Category Archives: Cultural Experiences

31 Days of Korean – Post 4 – Input: Where my walnut at?

This gallery contains 1 photo.

For those of you who teach or research EFL you know that every theory of second language acquisition acknowledges the role of input. This seems completely obvious – a learner needs something to chew on. How teachers select and structure … Continue reading

More Galleries | 7 Comments

31 Days of Korean – Post 3 – Verbs

This gallery contains 1 photo.

An overnight at my wife’s parents’ place in Seoul is a perfect time to get some chunks of honorific language pounded into my brain. In addition to the inevitable feast of barbequed pork, a visit with the in-laws always provides … Continue reading

More Galleries | 5 Comments

31 Days of Korean – Post 2 – Level test

This gallery contains 1 photo.

The time to begin most things is ten years ago. – Mignon McLaughlin, The Complete Neurotic’s Notebook, 1981   Opportunity’s natural foe is procrastination. Why do we delay doing work? Is it the cognitive heavy-lift? I guess it is. The brain … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

31 Days of Korean – Post 1 – Note to self: learn Korean

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Deep breath. I’m about to take a major step towards achieving some measurable progress in Korean. I almost wrote ‘my Korean’ there, but I don’t yet have the linguistic chops to claim ownership over any part of the language. Since … Continue reading

More Galleries | 3 Comments

Thou shalt flaunt the rules

This gallery contains 1 photo.

As their inaugural message to new university students, a lot of teachers choose to—quote quote—lay down the law. Delivered in commandment form, negatively charged rules enumerate classroom thou-shalt-nots, purportedly to add structure to the semester and remind students that some … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Understanding why

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Teachers and classroom researchers have for a long time been obsessed with the subject of student motivation—often described as ‘the intensity and direction of effort’. Learners who display low motivation are deemed to need some treatment, and those who exhibit … Continue reading

More Galleries | 1 Comment

Part 3/3: Look Mom, an A+!

This gallery contains 2 photos.

‘80% of success is showing up.’ That’s the famous quote attributed to the legendary filmmaker Woody Allen. The number strikes me as a bit high, but his point is clear: positive outcomes in life are achieved by action, by being … Continue reading

More Galleries | 1 Comment

Part 2/3: A Secret Look at an EFL Teacher’s Grading System

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Whether they verbalize them or not, every teacher goes into every class with a set of operating assumptions about how students learn. Here are mine: 1) learning English in Korea requires equal measures of inspiration and perspiration; 2) great teachers … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Part 1/3: Trouble with the Curve

This gallery contains 1 photo.

At Yeungnam University teachers are often heard sharing their beliefs about ‘curving’ their students’ grades, the semestrial ritual involving a lot of paperwork. Most of the time classroom outcomes look a lot like this: But let’s not confuse the naturally-ocurring … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Should Teachers Get Social?

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Young adult Korean university students are notoriously unmotivated to develop proficiency in English. Most non-native-speaker-taught English classes are the pre-ballpoint-pen teacher-fronted variety with a focus on the explanation of grammar rules. Consequently English is seen by the majority of young … Continue reading

More Galleries | 5 Comments

Test What You Teach or Teach What You Test?

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Standardized testing has its fans and detractors. People in support of these evaluation tools point to qualitative studies that correlate student achievement with standardized tests. The con side of the debate also has some compelling arguments that suggest using standardized … Continue reading

More Galleries | 1 Comment

Dear Diary

This gallery contains 1 photo.

It wasn’t until after I boarded the 747 bound for South Korea in the fall of 2003 that I had ever considered keeping a diary.  In fact, to be fair, it wasn’t my idea at all. In the airport moments … Continue reading

More Galleries | 4 Comments

Changes

This gallery contains 1 photo.

As students, we have beliefs formed and catalogued by years of experience on the receiving end of instruction. But these beliefs are not etched in stone; an event or an individual or a method or a process can come along–should … Continue reading

More Galleries | 5 Comments

The Paradox of Silence

This gallery contains 1 photo.

It is safe to say that the EIL teaching community has accepted the communicative approach to task-based English language learning. Theoretically, teacher-fronted classes that had a focus on explicit grammar instruction have been replaced by student-centered activity-based classes that are … Continue reading

More Galleries | 3 Comments

닭이먼저냐, 달걀먼저냐?

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Native speaking English teachers have been on a mission to expose their students to ‘authentic’ materials for generations. At least since the communicative approach to teaching English gained traction at most language schools around the world. Over the years, materials deemed … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment