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  • picaroons
  • Waygookin

    • 14

    • September 01, 2010, 07:46:45 am
    • Boseong, S. Korea
Pen Pal programs
« on: April 10, 2011, 08:45:02 pm »
Has anyone here tried to start a Pen Pal program? I briefly had one working last semester with a friend from home, but the language barrier proved to be a bit too high. I would like to try it again with non-Korean students though. I think the kids would enjoy it more and put more effort into it if the other students were foreigners.
There are a few sites that claim to be able to link teachers up so they can exchange letters, but I don't know how reputable they are.
Has anyone tried something similar or have any advice?
Thanks,


Re: Pen Pal programs
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2011, 09:10:22 am »
I found a school in my hometown that offered Korean classes and we exchanged letters with them. My students really enjoyed it and the language barrier wasn't a huge problem but the difference in schedule was. Because our vacation times and start of the school year didn't really match up, it was difficult to keep up with.


  • Yu_Bumsuk
  • The Legend

    • 2341

    • March 03, 2011, 02:10:36 pm
    • Hicksville, ROK
Re: Pen Pal programs
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2011, 09:48:05 am »
My students are currently exchanging letters with kids from an American and a Turkish school. It's a lot of work but they love it. In fact my CT, who has 25 years experience, called it 'the best idea ever'. She said that never in her life has she seen kids so excited bo getting something in English. It's also the only chance most of them will have to communicate with a foreigner their own age.

They only big draw-back is that you as the teacher have to take care of everything for it to work, from getting stationary paper to going to the post office. All the same, it's something we as FTs can arrange that I've never heard of a KET doing, so at least it feels like I'm doing something very worthwhile.


Re: Pen Pal programs
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2011, 09:56:10 am »
I have a pen pal program going with EFL students in Finland.  It takes a LOT of time to keep running:  printing letters, distributing letters, supporting letter-writing, collecting letters, scanning letters, and then doing what I can to help the other teacher do the same in her own school.  The kids have roughly comparable language levels, though, so it's enjoyable for everybody.  I can't recommend a site, though:  I established relationships with their school the old-fashioned way (networking and luck). 

The different school schedules ARE a challenge, especially the February/March stretch, but it's still going.  I'm hoping to keep it running until the end of 2011, and then turn the students loose to maintain or not maintain their relationships.  (Half my participating students are in Grade 6 now, so they'll be beyond my reach.)  It can be done... it's just a lot of work.  :)


Re: Pen Pal programs
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2011, 10:00:07 am »
I was a teacher in the United States, so I e-mailed a former coworker to pair up pen-pals.  Vacation times make penpal writing a bit of a stuggle.  My students here write on scratch paper and I scan them into a PDF file.  If I didn't have a scanner, I'd either type the letters up myself or take pictures of them.  The teacher in the states has the students type of their letters and she sends them as .doc files.

 I teach at a very low-level high school and only 2 of my classes are participating in the penpal writing.  Before they get their replies, I read through the new letters and create a powerpoint to show pictures/translations of the words that I'm fairly certain their unfamiliar with.  (15 letters--there are about 50 words on each of my ppts)  I spend one day to let them read/begin writing and then the other day to finish writing.  It is definitely a lot of work and students both here and in the states are lazy so sometimes not everyone gets a letter and some students refuse to write letters. 

For the students that do write, my coteacher helps with the students when they need translating and I help with spelling and a little translation--if I can figure out what they're talking about with hand gestures.   I also provide questions/topics for them to write in their responses.  (This keeps the letters somewhat focused and there are more repeated 'vocabulary' words.)


  • candiep20
  • Waygookin

    • 13

    • April 06, 2011, 12:13:23 pm
    • Gangneung, South Korea
Re: Pen Pal programs
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2011, 12:05:03 pm »
I joined a website called 'Epals' where teachers from all over the world can connect, share ideas about their lessons and also find other classrooms to connect with for pen pal exchange or online video discussions etc. The website address is http://www.epals.com. There are usually some messages on there from teachers wanting their classes to connect with another class in another country, all you have to do is reply or post a message up for your own class.


  • beegriffy
  • Adventurer

    • 30

    • April 11, 2011, 08:29:55 am
    • Gochang, South Korea
Re: Pen Pal programs
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2011, 12:11:33 pm »
i started a pen pal program with a few classes at the hagwon i taught at. they sent letters to friends of mine in america. it started off well, and it got the kids really excited. however, it took loads of time for the letters to get back and forth. the kids would ask me everyday, 'has my letter come?' and i would always have to say, 'no, but soon.' some of my friends were pretty unreliable, and would just forget to write letters. it had it's pros and cons, basically.


  • picaroons
  • Waygookin

    • 14

    • September 01, 2010, 07:46:45 am
    • Boseong, S. Korea
Re: Pen Pal programs
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2011, 09:32:57 pm »
I joined a website called 'Epals' where teachers from all over the world can connect, share ideas about their lessons and also find other classrooms to connect with for pen pal exchange or online video discussions etc. The website address is http://www.epals.com. There are usually some messages on there from teachers wanting their classes to connect with another class in another country, all you have to do is reply or post a message up for your own class.
Thank you so much. I'll check it out first thing tomorrow.