Category Archives: English Learning Blog

TOEIC Score=Toe in the Door

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English skills are essential to a country’s economic future. If businesses do not have dependable English speakers on staff, how can they compete on a global scale? Market forces, therefore, drive English language education in Korea: companies train staff in ‘business English’, … Continue reading

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Cheater!

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Ok, so let’s all agree that any form of academic dishonesty is a big no-no. From glancing at another student’s test to more devious forms of cheating, it’s all bad, despite what has been said on the subject of culture … Continue reading

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Free rice (and your brain)!

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Free Rice! I’ve been playing around with a great vocabulary game at www.freerice.com, which has a very lofty and worthwhile goal. But allow me to use the title to expound a little on the subject of vocabulary. Let’s look at the … Continue reading

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Prof. Beatty on Mixed Ability Classrooms

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Anaheim University’s Dr. Beatty gives a terrific overview talk on a big challenge for ESL/EFL instructors. Dr. Ken Beatty has taught at colleges and universities in Canada, Asia and the Middle East. His publications include more than 100 textbooks for learning … Continue reading

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John on EFL/ESL Writing

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Academic writing is the most overlooked skill. Listen to John talk about the basics of writing with renowned Prof. Jeff Lebow. John is an expert in academic writing principles creative and academic writing interview techniques

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Welcome to KOTESOL

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The role of KOTESOL is to promote scholarship, disseminate information, and facilitate cross-cultural understanding among persons concerned with teaching and learning of English in Korea. KOTESOL International Conferences are held annually in Seoul. Check out the KOTESOL website for more … Continue reading

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Would you be good enough to read this?

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Different situations in life call for different communication styles. When it comes to expressing ourselves verbally, we make decisions about what we say and how we say it based on the status of the person we are talking to. In … Continue reading

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Say buh-bye to delayed corrective feedback

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A major challenge with language learning classes in general, and EFL writing classes in particular, is the large gaps in time between learning opportunities. Generally, students come to class, do tasks, maybe a little homework, and then go about their … Continue reading

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Be Present

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Attendance in class is a requirement in education systems, like universities. Teachers take roll calls to determine who is ‘present’, and thus, who is ‘absent’. “Romeo?” a teacher will call out. “Here!” Romeo will reply, and a tick is placed … Continue reading

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Edmodo – Facebook for students

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The Annual Daejeon-Chungcheong KOTESOL Thanksgiving Conference 2015 Edmodo – Facebook for Students – John Healy (Download the PowerPoint presentation or view it here) Abstract Edmodo is a free app and website that brings a powerful education tool into your classroom in the guise of a … Continue reading

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Wait. What? No. ? 기다려. 뭐? 아니.

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My sensitivities are still poked when I hear a Korean student say “wait” when I ask for a deliverable. Equally perturbing is the “what?”. Possibly worse is the flat “no” made worse still by the addition of the crossed index … Continue reading

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Ditch the script

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I’ve conducted hundreds of job interviews with non-native English speakers over the years. A high percentage successfully anticipate the stock questions, no surprise. What continues to puzzle me is the extent to which so many Korean job-seekers over-rehearse. Generally, an … Continue reading

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The informality escalation

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In the land of second language speakers, the native speaker is not king. He just thinks he is. In interactions with and among non-native speakers, English is nothing more than a blunt tool in the service of verbal transactions. The … Continue reading

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Plan to prepare, prepare to plan

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A lot of what teachers do involves planning. With varying degrees of thoroughness, in-field instructors are constantly creating schemes and means to smooth classroom interactions and facilitate learning outcomes. Good teacher-devised learning plans, whether at the program level or the … Continue reading

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Pump the breaks

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A significant part of what I do as an EFL teacher is based on interaction. I am continually thinking about better ways to teach it. I am constantly surrounded by people engaged in it. In my classroom I am at … Continue reading

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Be aware. Sometimes, beware.

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Learners engaged in English classroom ‘conversations’ rely on question/answer exchanges that have all the characteristics of a coldhearted interrogation and very few of a spontaneous chat. One obvious reason is that the impoverished language resources of beginner EFL students interfere … Continue reading

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Your office awaits

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ETS, the American company that administers the TOEIC suite of assessments, claims that their tests are used in 120 countries, but the test was born in Japan and continues to hold considerable sway over the career paths of a vast … Continue reading

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Fore!

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My fiancée Kahlen, a specialist in online English conversation instruction, recently asked me to warm up one of her EFL students before their half-hour session started. The Skype call began punctually and I was greeted by the crisp image of … Continue reading

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Good Language Skills, Bad Communication Strategies

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It’s that time of year. Ho ho ho. And don’t forget A B C: English teachers all over Korea are busy assessing students’ speaking abilities. For the assessed, this can be a trying time spent anticipating common questions and often … Continue reading

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In Beginner EFL Writing, Structure First, Style Later

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Korean freshmen are characterized by, among other things, a need for highly structured English language experiences. Particularly in writing, students tend to be insufficiently educated about the structural and organizational features of an academic paragraph. The result is written work … Continue reading

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