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  • Dyl
  • Fanatical Supporter!

    • 403

    • November 04, 2008, 11:54:50 am
This is an insightful essay to help you with teaching in South Korea. It gives a general overview of English language education in Korea, cultural differences, and difficulties which Korean learners face learning English.
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  • sonya
  • Veteran

    • 238

    • August 31, 2009, 08:54:59 am
    • Wonju
Thanks for that Dayle...good read...it belongs in the orientation handbook for all newbies I think!

Sonya


  • Janitor
  • Moderator - LVL 2

    • 956

    • June 14, 2010, 02:01:32 pm
    • Ulsan
I would agree. I clearly points out what the learners are facing and gives insight into challenges that you will face. Thank you for posting.


  • lion11
  • Adventurer

    • 64

    • July 19, 2010, 08:17:28 am
    • ansan, korea
Really great article.  Thanks for sharing


  • Paul
  • Featured Contributor

    • 2056

    • September 21, 2010, 10:28:58 pm
    • Seoul
Yeah, this paper is really good! Definitely learnt a couple of new pointers from that. Thanks for sharing it around! :D

Few oddities in it:
* The position of adverbs thing seems completely backwards to me, I'd never say "hit strongly", ever. In fact, I'd go as far as to stick a further modifier in between the two ("hit pretty strongly") to avoid such a construction if forced to word it that way. I'm Australian, so maybe its different there. Can any North American please pop some opinions up?
* The whole Yes/no/double negative idea that's constantly pushed. Really, in my experience this is just slang. I believe it's more a cultural hatred of thinking about double negatives. I mean, if you're on an Australian university campus, you may well hear "Yes, it didn't.", and "No, it did.". Any British/Irish or South Africans willing to add in 2c?
* "Foreign Language Ability" vs "Mental/Spiritual Maturity": Got insinuations?
« Last Edit: October 08, 2010, 10:43:38 am by Paul »
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  • pickle
  • Veteran

    • 139

    • June 29, 2010, 01:58:27 pm
    • Cheongju, Chungbuk
Yeah, I think it's such a short piece though, that they have to be very general.  There are definitely situations where you'd say "No, I do," for example, but in most situations it isn't suitable.  And the thing about "hit strongly" was that I would never say strongly with hit.  It just sounds awkward to me... I would usually say hit hard or something like that.

I completely understand the last part, (Foreign Language Ability" vs "Mental/Spiritual Maturity).  I think they just mean that when you get to a certain point in your language study you want to talk about something deeper than what kinds of foods you like, but you just don't have the words for it.  It can be really frustrating when you realize the way you are able to express yourself is miles behind who you really are.  I felt that keenly when I lived in Japan and realized I sounded like a child (or maybe a moron) to anyone who heard my broken Japanese!  I could never completely say what I thought, so it was hard to have relationships.  I guess if you're also being evaluated, it adds another level of stress to it.


  • Paul
  • Featured Contributor

    • 2056

    • September 21, 2010, 10:28:58 pm
    • Seoul
<snip>

Exactly. I had the same experience in Japan. My comment was more reading between the lines that this is an exclusive, innate Korean attribute.

Incidentally, I kinda believe this one cuts both ways when dealing with colleagues. For example, if I cannot articulate a complex idea to my co-teacher in my native tongue because all the words I need to use, the co-teacher may have yet to learn, and we lack the time to sit down and nut it out then the idea never gets across. If the idea never gets across, an assumption grows that there was nothing worthwhile to contribute to begin with.

I guess if you're also being evaluated, it adds another level of stress to it.

Wise words indeed, and something I need to bear in mind more often.
More primary school colours and shapes activity ideas and resources than you'd ever need - here
Holy free educational fonts Batman!


  • pickle
  • Veteran

    • 139

    • June 29, 2010, 01:58:27 pm
    • Cheongju, Chungbuk
Hmm, I'm not sure if they were really trying to say that about Korean students only... it's just one issue when you're teaching in Korea so they mentioned it.  And it is hard to foresee your students feeling that way if you never have.

You're right, there are a lot of obstacles when we communicate with our teachers, too.  I think we all (Korean and native teachers) forget to consider the other side often, so it's easy to jump to conclusions and get frustrated.

My students seem nothing like the description, though.  Maybe it's because I teach elementary and they were writing more with older students in mind?  My kids aren't nearly as shy/respectful as I would have thought from the article.  Actually, they often demand money from me when I walk by!

Where did you live in Japan?  I was up in Fukushima-ken for two years.


  • jehall
  • Veteran

    • 213

    • April 08, 2010, 01:20:16 pm
    • Uijeongbu, South Korea
Yeah, the kids' behaviour surprised me when I came over here. I too read all the literature saying how respectful and shy there are. Sure, they bow to you in the hallways, but in the classroom, they're pretty much the same as North American kids.


  • cangel
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • May 12, 2011, 12:34:41 pm
thank you for sharing this, it's an interesting read!


  • Misojner
  • Explorer

    • 6

    • September 09, 2010, 07:10:02 pm
    • South Korea
I'd say the perception of Korean students being "more polite" (generally speaking more polite than students in South Africa, Australia, USA, etc.) is from their interaction with Korean teachers.  Around my co-teachers, the students always followed a certain level of politeness, but around me, that usually dropped that (more so in middle school than elementary).  I'd still say that overall they're more polite, but when it's just me in the class my experience is more comparable to teaching in South Africa.  Some circumstances point towards this coming from friendliness or comfort level around a foreigner, but I imagine sometimes it could just be outright disrespect.  Either way, it's not easy to demand the same level of respect a Korean teacher gets from the students  - not that it's not possible or inadvisable - simply that if you're new here and you feel the discrepancy, it's best not to assume it's because the kids don't like you.

And never mind "Yes, it didn't" - a popular South African expression is "Ja nee", which is Afrikaans for "yes no"...


My students seem nothing like the description, though.  Maybe it's because I teach elementary and they were writing more with older students in mind?  My kids aren't nearly as shy/respectful as I would have thought from the article.  Actually, they often demand money from me when I walk by!

Yeah, the kids' behaviour surprised me when I came over here. I too read all the literature saying how respectful and shy there are. Sure, they bow to you in the hallways, but in the classroom, they're pretty much the same as North American kids.

Note the date on the article: 2004. Much of the research comes from before 2000. Most of the elementary kids that we are teaching are half a generation behind this article, and as such have had some (not much, but some) exposure to modern teaching methods. I can also assume that shifting corporal punishment out of the curriculum has caused this as well.

Nonetheless, this was a good read. I've read most of these topics before, but in particular, being an amateur linguist myself, I like how they went into the specific phonetic and grammatical difficulties the students face. I feel that the notion of "Foreign Language Ability" vs "Mental/Spiritual Maturity" is one that we as teachers do not focus on enough--it's always nice to be able to teach the students things they can actually immediately use once in a while.


  • Song6754
  • Explorer

    • 7

    • September 27, 2010, 10:36:05 am
    • Korea
I think the cultural difference matters than any other filters. We dont teach and they dont learn differences between eastern and western cultures.


  • luckycounty
  • Waygookin

    • 24

    • August 07, 2011, 04:17:41 pm
    • Seosan City S. Korea
I am sure no one minds me writing something here in order to be allowed to download the article.


  • hardenca
  • Waygookin

    • 14

    • August 21, 2011, 05:52:51 pm
    • United States
Thanks for the useful article. I'm just starting out as a English teacher in Korea and I want to read and learn as much as I can.


  • srgray2
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • September 04, 2011, 07:29:56 am
    • Anyang
Thanks for the useful article! I just starting teaching and I have been having difficulty understanding what works best for the students and why...this really helps!


  • memoon1
  • Explorer

    • 6

    • September 04, 2011, 10:25:14 pm
    • Korea
Thanks! It definitely opened up my eyes to the way Native speakers learn english oppose to Students that learn English in America.


  • raven kat
  • Waygookin

    • 10

    • September 07, 2011, 12:44:42 pm
    • Naju
this was a very informative read--thank you so much for posting it! it helps me understand certain behaviors and certain difficulties my students have with some sounds better


  • skippyb02
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • October 11, 2011, 07:54:22 am
    • daegu, south korea
Excellent article! thanks for posting it!!


Does anyone have an essays or articles that deal with the teen suicide rate among young Koreans because of school stress/pressure.  I've heard that the statistics for this are very high but have not found any specific numbers or prevention sites..