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Comparative Adjectives: How to Teach Them, the Awesome Way

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Powering Through Comparative Adjectives

My last semester teaching at a Korean university is coming to a close and in my freshman classes, we’re powering through the last little bits of Touchstone 2 before the final exams next week. Touchstone 2,  by the way is a very decent book overall and although I used to hate this series, it seems that they’ve pulled it together for the second edition and things are looking brighter. Nothing flashy but it hits all the standard grammar and vocabulary points in a solid way and the students don’t hate it. An ESL textbook that the students don’t hate is basically a win for me. That’s a post for another day though.

Touchstone Two

Do you Know the Rules about Comparative Adjectives? I Certainly Didn’t

Today, it’s all about Touchstone 2, Unit 10, which deals with comparative adjectives. When I first started teaching at a university in Korea, I was so surprised that my students, despite studying ridiculously complicated grammar for their university entrance exam, didn’t know the simple rules about comparative adjectives. If you’re a native speaker of English, perhaps you don’t know them either. I certainly didn’t until I started teaching English! Anyway, help is here and I’m happy to share my tips with you.

This is straight from the PPT that I used with my students:

Comparing 2 Things _____er, more ______

Short words (1 syllable): ____er (nicer, bigger)

Long words (2+ syllables): more/less (more convenient, less expensive, more modern)


Ends in “y,” change it to “i” + er. Easy—>easier

Fun —->more fun



A Comparative Adjectives Lesson Plan

So of course I started the lesson off with a little lead-in to set the context. Then we did the listening which introduced comparative adjectives in context and students “noticed” the language. Next, I introduced the chart that you can see above and students did the controlled practice exercises in the book, by putting their pencil down and speaking with a partner. After that, they did a bit freer practice by using those questions in the book from the previous exercise and giving their own answers by having a short conversation with their partner.

(Do you need more lesson planning tips for all kinds of lessons? See this post: Lesson Planning for ESL Teachers).

We Finished it Off with a Fun Game

Finally, my students played this ridiculously fun game. You can click the link below to get the PDF file.

Comparative Adjectives Game

Here’s How the Game Works:

2 teams of 2. Rocks-scissor-paper to see who goes first.

The first team picks two words. For example, bear and zebra.

Each person on that team must make a sentence using a comparative adjective. For example:

“A zebra can run faster than a bear.”

“A bear is lazier than a zebra.”

If correct, they mark those two squares off with an “X.”

The next team chooses another two words and if correct, marks those squares off with an “O.”

The goal is to get as many points as possible. One point = 3 squares in row (up, down, or diagonal).

The game continues until the time is up (around 20 minutes).

Want Some More ESL Teaching Awesome?

I know you’re all about the ESL teaching awesome. In that case, you’ll need this book which will help you plan awesome lessons in minutes. There are 39 ESL speaking games and activities that will get students active, engaged and learning English in your class. You can get it on Amazon now, in both print and digital format.

Buy 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities on Amazon Today (and get ready for awesome)


The post Comparative Adjectives: How to Teach Them, the Awesome Way appeared first on .

Jackie Bolen: How to Get a University Job In Korea


My Life! Teaching in a Korean University

University Jobs



Beauty Review: Etude House Dear Girls Oil Control Pact

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If you know me, you know I love Etude House. They may not be the best for skincare, but for makeup, they combine three of my favorite things: affordable, good quality, and cute as heck. So, I thought I'd introduce one of my favorite Etude products, the Dear Girls Oil Control Pact.

It's not such a big deal now that we're moving into the dry, frozen wasteland they call winter here, but in the summer, as the temperature and humidity climb, this product is a gift. It's purpose is right there on the label: to control oil. I've always heard that my oily skin is a blessing that will keep me looking young and fresh until I'm a zillion years old, but so far it just seems to make me shiny and spotty. Yay?

Well, I've got CC cream for the spotty, and this little pact for the shiny. It comes with a foam applicator...pad...thingy...(they let me teach English, imagine that!) but I prefer to use a soft brush for a lighter dusting. There's no color, so it can go on top of your preferred concealer, CC/BB cream, or even just on a no-makeup day to cut down on


My one complaint is that if you accidentally use too much it won't always blend in with your makeup, giving you that powdery/flakey look which is just so...not attractive. But that's more an issue of user error than an actual problem with the product.

Would I recommend this product: If you're an oily mess like me, yes~! If not, you're probably fine without it. Buy yourself some sparkly eyeliner instead.

Where to buy: Etude House (aka my home away from home). I've got the cute pink membership card to prove it!

Teacher Pretty
Middle school ESL teacher, lover of pink, eater of kimchi, addicted to Etude House, expert procrastinator, meeter of 2-dimensionial popstars: Ana. That's me.

About   Teaching   Advice   Beauty   How-To   Food   Langauge   Tumblr

Chacabuco Ghost Town, Chile

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If you find yourself exploring the Northern part of Chile, between Antofagasta and Calama, you may just think that there

The post Chacabuco Ghost Town, Chile appeared first on ELSEwHERE.

Bi-Weekly Top Trazy Contributors (Nov19~Dec2)

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Congratulations to Top 3: Mini E, Jeen L, Sono K !! :)


a service for travelers to easily share and discover the latest hip & hot travel spots from all over the world. 
We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 

10 Cozy Korean Winter Foods

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Korean Food and Cooking

10 Cozy Korean Winter Foods
by Debbie Wolfe, CKC Writer

Follow Crazy Korean Cooking


ESL Speaking Activities for Kids

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ESL Speaking Activities for Kids

39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Kids (7+)

Do you want to make your English classes for kids engaging, interactive and fun for both you and the students? Want to make you life easy and save time when planning your ESL lessons? You’ll need to get 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities for Kids (7+).

Stop Wasting your Time!

Whether you’re a first-time English teacher, an experienced but overwhelmed instructor, or an instructor without a textbook, you need more activities for speaking classes for children. If you’re tired of wasting your time wading through the junk on the Internet to find the one or two good activities that you can actually use, then Jackie and Jennifer are here to help. This book will save you a ton of time when lesson planning, guaranteed. It’ll also make your classes awesome!

We Love ESL Activities

During her decade of experience as a CELTA/DELTA certified teacher, author Jackie Bolen has developed countless games and activities for her students. Jennifer Booker Smith has been teaching kids for years and even given up a cushy teacher-training job to return to the elementary school classroom. They’re sharing their low-prep/no-prep ideas for speaking games and activities with ESL teachers throughout the world.

It’ll all be Clear

In 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities for Kids, you’ll get highly-detailed descriptions which will show you exactly how to use the activities during your lessons. The clearly and concisely explained activities will help you add instructional variety and put the focus back on your students.

Saving you Time, Guaranteed

If you’re extremely busy or you’re simply out of new ideas, Jackie and Jennifer’s book makes it easy to try out new and exciting activities your students will love! You’ll save time when planning your lesson, guaranteed.

Get ESL Speaking Activities for Kids on Amazon

Buy 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities to get new lesson plans ready to go in minutes! You can click the link below to get the book on Amazon. It’s available in both print and digital formats and you can read the digital one on any smartphone, tablet, Mac or PC with the free Kindle App.

Get 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Kids (7+) on Amazon

The post ESL Speaking Activities for Kids appeared first on ESL Speaking.

Colonial Korea: Songgwangsa Temple – 송광사 (Suncheon, Jeollanam-do)

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Songgwangsa Temple in Suncheon, Jeollanam-do in 1933

Hello Again Everyone!!

Songgwangsa Temple is one of the three Korean jewel temples alongside Tongdosa Temple and Haeinsa Temple. Unlike the other two temples, Songgwangsa Temple represents the “seung,” or monk aspect of the three jewels.

Songgwangsa Temple is located in scenic Suncheon, Jeollanam-do. The name of the temple means “Spreading Pine Temple,” in English, and Songgwangsa Temple was established in the 1190s. Much like Bulguksa Temple a few hundred years earlier, Songgwangsa Temple was created on the former grounds of a temple; in this case, it was Gilsangsa Temple. Gilsangsa Temple was first built in 867 A.D. Gilsangsa Temple was built by the Seon master, Hyerin. In total, some thirty to forty monks lived at the temple at this time.

From the mid to late 12th century, Gilsangsa Temple remained abandoned as a functioning temple. It wasn’t until 1190, and over the course of a nine year period, that the famed monk Jinul, or Bojo-guksa (1158-1210), rebuilt the temple. Not only did he rebuild Gilsangsa Temple, but he also renamed it Songgwangsa Temple. It was not long after his renaming of the temple that Songgwangsa Temple became important as a centre for Korean Buddhism.

Like so many other temples throughout Korea’s turbulent past, Songgwangsa Temple also suffered. During the Imjin War (1592-98), as well as the more recent Korean War (1950-53), Songgwangsa Temple suffered varying degrees of damage.

But with this devastation and destruction goes periods of growth and expansion like during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). The temple was then largely rebuilt in the 17th century after the Imjin War. And even more recently, Songgwangsa Temple was renovated in 1988. It was during this time that fourteen of the temple buildings were refurbished. And even as recently as 2013, Songgwangsa Temple’s Cheonwangmun Gate received a complete renovation.

Throughout its storied past, Songgwangsa Temple has produced some sixteen national preceptors. Also, in 1969, the temple was reorganized as a monastic centre for all sects of Mahayana Buddhism, which Korean Buddhism is a part of. In total, Songgwangsa Temple houses four National Treasures and twenty-one additional Treasures.

Songgwangsa - Iljumun

The Iljumun Gate at Songgwangsa Temple in 1933.

Songgwangsa5 - Jogyemun

The Jogyemun Gate in 1933.


The stupa field at Songgwangsa Temple.


The front entrance of the temple in 1933.


People swimming in the stream that flows down from Mt. Jogyesan.

Songgwangsa6 - Cheonwangmun

The Cheonwangmun Gate.

Songgwangsa7 - Cheonwangmun

A closer look at the intricate artwork that adorns the Cheonwangmun Gate.

Songgwangsa1 - bell pavilion

The temple’s bell pavilion in 1933.

Songgwangsa2 - main hall

The Daeungbo-jeon main hall at Songgwangsa Temple.

Songgwangsa8 - main hall

Another look at the main hall from 1933.

Songgwangsa9 - main hall

A closer look at the amazing artistry on the main hall.

Songgwangsa10 - main hall

A look inside the Daeungbo-jeon at the main altar.

Songgwangsa11 - main hall

A look around the main hall.

Songgwangsa18 - josajeon

The Guksa-jeon from 1933, which also just so happens to be National Treasure #56.

Songgwangsa19 - josajeon

A closer look at the shrine hall’s artistry.

Songgwangsa20 - guksadang

The shrine hall dates back to 1369 and houses 16 paintings of the 16 national preceptors.

Songgwangsa40 - eungjin

The Eungjin-jeon Hall at Songgwangsa Temple as it appeared in 1933.

Songgwangsa41- eungjin

And a look inside the Eungjin-jeon Hall.


The Jogyemun Gate in 2007.


A look at the front entry at Songgwangsa Temple in 2007.


The stream that flows down to Songgwangsa Temple from Mt. Jogyesan in 2007.


The Daeungbo-jeon main hall in 2013.


And a look inside the main hall in 2013.

Current Events Presentation Project: More Awesome than Expected

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Current Events Presentations: I Loved Them!

This week in class, my students have been doing a current events presentation project. To be honest, I had pretty low expectations but my students have gone above and beyond to produce some awesome presentations. Now, I know that I had very little to do with this awesomeness, but I couldn’t help but feel really proud of them.

How I Set Up this Current Events Presentation Project:

Class: 3rd and 4th year English major students at a big, private university in Busan, South Korea. The level of the students ranges from low-intermediate to low-advanced.

Group Size: Student choice. From 1-5. I always hated group projects in university, so I always like to give students an option to work alone. About 1/2 the students did it by themselves, while the others mostly went in pairs.

Length of Presentation: 1.5-2 minutes/person in group.

Visuals: 1 PowerPoint slide/person in group. 15 words/slide maximum. I wanted the focus to be on the speaking and not on an impressive PPT.

Task: Choose something in the news lately. In Korea, or around the world. Talk about three things: explain the news story, talk about why it’s important, give your opinion about it.

Grading: Out of 15 points. Explain story = 3. Why important = 3. Opinion = 3. PPT slides = 2. Overall impression = 4 (eye contact, voice, looking friendly, posture). We spent about a 1/2 hour in class practicing things like how loud to speak, how to stand, making eye contact, etc.

Speech set-up: Students had to memorize their speeches. While they could bring their paper to the front with them, they had to keep it in their pocket to use only in case of emergency. Most students didn’t need it. I said that I wouldn’t penalize them for looking at it once.

Why were these Presentations so Awesome?

I think the awesomeness of the presentation project is related to a few different things, including the following:

Length of Time: Shorter is better! 1.5-2 minutes is a nice length. Students can say what they want to say but it keeps things fresh for the audience.

No Forced Group Work: You like alone, go alone. You like group work, go in a group. I like to give students choice.

No Death by PowerPoint: Limiting each person to only one slide with basically no words led to lots of interesting pictures. It also helped students focus on making eye contact with the audience instead of just looking at the screen.

No Reading: Is there any worse thing to do in a presentation than to read? I don’t think so. I always make my students memorize their presentations and I find it goes much more smoothly.

Free Topic Choice: The topic choice was so wide open. “Anything in the news lately.” Students chose stuff they were actually interested in and surprisingly, nobody chose the same one.

Not just Me Blathering Away: I’m sure my students are weary of me blathering away at them each day by this point in the semester! I think it was a nice break for them, as well as me.

Need Some More Awesome?

If you teach teenagers or adults and want some more speaking activities for your classes, the book you’ll need is: 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities. It’ll keep your classes fresh and interesting and also save you a ton of time when you’re planning your lessons. You can click the link below to get it now on Amazon. Less than a buck for the e-version! That’s quite the deal.

39 No Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Teenagers and Adults.

esl speaking activities adults

ESL Speaking Activities for Teenagers and Adults



The post Current Events Presentation Project: More Awesome than Expected appeared first on ESL Speaking.

Plagiarism in Korea: How did only 200 get Caught?

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Plagiarism South Korea

Plagiarism in Korea: Sketchiest of the Sketchy

A recent article from Time Magazine about plagiarism in Korean universities. You can see it here: 200 South Korean Professors Charged in Massive Plagiarism Scam. The gist of it is that these professors changed the author names and covers of textbooks and passed them off as their own, with the assistance of a publishing company. Sketcccccchhhhhhy, to say the least.

Academic Integrity Misadventures: Nothing New on this Blog

I’ve certainly talked about academic integrity misadventures in South Korean universities on this blog before. Here is just one such example from my Golden Handcuffs post:

Reason #1 (Korean University Jobs are Traps): No Academic Integrity in Korea

Over the years, I’ve seen the most ridiculous things that would fall under the category of academic integrity misadventures. In fact, it may be the subject of my next book, once I leave Korea. Kind of a “tell-all,” about what it’s really like teaching in a Korean university and how ridiculous it all is. At first I was shocked by the cheating, plagiarism, lying, grade-fixing, diplomas to anyone who will pay for them, bribery, and paying for academic appointments, but no longer. Now, I mostly just play the game because it’s way easier than fighting the system. Koreans have mostly given up too and they know that the system is screwed up but they feel powerless to fix it.

I used to fight and give that senior an “F” who never showed up for a single class, nor did a single assignment and skipped all his tests. What did it get me? Harassment, and stalking from the students and very little support from the admin in regards to the actual grade as well as the stalking situation. Now? Here’s your D buddy, don’t let me stand in the way of paying for your diploma. You paid your tuition, so it doesn’t matter how much you actually studied. Good luck in the real world.

How did only 200 get Caught?

So, let’s just say that when I read this article from Time, I was certainly not surprised in the least. It’s not like this kind of stuff is a secret. You could ask anyone who’s been working in a Korean university for more than a year or two and they’d tell you the same thing. The only really, truly surprising thing is that only 200 professors were caught in the bust. I personally thought it would have numbered up into the 1000’s. Maybe it’s just the one publishing company that got busted but there are a ton of others out there doing the same thing?

What about Dissertations and Journal Publications?

As my one friend pointed out on Facebook, textbooks are only a very small area of the total volume of material being “written” and published. I’d venture a guess and say that the number of plagiarized dissertations and journal publications would also number in the 1000’s. That’s at the extremely low end.

Why not the Name and Shame?

Perhaps these 200 professors were named and shamed in the Korean media, but just not in the English versions. Anyone better at Korean than I who could tell me? If they weren’t, why not? It’s time for universities here to take a serious look at what’s happening inside their four walls and to clean up their act. Everyone who teachers in Korean universities (and foreign students who study here) know that Korean degrees aren’t really worth the paper that they’re written on. When you get your degree just for paying the tuition, well, the actual learning becomes kind of an afterthought.

Cheating = No Problem

It all starts at the very bottom. Students cheat on papers and tests all the time. Then they caught and cry and beg for a second change. They get given a second chance by their Korean professors, often with no consequence. They continue doing this, on and on, and on and on, with the result being this sort of cheating ridiculousness at even the highest levels.

Students think I’m basically the meanest teacher ever for giving them a “0” on whatever they cheat on with no second chance, even if I’ve explicitly warned them that this would be the result. I mean, they’re actually surprised by it which leads me to think that every single one of the Korean teachers up until that point had either looked the other way, or given the second chance.

Please Understand our Unique Culture

Whenever I talk about the subject of plagiarism with Koreans, they often talk to me like I’m a total moron who has no understanding of the world that I live in. Please understand our unique culture. In Korea, it’s okay to cheat and steal and bribe your way to the top as long as you don’t get caught. Yes, I most certainly do understand that aspect of Korean culture, but it most certainly does not make it right. Stealing something that someone else wrote and slapping your own name on it with a new cover? There’s no way this comes out looking anything less than totally sketch, no matter what country you’re in. It’s not okay just because everyone does it in Korea. Stealing is stealing is stealing. I REFUSE to do it! If I had my way, every student who cheated in my class would get a “0” and be expelled from the university.

Let’s Sum This Rant Up

Plagiarism in Korea = Embarrassing. When are you ever going to learn? Your universities are a joke. It’s time to clean house and stop looking the other way.

The post Plagiarism in Korea: How did only 200 get Caught? appeared first on .

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