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  • Amerz100
  • Adventurer

    • 64

    • October 10, 2010, 12:41:11 pm
    • Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do
I have recently been asked by my coteacher to type up all the dialog in the text books and that memorization of the dialogs in the text books has been requested by the Chungnam office of Education.

How lame is that! Can someone please go and knock some heads together at the Chungnam Education office.

Anyone working in the Education sector knows that simply memorizing text books ... especially in the field of language acquisition knows that its not the best learning method..... idiots!!
Amerz


  • flasyb
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1901

    • November 30, 2010, 12:10:03 pm
    • South Korea
Are you high school? My kids are doing that too. There's some kind of competition going down. We graded their memorisation of a dialogue in a speaking test recently. Seeing one kid regurgitate a 3 way dialogue about cell phones in class without any apparent distinction between people, made it appear like they were psychos engaging in some kind of internal monologue but in a manner completely devoid of emotion. Then, they had to write an essay about their opinions on using cell phones in class. Just to restate that, THEIR opinions. My co-teacher gave me two sets of essays to grade. One of which was the cell phone in class essay in which the students had simply written the memorised dialogues. So in an opinion essay, students wrote out the dialogue between "minho" and some other person from the book. I told him since none of the students had written their opinions, I couldn't grade it. It would have been literally marking the text book.

The other essay was OK. How can English help you achieve your dream? There were some creative answers for that but the other one made me despair about the whole purpose of the English programme in Korea. The people who came up with the idea to have individual kids memorise 3 way dialogues are indeed total idiots.
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

We are not "guests" in Korea. Korea didn't invite us over for Pimms in the garden. We are paid employees.


  • mdowie
  • Explorer

    • 6

    • March 28, 2011, 03:35:32 pm
    • Asan
Having recently attended a lecture by the head of Chungnam office of Education I can confirm that this was indeed the prime goal this year (I teach elementary).

It seems that despite being a prosperous area Chungnam is coming in 2nd last in terms of English level tests. Obviously being able to recite and memorise the dialogue contained in textbooks will rectify this problem...


  • andyfoggy
  • Super Waygook

    • 357

    • December 07, 2010, 12:11:55 pm
    • South Korea
Yep, same here middle school, all grades and at both schools
I know there is a competition in June sometime :)


  • Mezoti97
  • The Legend

    • 2703

    • April 14, 2011, 03:02:50 pm
    • South Korea
I have recently been asked by my coteacher to type up all the dialog in the text books and that memorization of the dialogs in the text books has been requested by the Chungnam office of Education.

How lame is that! Can someone please go and knock some heads together at the Chungnam Education office.

Anyone working in the Education sector knows that simply memorizing text books ... especially in the field of language acquisition knows that its not the best learning method..... idiots!!


Wow, that is ludicrous -- I agree. I've seen quite a number of Korean students here who attempt to study and learn English by just blindly/robotically memorizing English words/phrases, but don't understand what the words/phrases mean or how to use/apply them correctly at all. For me, that alone is a good example of how just strictly relying on memorization alone for learning a foreign language doesn't work. Of course, memorization to some extent is necessary for language acquisition, but it's certainly not the "one and only" method, much less the sole solution to successful language acquisiton, no.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 02:55:43 pm by Mezoti97 »


  • Seoulian
  • Veteran

    • 190

    • September 13, 2010, 08:09:40 am
    • Seoul
I am currently marking tests that have been clearly memorized. I am near insanity.

By the way, according to the tests they wrote many Korean middle school students are short. They will solve this problem by jumping rope 50 times a day.  O.o


  • confusedsafferinkorea
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5406

    • October 08, 2010, 01:02:32 pm
    • Zhubei, Hsinchu Province, Taiwan
    more
Having recently attended a lecture by the head of Chungnam office of Education I can confirm that this was indeed the prime goal this year (I teach elementary).

It seems that despite being a prosperous area Chungnam is coming in 2nd last in terms of English level tests. Obviously being able to recite and memorise the dialogue contained in textbooks will rectify this problem...

Unbelievable....... ..... how can anyone who has any teaching experience make that kind of ruling?  Clearly the officials are not Educators !!!!
There is no known medical cure for stupidity!


Yes, memorizing English is the best way to become good at English!

That was my impression of the Korean Educational Board. WHAT are they thinking? This is a perfect reason of why Koreans are either bad at English or take A LOT TIME to learn English. Memorization is not cutting it. You need practice at doing real things. My co-teacher asked me this the other day, "In an American full-service gas station, what does fill her up mean?" I responded with, "WTF is a full-service gas station? Those haven't existed in my region in over 50 years. Why are you teaching them this?" She said, "It is in the textbook." W - T - F ? ? ?


  • wafflebunny
  • Super Waygook

    • 320

    • October 10, 2010, 02:25:13 pm
    • Daejeon, South Korea
Having recently attended a lecture by the head of Chungnam office of Education I can confirm that this was indeed the prime goal this year (I teach elementary).

It seems that despite being a prosperous area Chungnam is coming in 2nd last in terms of English level tests. Obviously being able to recite and memorise the dialogue contained in textbooks will rectify this problem...

Unbelievable....... ..... how can anyone who has any teaching experience make that kind of ruling?  Clearly the officials are not Educators !!!!

And obviously they DRINK their lunch, too. :-X Some of these officials are fools.


  • infogoddess
  • Featured Contributor

    • 349

    • March 03, 2010, 10:18:59 am
    • Wuxi, Jiangsu, China
Yes, memorizing English is the best way to become good at English!

That was my impression of the Korean Educational Board. WHAT are they thinking? This is a perfect reason of why Koreans are either bad at English or take A LOT TIME to learn English. Memorization is not cutting it. You need practice at doing real things. My co-teacher asked me this the other day, "In an American full-service gas station, what does fill her up mean?" I responded with, "WTF is a full-service gas station? Those haven't existed in my region in over 50 years. Why are you teaching them this?" She said, "It is in the textbook." W - T - F ? ? ?

probably written by someone from New Jersey or Oregon where self-service is still prohibited by tate law
"The Bhagavad Gita - that ancient Indian Yogic text - says that it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection. So now I have started living my own life." Elizabeth Gilbert


  • The.it.girl
  • Veteran

    • 123

    • November 11, 2010, 07:15:27 pm
    • Chungnam, Korea
 I have to do the same crazy stuff with my students for the competition in June, I think Its ridiculous and I feel so so so sorry for my kids, Last week we did our first review and i waS blown away that some of them already memorized 3/4 of it!! None of what they are supposed to memorize is beneficial to them in any sense!!! KOREA NEED TO REALIZE VERY FAST THAT MEMORIZING SOMETHING IN ENGLISH DOESN'T MEAN THAT YOU UNDERSTOOD ANYTHING OR THAT YOU CAN NOW SPEAK ENGLISH!!!!! >:( >:(

[mod edit for language]
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 08:10:50 am by summerthyme »


  • scravens
  • Adventurer

    • 45

    • April 28, 2010, 03:55:34 pm
    • mokpo
Hey man I am from oregon and we have full service gas stations.  ;D

It only took me a month to realize that the language program here in Korea is bs. Memorization is the key and sadly we are the middle men in this madness. I remember grading a speaking test at my English town. There were kids coming over from the adjoining Elementary School for the test and they were all shaking in their boots. The poor little kids were all going over the dialogue in there heads before hand. When they finally sat down in front of the teachers, the majority of them were overtaken by their anxiety and forgot the answer to the simplest of questions. If they couldn't remember the first couple of words from the dialogue then they would freeze up and start to cry. Now if the Office of Ed actually consulted an English teacher then they would know that this is the wrong tactic to take.


  • Maureen
  • Veteran

    • 191

    • October 27, 2010, 11:48:32 am
look on the bright side...your children will be able to get jobs as teachers in Korea ;D. If not, there is always China.



I do not consider memorization completely absurd as a part of language acquisition.  Far from it.  It can be helpful.  I DO think there are far better things they could be memorizing.

In my own history of public school education, I memorized the pre-amble to the Consitution of the United States of America in 8th grade, and the Bill of Rights in 9th grade.  That was required for two social studies classes in the mid-1970's, and even native speakers can struggle with memorization, but it is not at all a bad skill to develop at a young age.  For high school English classes, I memorized Ozymanidius and a Shakespearean sonnet.  I memorized the lines of a play for one character in a drama class.  All along the way I had the lyrics to many, many songs, both old and modern, tucked away in memory.

When I got into Tolkien after 8th grade, I had Stone Troll, "Gil-Galad was and elven king...", and Galadriel's farewell, "Namarie" (in Elvish Quenya!--or is it Sindarin?), all memorized with some diligence.

All of that contributed to my overall literacy.

In my efforts to learn German about 10 years ago, I had German language DVD''s of popular American films (with German dubbing) sometimes playing repeatedly as background while I did other things like washing dishes or folding laundry.  (These days I would load a German translation of The Hobbit on my iPod and listen to it while hiking a mountain).  At first, I was just acquainting myself better with the rhythms and cadances of the language.  Eventually, I spontaneously commited some of the dialogues to memory and that served as a model, retrievable for use when I wanted to express something using a similar or related grammatical structure in German.

This worked for learning a new language because I already knew the plot in English.  That way I could just focus on the vocabulary and grammar.

Something like that would be appropiate for young Koreans, but there is precious little popular text common to both cultures.  The only thing that comes to my mind is Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, which is available in both Korean and the original English.  I do not know how popular it is among Korean children.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 10:11:43 am by ruraljeolla »


  • bec188
  • Explorer

    • 9

    • March 08, 2011, 07:13:43 pm
    • Jochiwon, South Korea
I agree that memorizing is not the BEST way to learn a language...but it's far from the worst. I have some students who have a fairly large English vocabulary but their pronunciation is terrible. With the text book I know what they're trying to say and I can help them correct it.


The system here really baffles me. Would it do any good to protest or something? Eventually, someone has to speak up. If we're here for the kids, why stand back while they waste their time ineffectively learning a language?


I found this tactic was common in Japan as well when I went to a Japanese university on a year abroad and was given advice (at intermediate level) by one of the most respected teachers there to memorise the scripts and dialogues and repeat many times to myself in a mirror each day...

Another thing they had there were writing assignments (open exam question) that were 50 minutes long and obviously geared towards people spending a lot of time to write a good script before going on to memorise it and just writing down the memorisation, not a method I believed would assist my language acquisition.  I believe essays should be given date deadlines so you can write them at your own pace but with a sensible deadline (and not be hampered if you happen to be really good but write slowly).

Slightly OT, but shows that in East Asia the methodology can go both ways.  Slightly more on topic when I covered a "private" class for a friend I had  group of middle-school girls and was told they were learning a specific chapter of a textbook so I asked one girl to read the dialogue for the chapter, at which point she closed the book then recited the whole dialogue from memory.  I asked her to read the next chapter to truly guage her reading ability and saw a massive difference.


  • smippy
  • Adventurer

    • 46

    • October 15, 2011, 08:07:15 pm
    • South Korea
I'm in Chungnam and there was an English textbook memorization contest not too long ago in my county. The dialogues were ridiculous and often had grammatical errors. The NET guidebook that my co-teacher gave me mentions a few times that memorizing the textbook is the main priority for this year (smh). As others have said, memorization does have its place in language acquisition, however, when it's executed poorly, it becomes mundane and unhelpful as we're witnessing now. :\


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 1827

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
    • Seogwipo, Jeju Island
    more
Make them memorize in translation the 200 most-used English verbs !!!! Now THAT could be useful.


  • flasyb
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1901

    • November 30, 2010, 12:10:03 pm
    • South Korea
Yeah, feels bad, man.

I teach at a boys' high school, and for their 'speaking tests' they were asked to memorize a two-way dialogue and recite both parts. To me. And I was to grade them.

I told my coteachers that this was ludicrous and that this wasn't 'speaking' and they said it was the only fair way to grade students.

Memorization has nothing to do with speaking. If you want to test their intonation and pronounciation or whatever, let them just read it from the book. If you want to test their speaking ability, let them speak. Memorizing and roboticizing tests neither of these.


Eff.

Are you in Chungnam too? My school just had its official opening after moving to a new building. Turns out the superintendent of the Chungnam MOE is an ex-English teacher who firmly believes that memorising the textbook is the best way to learn English. Presumably, it's what he did at school 40 years ago, it worked for him so let's ignore the last 40 years of research into and implementation of ESL/EFL teaching techniques and stick to memorisation, eh?

In his honour, some of the best 1st grade students recited a few pages from the textbook. I helped them with their pronunciation after school a few times. After a week of memorisation, their pronunciation had actually improved quite a bit. That is to say, their pronunciation of their particular textbook pages.

The best part was the brown nosing. One second grade student was given a speech to read (not memorise) by the head of English (nice guy, doesn't make me desk-warm and totally has my back). It contained the phrase "memorising the textbook is the best way to learn English" no less than 4 times and suggested that after the success of the superintendent's new program of memorisation, it would surely only be a matter of time before such a program was rolled out across the nation. The writer of the speech, evidently, is looking for a promotion.
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

We are not "guests" in Korea. Korea didn't invite us over for Pimms in the garden. We are paid employees.