There is nothing more deceptively challenging as teaching English. I majored in Finance and Japanese and came to Corea to, among other things, discover the culture of a nation almost entirely unknown to nearly every American of Caucasian descent; to grow introspectively in patience and understanding in the scheme of the greater social structure of Corean society (primarily that which concerns life in Corean middle schools); to eat Corean food, and—most significantly—to spend time with my girlfriend of then one-and-a-half years and get to know her family, where she grew up, and (with a bit of luck) blossom together in a beautiful and meaningful relationship. What I discovered was that teaching English in Corea, though on many levels a rewarding and enlightening experience, is a land laced with mines of depression and setbacks, frustrations and stress. It is a process of self-discovery that needs the very best of one’s personal determination and a mind so free and empty so that all words and daily activities, all information of any kind, can simply pass through your consciousness without maiming it permanently.
Playing in a Stream
When I was asked recently about motivation I realized that the topic and therefore problem of motivating students was one that actually dealt not with the students but with you, the teacher, and your own level of motivation. Continue reading
In an effort to assist any learner of any language get started in their exploration of said language, here is a list of the top 10 ways not to go about beginning your studies. This list has been formed out of 10 ways that I tried to learn new languages but then failed epically. May you not make the same mistakes that I did.
10) Easy Phrase Books. Unless you intend to kill your desire to learn any language right from the start, I suggest you steer clear of such books as these. Books that offer 101 easy phrases in ____________ (insert language here) are sure ways to get frustrated and give up. The content is often scattered and colloquial, filled with phrases that are at a level far beyond that of the beginner or even intermediate learner. I have picked up books in Japanese and even Spanish and been befuddled as to the content. Oftentimes, such everyday phrases are so wrapped in complex grammar structures and vernacular that there is no way that any learner could actually learn any of the individual parts. For example, in Spanish
Could you speak more slowly? – Puedes hablar más despacio, por favor?
If you speak Spanish already, you don’t count. Please take a minute to imagine yourself completely incapable of any expression in Spanish, and your pronunciation is horrible. How can you be expected to learn anything (as a beginner) from such a phrase? The book this was from has no explanation on what any of the words mean, nor is there an explanation on conjugation of verbs etc. It is a dead-end for language learning.
9) Repetitive Drama/Cartoon Viewing. I once had a friend who, in his attempt to learn Japanese, watched anime…a lot of anime. In fact, he had so convinced himself that he could learn Japanese simply by listening and absorbing the language that he watched over 100 episodes of Naruto or One Piece before he decided to call it quits. What was his result? Very basic listening skills at best, and right next to zero comprehension when it came to grammar and building his own unique sentences. Though, admittedly, his vocabulary was okay (unfortunately limited to such phrases as found in cartoons, however.) Continue reading
Hello everyone! I just wanted to post that I have added another video to my ESL Videos page (as well as to my YouTube page, NuevoKimochi). It involves my after school students giving a speech about their new pet alien. There are 8 students and each is just about as tired as a college student at the end of midterms but they manage to pull of a fantastic performance. They prepped for 30minutes at the most (that includes drawing their alien and writing a short description) so please keep that in mind.
They are a pleasure to teach and always good sports about whatever I throw at them. Finally, I am quite aware that I am still a novice when it comes to teaching so I am more than open to constructive criticism.
Until my next written post I am