand about 80% of conversations. I look Korean, so when I speak in Korean, people don't know I'm a foreigner unless I tell them. I currently teach at a middle school. When I first arrived, many of my students asked if I could speak Korean. I told them no because I didnít want them speaking to me in Korean as I believe it is my duty as their NET to only speak to them in English. For some of the classes I told them I couldnít speak Korean but that I could read. I fear that if they know I can speak Korean, they wonít try to speak in English to me. At my previous elementary some of the students who heard me speaking Korean to my coworkers or suspected that I could speak Korean would often only speak to me in Korean, even though I would reply in English or pretend I couldnít understand. Most of the teachers at my current school donít know I speak Korean either.

Iím currently debating whether I should switch up the way Iíve been doing things. Someone from a Facebook group Iím in said that he has an English only rule in his class where he is the only person that can speak in Korean. I teach 22 classes in total (11 classes in both 1st and 2nd grade), in each class there are a few students who are pretty high level or even fluent in English. Iíve been feeling conflicted about what I should do in the new school year as I want to be able to build rapport with my students. Do you guys speak Korean to your kids outside of class time?

Offline fishead

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2018, 08:22:03 AM »
 If your Korean co- teacher bails on you are just stands at the back texting you can use it for discipline. If you are using the standard elementary textbook with disc you can use the pre-recorded instructions in Korean on the disk to explain how to play the games.

Online eggieguffer

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2018, 08:52:07 AM »
NETs were introduced into Korean classrooms for the purpose of pushing the teaching English in English methodology, so if you look Korean and speak Korean in the classrooms, your school might wonder about whether you were money well spent. On the other hand most teachers and principals are more interested in doing what's easiest for them rather than any government directives so if you can keep the class under control and not force your co-teacher to do any extra work, you'll probably be a plus point.   

Online Mr.DeMartino

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2018, 09:09:40 AM »
English...Korean...German...whatever it takes to get your class in line is all good.

Probably should stick to English as much as possible and reserve Korean for discipline and the teacher's lounge.

Offline alexisalex

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2018, 09:38:17 AM »
I really really hate the idea of a strict "English only, no Korean" rule in a classroom.  I think that's an easy way to get yourself into a tricky situation.  What if the students don't understand something?  Will you then relax the rule momentarily as your CT translates into Korean?

Speaking Korean is fine in my opinion (as long you're competent and sure of what you're saying).  If it takes two seconds of translation to get everyone on the same page then surely there's no problem with that.  Go for it!

As an aside, I really wish I could find it again but I remember seeing a video of a NET teaching an elementary class and every time the students said something, he would say "마자요".  His coteacher was standing right next to him but every ten seconds, 마자요, 마자요, 마자요, 마자요.  Ok we get that you listened to episode one of Talk to me in Korean, congrats.

Offline hayleebb87

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2018, 09:39:02 AM »
My opinion is no unless an emergency or 0 understanding on the part of the child. I don't have any English only policies or anything like that, but even when I understand their Korean questions, I always answer in English. They speak Korean 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. They need that 2 hours a week to actually listen to English. And seriously, they are kids. Like all kids, if you give an inch, they will take a mile. If you speak Korean to them, they aren't going to try nearly as hard to speak English because they think you will just answer in Korean anyway. Also, typically your CTs will prefer English. I've been told that not only do the students ability improve, but also the teacher's ability as well because they actually have to practice their English instead of losing that ability when working with NETs who try to speak Korean at work.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2018, 09:42:27 AM by hayleebb87 »

Online Chinguetti

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2018, 10:04:09 AM »
I'd avoid it as much as possible and would only speak Korean if absolutely necessary, and even then only just enough to be understood.

The reason being is I have several friends who speak fluent or close-to-fluent Korean, and once the kids realized my friends could understand them, there was a complete shutdown on any attempt to speak English.

This could vary from school to school, but in my friends' cases, it was a universal result.

Offline mikeycknowsrnb

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2018, 10:24:59 AM »
Only for translation. They sorta figure that I would know a few Korean words since I live here so they don't get suspicious if I quickly translate a word here and there. I would never speak to them in Korean in full sentences though.

Offline pkjh

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2018, 10:28:00 AM »
Depends. But, if you're of Korean heritage, I'd definitely avoid speaking it. The older the students, the more likely they'll clue in if you can understand, or speak it well. I can understand a lot, unless they get really meeting/news like formal. But, when I speak more than a few sentences I come out sounding very, very amateurish.

What's happened to me in the past, when teaching middle school, a few students clue in I can understand a lot, and often resort to speaking Korean. Often it's when they hear a Korean teacher talk to me, is when their suspicions are confirmed. But I always 100% respond in English. They sometimes question me, "How do you understand me?" then I respond,
"I'm guessing...", or something along those lines.

A few sometimes manage to find my number, and text me, I just respond in English. Usually scares like 95% off from messaging me again. But a few do understand my messages, and I figure if they understand I'll continue responding.

Often the few that have clued in are on the upper end of the intelligence scale, and can understand my English responses pretty well. I sometimes crack sarcastic jokes in class, and sometimes hear a few chuckles, while their friends are clueless as to why they were laughing.

Online orange6ur1

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2018, 02:48:23 PM »
Wow your students seem pretty good at English if you have a few that you feel like are almost fluent-like! how cool~
Even if your lowest students can barely put together a sentence, since it doesn't really seem necessary to speak in Korean i'd just stick to English! Especially if you have a co-teacher translating but even if they aren't, you could always check for comprehension by asking students again what we are going to do next or whatever.

Personally i don't see the big deal in students knowing whether or not you know Korean or not. All my students know but none of them suddenly "gave up" speaking in English, they still do it despite their somewhat low level. So that's probably why it's not a big deal to me.

And yeah! Co-Teachers do learn from you as well! My co-teacher always tells me whenever she learned a new expression/word that I used and it makes me happy that she's listening so well. She's my best student lol.

Online T.J.

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2018, 08:19:51 PM »
I really really hate the idea of a strict "English only, no Korean" rule in a classroom.  I think that's an easy way to get yourself into a tricky situation.  What if the students don't understand something?  Will you then relax the rule momentarily as your CT translates into Korean?

Speaking Korean is fine in my opinion (as long you're competent and sure of what you're saying).  If it takes two seconds of translation to get everyone on the same page then surely there's no problem with that.  Go for it!

As an aside, I really wish I could find it again but I remember seeing a video of a NET teaching an elementary class and every time the students said something, he would say "마자요".  His coteacher was standing right next to him but every ten seconds, 마자요, 마자요, 마자요, 마자요.  Ok we get that you listened to episode one of Talk to me in Korean, congrats.

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Online oglop

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2018, 09:52:42 PM »
I really really hate the idea of a strict "English only, no Korean" rule in a classroom.  I think that's an easy way to get yourself into a tricky situation.  What if the students don't understand something?  Will you then relax the rule momentarily as your CT translates into Korean?

Speaking Korean is fine in my opinion (as long you're competent and sure of what you're saying).  If it takes two seconds of translation to get everyone on the same page then surely there's no problem with that.  Go for it!

As an aside, I really wish I could find it again but I remember seeing a video of a NET teaching an elementary class and every time the students said something, he would say "마자요".  His coteacher was standing right next to him but every ten seconds, 마자요, 마자요, 마자요, 마자요.  Ok we get that you listened to episode one of Talk to me in Korean, congrats.
there's merit in getting the students to understand something in the target language, even if it isn't exactly what you're focusing on. the whole lesson is a learning experience and it's a good confidence boost to get the students to comprehend something without using thier language, rather than blitzing through the rules/concept in korean and only focusing on the (completely inane) target expressions from the book

i understand you only get, what 40 minutes, of class time, but if something is too difficult or conceptual for the students to understand using english, perhaps the activity is too complex

personally, i never use korean, and have never had any problems with students not understanding. you just have to use a lot of ICQs/CCQs

i'm not saying there isn't a time and a place for korean, but i think (korean teachers, especially, i've noticed) use korean in the class because they are either lazy, not very good at teaching ESL, or unconfident in their english ability and don't want to embarrass themselves

Online eggieguffer

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2018, 11:25:11 PM »
I really really hate the idea of a strict "English only, no Korean" rule in a classroom.  I think that's an easy way to get yourself into a tricky situation.  What if the students don't understand something?  Will you then relax the rule momentarily as your CT translates into Korean?

Speaking Korean is fine in my opinion (as long you're competent and sure of what you're saying).  If it takes two seconds of translation to get everyone on the same page then surely there's no problem with that.  Go for it!

As an aside, I really wish I could find it again but I remember seeing a video of a NET teaching an elementary class and every time the students said something, he would say "마자요".  His coteacher was standing right next to him but every ten seconds, 마자요, 마자요, 마자요, 마자요.  Ok we get that you listened to episode one of Talk to me in Korean, congrats.
there's merit in getting the students to understand something in the target language, even if it isn't exactly what you're focusing on. the whole lesson is a learning experience and it's a good confidence boost to get the students to comprehend something without using thier language, rather than blitzing through the rules/concept in korean and only focusing on the (completely inane) target expressions from the book

i understand you only get, what 40 minutes, of class time, but if something is too difficult or conceptual for the students to understand using english, perhaps the activity is too complex

personally, i never use korean, and have never had any problems with students not understanding. you just have to use a lot of ICQs/CCQs

i'm not saying there isn't a time and a place for korean, but i think (korean teachers, especially, i've noticed) use korean in the class because they are either lazy, not very good at teaching ESL, or unconfident in their english ability and don't want to embarrass themselves

Generally NETs  have the language to teach English in English but not the training ( an online TEFL cert doesn't seem to cut it) KETs have the training but either not the language or not the inclination. The Wash back effect from the university exams will ensure that no one is particularly bothered about changing the situation.

Offline minab91

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2018, 07:38:53 AM »
My students are extremely low level and have essentially zero understanding of any English outside of "Hello my name is _____." I speak enough Korean to control a classroom, but my policy is to only use it if my co-teacher leaves me alone. As long as there is a native Korean speaker in the classroom, there is no reason for me to be using it.

Offline alexisalex

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2018, 07:46:19 AM »
I really really hate the idea of a strict "English only, no Korean" rule in a classroom.  I think that's an easy way to get yourself into a tricky situation.  What if the students don't understand something?  Will you then relax the rule momentarily as your CT translates into Korean?

Speaking Korean is fine in my opinion (as long you're competent and sure of what you're saying).  If it takes two seconds of translation to get everyone on the same page then surely there's no problem with that.  Go for it!

As an aside, I really wish I could find it again but I remember seeing a video of a NET teaching an elementary class and every time the students said something, he would say "마자요".  His coteacher was standing right next to him but every ten seconds, 마자요, 마자요, 마자요, 마자요.  Ok we get that you listened to episode one of Talk to me in Korean, congrats.
there's merit in getting the students to understand something in the target language, even if it isn't exactly what you're focusing on. the whole lesson is a learning experience and it's a good confidence boost to get the students to comprehend something without using thier language, rather than blitzing through the rules/concept in korean and only focusing on the (completely inane) target expressions from the book

i understand you only get, what 40 minutes, of class time, but if something is too difficult or conceptual for the students to understand using english, perhaps the activity is too complex

personally, i never use korean, and have never had any problems with students not understanding. you just have to use a lot of ICQs/CCQs

i'm not saying there isn't a time and a place for korean, but i think (korean teachers, especially, i've noticed) use korean in the class because they are either lazy, not very good at teaching ESL, or unconfident in their english ability and don't want to embarrass themselves

I think that some of us are put into situations where the material itself is too complex and way, way above the level of the students.  I've experienced in many times.  In those situations I would rather my CT or I give the translation in a split second (or at least get them close to it) and then let me focus on activities that get the students to use the vocabulary/grammar point naturally.

I suppose I'm quite lenient on Korean usage in the classroom because I think back to my experiences learning it.  If my Korean teacher had only spoken Korean it would have taken ten times as long to learn something that she could have explained in seconds.

My view is also influenced heavily by the fact I've only ever taught in a technical school (extremely low level English).  I'd probably think differently if I had had experience with other students. 

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2018, 07:50:05 AM »
I really really hate the idea of a strict "English only, no Korean" rule in a classroom.  I think that's an easy way to get yourself into a tricky situation.  What if the students don't understand something?  Will you then relax the rule momentarily as your CT translates into Korean?

Speaking Korean is fine in my opinion (as long you're competent and sure of what you're saying).  If it takes two seconds of translation to get everyone on the same page then surely there's no problem with that.  Go for it!

As an aside, I really wish I could find it again but I remember seeing a video of a NET teaching an elementary class and every time the students said something, he would say "마자요".  His coteacher was standing right next to him but every ten seconds, 마자요, 마자요, 마자요, 마자요.  Ok we get that you listened to episode one of Talk to me in Korean, congrats.
there's merit in getting the students to understand something in the target language, even if it isn't exactly what you're focusing on. the whole lesson is a learning experience and it's a good confidence boost to get the students to comprehend something without using thier language, rather than blitzing through the rules/concept in korean and only focusing on the (completely inane) target expressions from the book

i understand you only get, what 40 minutes, of class time, but if something is too difficult or conceptual for the students to understand using english, perhaps the activity is too complex

personally, i never use korean, and have never had any problems with students not understanding. you just have to use a lot of ICQs/CCQs

i'm not saying there isn't a time and a place for korean, but i think (korean teachers, especially, i've noticed) use korean in the class because they are either lazy, not very good at teaching ESL, or unconfident in their english ability and don't want to embarrass themselves
This is true.  At the front of your presentation, place an example round or sample sentences.

I virtually never use the games in the book, because the Korean explanation is two or three minutes and usually just a convoluted game of Go Fish.  That's three minutes they could have been learning some English.

You can't completely enforce a "No Korean" rule, but I insist they use English as much as possible--"team three" not sam modem, "rock-paper-scissors" not dawi-bawi-and-so-on.  Fourth graders should be able to count to 100.

Sixth graders learned a lesson about illness.  Don't let them point to their stomach if they need to go to the nurse's office, make them talk.  Their stomach isn't hurting that badly!  And anyway, what's the point of teaching it to them, otherwise?

In sum, speaking Korean in English is not "fine", it should be used as little as possible.  For example, I do it to reinforce the date of an upcoming test or something like that.

Offline alexisalex

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2018, 08:44:49 AM »
I really really hate the idea of a strict "English only, no Korean" rule in a classroom.  I think that's an easy way to get yourself into a tricky situation.  What if the students don't understand something?  Will you then relax the rule momentarily as your CT translates into Korean?

Speaking Korean is fine in my opinion (as long you're competent and sure of what you're saying).  If it takes two seconds of translation to get everyone on the same page then surely there's no problem with that.  Go for it!

As an aside, I really wish I could find it again but I remember seeing a video of a NET teaching an elementary class and every time the students said something, he would say "마자요".  His coteacher was standing right next to him but every ten seconds, 마자요, 마자요, 마자요, 마자요.  Ok we get that you listened to episode one of Talk to me in Korean, congrats.
there's merit in getting the students to understand something in the target language, even if it isn't exactly what you're focusing on. the whole lesson is a learning experience and it's a good confidence boost to get the students to comprehend something without using thier language, rather than blitzing through the rules/concept in korean and only focusing on the (completely inane) target expressions from the book

i understand you only get, what 40 minutes, of class time, but if something is too difficult or conceptual for the students to understand using english, perhaps the activity is too complex

personally, i never use korean, and have never had any problems with students not understanding. you just have to use a lot of ICQs/CCQs

i'm not saying there isn't a time and a place for korean, but i think (korean teachers, especially, i've noticed) use korean in the class because they are either lazy, not very good at teaching ESL, or unconfident in their english ability and don't want to embarrass themselves

You can't completely enforce a "No Korean" rule, but I insist they use English as much as possible--"team three" not sam modem, "rock-paper-scissors" not dawi-bawi-and-so-on.  Fourth graders should be able to count to 100.

When people here talk about how using Korean in the classroom is bad and we should insist on only using English, this is the usual argument which is very weak in my opinion.

We don't need Korean for basic things like this or for discipline.  Students understand "team three", "sit down", "stop talking" etc and it goes without saying that these should be delivered in English.  This shouldn't be part of the argument for Korean/English in the classroom.

My argument is that perhaps you've been given a book to teach and you're faced with "The practitioner's death was mourned citywide".  Maybe the students only recognise one word in there; "death".  Even then we know Korean students have huge problems using "dead, die, death" etc.  Unlikely that they know the other words.  Throw in passive voice too. 

There's an awful lot to unpack in my example above and to insist on English only from you and your coteacher in a situation like that seems bizarre to me.

Online eggieguffer

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2018, 08:59:24 AM »
Quote
We don't need Korean for basic things like this or for discipline.  Students understand "team three", "sit down", "stop talking" etc and it goes without saying that these should be delivered in English.  This shouldn't be part of the argument for Korean/English in the classroom.

It doesn't go without saying, unfortunately. Lots of teachers on here advocate using Korean for classroom instructions, there was a guy on quite recently who had a big list of them all translated he was passing around. Good, clear classroom English isn't the kind of thing everyone picks up naturally and many need to do some training. 

Your example sounds like something from a high school reading text. If that's the case then sure teach the lot in Korean and get them to translate it all, word by word. it's probably the most effective way to teach for the university test.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 09:06:52 AM by eggieguffer »

Offline alexisalex

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2018, 09:10:55 AM »
Here's a question then...

When/if you take Korean classes, do/would you insist that your teacher speaks no English at all and that the class is conducted entirely in Korean?  CCQ/ICQs also in Korean.  Stuff like "open your book" and "turn the page" can be delivered in English so don't worry  :wink:

Online eggieguffer

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Re: Speaking Korean to students; yes or no?
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2018, 09:18:55 AM »
Here's a question then...

When/if you take Korean classes, do/would you insist that your teacher speaks no English at all and that the class is conducted entirely in Korean?  CCQ/ICQs also in Korean.  Stuff like "open your book" and "turn the page" can be delivered in English so don't worry  :wink:

It depends. If it was a complete beginner's class, I'd expect some English, though not if other students in the class didn't speak English as that would be unfair. Your analogy is not strictly accurate, however, as NETs are employed as co-teachers. If I was learning Korean from two teachers, I'd be quite happy if one of them only spoke Korean, yes.