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TEFL Teacher to Traditional Teacher
« on: April 04, 2021, 04:17:39 am »
What was/is your experience, for those whom this applies to, when you made the transition from, or attempted, TEFL Teacher to getting license in your home country? 

If you had 3-8 years of experience, more or less, whatever, ...did your experience and living and teaching abroad conflict with the teacher training curriculum back home?  This can have a broad scope but some examples are....methodology, behavior theories, classroom management, possible overreach, values regarding curricula and what students were learning, parents, etc?

There has to be a few licensed teachers here and I'm curious as to what they would say.



Re: TEFL Teacher to Traditional Teacher
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2021, 02:02:12 pm »
I'm not a licensed teacher yet, but I'll have my certification in the next few months. I've been studying quite a few things related to English education as a home language, second language and foreign language and can compare it to how English education is approach here.

I'm just going to touch the surface since this is a huge topic and I don't have the time to go too in depth.

Curriculum and Pedagogical Approach

The curriculum I've been studying is the South African IP curriculum, the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS). All things considered, CAPS is a fairly well-balanced curriculum. It aligns with contemporary standards, is structured while giving the teacher sufficient freedom and recommends Lev Vygotsky's strategies and understanding such as the ZPD and "scaffolding". Scaffolding is where you teach a learner new things based on what they already know or have just been taught, so a scaffolding approach to phonics might be to start with mastering vowels, move on to consonants, then CV and then CVC words etc.

CAPS also a very structured schedule based around 2-4 week cycles, which note when to use formal, informal and remedial assessments.

Regarding teaching English as a HL, FAL or FL, it is strongly recommended to utilise the 'Communicative Approach' (the contemporary and pragmatic approach to teaching English, widely regarded as the most effective).

The Communicative Approach would take a full 3000 word essay to properly explain, but basically, it's the idea of getting students to practice, master and use "real-world" English. Emphasise is focused on getting the learner to communicate their thoughts, even if that involves incorrect grammar, verbiage etc. (fluency before accuracy). A huge emphasis is placed on learner-learner interaction, with the teacher mainly facilitating the process and assessing wether the student has progressed in the particular competence. 


Korean English Curriculum and pedagogical approach

From what I can tell, Korea stands alone in that it's curriculum for English doesn't seem to conform to any other curriculum, it's a completely Frankenstein curriculum. There's a complete lack of scaffolding as each textbook's lesson doesn't build off the knowledge of the previous lesson, you could teach lesson 11 at the beginning of the year and end off with lesson 2. The curriculum seems to be a blend of the Grammar Translation Method, The Audio Linguistic Approach and The Classical Approach, however, all these approaches are very much outdated and elements from each approach contradict the other. In the mid to late 2000s it seems Korea went on a massive English drive and attempted to utilise more contemporary techniques of "real-world" English.

However, it seems that some Ajjushi in Charge took the term "real-world" English (a popular term of the Communicative Approach) way too literally and this is why we have these expensive and unnecessary mock English 'doll-house' places in our public schools and libraries of books and equipment lying unused.

The Korean curriculum also doesn't suggest or recommend any teaching approach and the confusion among Korean and NET shows. For example, my CT has her masters in English education as well as 3, yes 3 teaching licenses (for elementary, middle and adults)... However, she seems to use nothing of what she's learned in the class since... she can't. She can't scaffold because the curriculum's material isn't arranged in that order and she can't teach to communicate because the Communicative Approach DOES NOT use KEY EXPRESSIONS such as "What do you usually do on weekends?" "I usually feed the cows". These contrived key expressions are more in line with the Audio-Linguistic method which was used to teach American soldiers, in WW2, to memorise some basic expressions in German/French/Japanese etc. before being deployed. It hasn't been used since the 50s.
This CT teaches as if she's had no training and there's little difference between how she teaches a class and how a parrot would teach.

Finally, Korea's curriculum's worst feature is the assessment approach. Not only are the formal assessments not based on communicative competences, but there's a complete lack of remedial assessment or informal assessment. Essentially, there's nothing to check to make sure the student has learned the work before progressing to the next area and there's nothing to help them catch up, this explains why some high-school students don't know their ABCs.


Re: TEFL Teacher to Traditional Teacher
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2021, 05:08:44 pm »
I'm going to back Aristocrat up on what he said, even though I come from the opposite angle...certified (licensed) and then moved to EFL/ESL. Much of why Aristocrat talks about is still familiar with me. And I agree with how  he views English education in Korea. He has summed up the question really well.

Personally, I use the communicative approach in much of my teaching. I also used it when I I was a school teacher. Mind you, I work for myself now, so I do what I think is best for learning. Parents don't always agree. They see this as 'not the way things are traditionally done in Korea', hence I usually lose a truck load (small truck) of students in sixth grade and at the start of middle school.

In saying this, now that I'm offering one day classes, I have a waiting list of old (middle and high school) students wanting to come back.  :rolleyes:
« Last Edit: April 04, 2021, 05:33:20 pm by Kurt Sorensen »