Wednesday, 4 August 2010

先生 - 선생

Good morning.

It wasn't that a good day for me. For more than 7 weeks that I have been an English teacher to Korean students, I still need to make a lot of adjustments for my teaching career.


It's really important to observe patience especially to those Koreans who have very limited knowledge in English. As with some Filipinos, Koreans find English as a challenging language. In the first place, English is not the official language of Korea (north and south), and Koreans do not usually speak English. Plus, they are less exposed to English media, that is why it's really challenging for them to speak it, despite the fact that English is being taught in schools throughout Korea.

I guess, you know now what I am pointing about. I must confess, I lack PATIENCE. And I need MORE PATIENCE.

Now let me share you a story about my teaching experience to a little boy. This boy is only 10 years old. I could still remember that I was already a good conversant in English when I was only 10. Perhaps, I was virtually exposed to English media and I was able to speak it, the mere fact that I speak Tagalog and Kapampangan at home. Back again to my story, this little boy is fond of playing Maple Story.

This little boy is somehow a good follower. He is not hesitant of following the words that I instruct him to follow. Nevertheless, he still needs effort to develop his vocabulary, comprehension, and grammar. He is only familiar with the simple greetings, such as "Good morning!" and "How are you?". Aside from those, it is hard for him to comprehend some instructions and statements.

Awhile ago, I was conducting a test for him. I already provided simple instructions and concrete examples for many times, but he didn't get it. Plus, he keeps on saying the words that I was saying, as if I was instructing him to repeat after me. Moreover, he was saying some inappropriate things in Korean that really pissed me off. I was about to show my anger to my student but I don't want to ruin the policy of professionalism as an English teacher. In the first place, that little boy is still young, and it's hard for him to adjust in English.

As what I have learned from this moment, here are some important notes that I would like to share:

Level 1 – BEGINNER

1. The student required the questions to be repeated more than twice before they could understand.
2. The teacher had to adjust her speech or speak very slowly and clearly.
3. Korean translations were given to help the student’s comprehension.
4. The teacher had to listen carefully because the student was whispering, resorting to speaking the native language, OR became completely silent.
5. The student needed a lot of keywords and key situations to understand a question.
6. Spoon-feeding of answers was required.
7. The class was teacher-directed.

1. The student had an almost non-existent vocabulary.
2. The student was not able to understand and his responses lacked expression.
3. The teacher had to provide almost every definition of words and phrases.
4. Words and phrases were always taken out of context or misconstrued by the student.
5. The student was able to recognize basic and simple vocabulary words that are most commonly heard.

1. The student lacked the ability to construct meaningful sentences.
2. Grammar was erratic at times, and sometimes incomprehensible.
3. The student responded with individual words or silence.
4. Communication was hampered due to inability to compose sentences.
5. The teacher had to aid the student at all times.

1. The native tongue completely influenced pronunciation and intonation, which made English words difficult to comprehend.
2. The student had great difficulty in pronouncing words with the letter L, R, W, P, and F.
3. The teacher had to guide the student several times before correct pronunciation was attained.
4. Tail tones were very evident “ee” and “uh”.

1. The student entered into significant pauses that disrupted communication.
2. There was a lot of dead air and insufficient responses from the student.
3. The student had very limited communication skills.
4. The student had the propensity to use the native language and sound like gibberish.
5. The teacher spoon-fed the student with answers.

I should keep all of these in my mind. And I pray that my little student will be able to learn English as soon as possible. Good luck to me!

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