ESL

Korea Blog Podcast: Korea’s English Fever, Or English Cancer?

Do all South Korean students need English in order to be a success? And why are students learning to score well on tests rather than to actually speak English? Seoul-based essayist, broadcaster, & Los Angeles Review of Books Korea Blog writer Colin Marshall joins Korea FM’s Chance Dorland to discuss the negative consequences of Korea’s ESL industry he describes as a cancer.


Reflections on my time in Busan for weteachkorea.com

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A few weeks ago my friend Luke, who I travelled to Japan with a few years back and played football alongside while I was living in Korea, contacted me with regard to writing a lifestyle/opinion piece on my time in Busan for his new website; weteachkorea.com


Korean Students Write the Darndest Things

Part of my job as a high school English teacher in South Korea involved giving out, and then correcting, weekly creative writing assignments. It quickly became one of my favorite parts of the experience, as it allowed my students to apply the language with more freedom and personality. It also helped me to get to know them in a more private way. From unintentionally funny remarks, to profound realizations, their writing was a joy to read.

Below is a small collection of some of my favorite excerpts. I’ve also taken the liberty of underscoring their messages with related images. Perhaps this could have been made into some sort of class project… Enjoy!


Vlog Entry #20: One EPIK Year in Review

Tomorrow marks my last day as an English teacher with EPIK. Without a doubt, this year was full of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced, but also the greatest adventures and people. As Avicii says in this video’s song: “All this time I was finding myself, and I didn’t know I was lost.”


Who Wins: ‘Mr. Bean’ or ‘100 Angry Grandmothers’?

Hello, fellow ESL teachers. Do you have 10 minutes to kill in a class? Have you already shown your students every (currently available on YouTube) episode of the animated Mr. Bean series? Are your kids bored to death of Hangman or–in the case of South Korea–“Nunchi Game,” where they each stand up in the order of words or numbers on the board and the last one to stand is out? Do you have a class that is relatively advanced in English and can offer some creative discourse? Or, do you have a class that barely offers input at all?


Day 1 of English Camp. I did a pirate theme this time. For a...



Day 1 of English Camp. I did a pirate theme this time. For a snack we made some pirate ships out of apples and cheese. ^^ #summercamp #esl #korea #epik #smoe


Sneaky Selfies, Karma, and Loneliness

Right now I’m sitting in a place called Cafe Sunrise. As I type this, there is an elderly gentleman with a gold watch on sits in front of me. He’s in sunglasses smoking a cigarette. I caught him taking selfies, and thought oh how cute.  Then I looked closer, and noticed that his selfies were carefully composed to feature me typing on my computer in the background of every shot. 

 

why obsessed

 

I eventually decided to just go up to him and strike a pose.


10 EPIK Haikus

As my year with EPIK comes to a close, I find myself thinking a lot about the experience. Below are 10 haikus that reflect what I’ve learned while living, teaching and traveling in South Korea (though really they’re applicable to anyone teaching or living abroad anywhere!).

 


Mean Girls

How do you teach mean girls?

Today, my evening class contained arrogant, catty, and peevish young women.

These kids are fourteen, so I felt like I could talk to them as if they were young adults. WRONG. I allowed them to sit wherever they wanted at first, and I let them to snack. Those two minor allowances turned them WILD! They weren’t listening to me AT ALL, and were virtually ignoring everything but their own conversations. When I tried to split them up, they obstinately refused. They refuse to engage with anyone they consider uncool or ugly. How infuriating. So I called in the branch manager. He yelled at them, and I morphed into a cold, angry dictator for the rest of the lesson.


What’s Passed is the Past

The training week for Company X was nerve wracking at best and nightmarish at worst.  The point of training week was to get us as prepared as possible for our first day teaching. You can either pass or fail training week, and if you fail you are sent home.

X’s training week layout makes sense for the company: They’re bringing in international teachers with only one year contract, so they need to train them as fast as possible and as cheaply as possible in order to make the most amount of profit.  They gave us nice shiny Samsung tablets and set us up for free in a nifty hotel. And the office building that training was conducted in was clean and comfortable.  And I think I made a friend or two. But the positives end there.


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