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Today’s article is written for the Reach To Teach Teach Abroad Blog Carnival, a monthly series that focuses on providing helpful tips and advice to ESL teachers around the globe. The host for this month is Rebecca Thering, and here‘s where you can read the rest of this month’s posts. I’ll be posting a new ESL-related article on my blog on the 5th of every month. Check back for more articles, and if you’d like to contribute to next month’s Blog Carnival, please contact Dean at email@example.com, and he will let you know how you can start participating!
Now more than ever, people all around the world are starting to learn English. But which age is the best to teach? Kindergarteners? Middle schoolers? High schoolers? Adults? There are pros and cons to each, so it totally depends on your personal preferences. Oddly enough, I’ve worked with all four age groups this year, so I’ve enjoyed the following upsides and endured the respective downsides firsthand:
Kindergarten & Elementary – During winter camp I worked at an elementary school for three days, which was a nice taste of what life would be like among the munchkins. I enjoyed their enthusiasm and playfulness. And I never worried about how to fill up extra time because they were still at the age where songs and chants were fun, and games involving stickers equated to life-and-death. The other nice thing about this age is that the students are more of a blank slate. Still new to studying English, they haven’t had time yet to fall behind their classmates or develop a total aversion to the subject. The downsides to working with younger learners is that it can be difficult to get them to calm down and sit still, and (if you’re not the babysitting type) they require more care and direction!
Middle School – About a third of the regular classes I teach every week are with middle schoolers. In some ways, this is the most interesting age group for me because developmentally the students are somewhere in between the youthful silliness of elementary school and the intellectual maturity of high school. They are less afraid of me, the big-tall-scary-English-speaking foreigner, and they are starting to become more academically curious about the world around them. However, they still buy into games quite easily, which is great! All that being said, they’re also entering the stage where it matters what the opposite genders thinks about them or does, so coaxing out individual participation/speaking in front of others can be a bit difficult at times.
High School – Another third of my weekly teaching hours is spent with high school students. For me, the pros of working with teenagers largely revolves around cultural exchange. I enjoy showing them pictures and YouTube clips to share what American high schools are like. Occasionally I’ll introduce a slang phrase or word. And in return, I encourage them to show me their favorite K-pop videos, talk about their favorite Korean athlete/sports team, and teach me Korean phrases. And particularly with my high level classes, I also love challenging their critical thinking skills and finding ways for them to creatively apply the language. But, unlike elementary school students, often the hardest part of teaching them is not getting them to sit down, but wake up. The rigor of their studies is so intense that some days even the possibility of candy isn’t enough to rouse them. And for low-level high school students, their mindset is often along the lines of, “It’s too late for me to learn English. I can’t do it.” So while elementary school teachers have to be part-time baby sitters, high school teachers have to be full-time cheer leaders!
Adults – The last third of my classes each week is with adults: the other teachers, staff and coaches of my school. Even more so than my middle and high school students, their abilities vary widely; from How-do-you-spell-‘favorite?’ to fully conversant. The nice things are that classroom management is never an issue and they are much more willing to participate! They also are more independent learners and don’t require elaborate games to hold their attention. That being said, I still try to modify the games I play with younger students to inject some fun and variety into the lessons. On the less positive side, similar to my teenage students they sometimes lack the motivation/discipline to study outside of class and (in my case) the breadth of abilities within a single class makes it a challenge to balance everyone’s needs/skill levels at times.
So, what age group is best to teach? For me, it’s probably a tie between middle and high school students! But it all depends on your preferences. What perks do you want to enjoy? Which challenges are you willing to face? Kindergartners, middle schoolers, teens and adults each present their own set of these, and I’m glad I’ve gotten to experience them all during my year in Korea!
A quick (rough) translation of Newsletter No. 5
Queer Parade Opening in Seoul Plaza
Starting in Daehangno in 2000, the KQCF has taken place in Jongno, Itaewon, Hongdae, and Sinchon and every year goes through difficulties choosing a location. This year, it plans to open in Seoul Plaza.
Love & Resist: Queer Revolution
The design of the 16th KQCF's slogan, Love, Resist, Queer Revolution, has been made public. What a frightfully cute slogan!
KQFF+'s Vivid Epilogue for Korea Queer Film Festival Supporters
During the last month of March, the first event for the Korea Queer Film Festival was held. Around 200 participants attended.
KQCF Network Party
On the 25th of February, a network party to share stories was held for the groups and individuals that made last year's queer culture festival possible. 60 organizations (including the French, German, and US embassies and Google) and 120 individuals participated.
The last bit is just a way to donate to the Korea Queer Festival. Send a message to 2540-2000 and you can donate ₩3,000 to the festival.
The lower courtyard at Janggoksa Temple in Cheongyang, Chungcheongnam-do.
Hello Again Everyone!!
Located in Cheongyang, Chungcheongnam-do on the slopes of Mt. Chilgapsan, Janggoksa Temple was first established in 850 A.D. by Master Bojo-guksa. Janggoksa Temple is beautifully situated in the western part of Chilgapsan Provincial Park. Additionally, the temple is home to two National Treasures and four Treasures.
The first structure to greet you at Janggoksa Temple is the temple’s stately Iljumun Gate. An additional four hundred metres up the road will bring you to the temple parking lot. Staring back at you is Janggoksa Temple’s front façade with both an overhanging bell pavilion and a compact Unhak-ru Pavilion to pass under. Passing through the pavilion, and only after climbing the uneven set of stone stairs to be situated in the lower temple courtyard, will you notice National Treasure #300 housed inside the Unhak-ru Pavilion. Before exploring anything else at the temple, have a look inside the Unhak-ru Pavilion at the large Gwaebul mural that dates back to 1673. Standing over 8.6 metres in height and nearly 6 metres in width, the massive mural was painted by five monks. It was painted in hopes that King Hyeonjong (r.1659 to 1675), and his Queen, would live a long life. In total, there are six Buddhas and six Bodhisattvas painted on the mural with a commanding Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha) standing in the centre. His crown has four Buddhas on it, and the mural is similar to a Vulture Peak mural.
To the front of the Unhak-ru Pavilion is the lower Daeung-jeon at Janggoksa Temple, which dates back to the mid-Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Typically, it’s Seokgamoni-bul that’s housed inside the Daeung-jeon; but at Janggoksa Temple, the lower courtyard’s main hall houses Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy). This gilt-bronze statue dates back to the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). This statue is flanked on both sides by to separate paintings dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars), as well as a guardian mural on the far right wall.
To the right of the lower Daeung-jeon stands the temple’s Myeongbu-jeon Hall, which is dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). Housed inside this hall is a golden-capped statue dedicated to Jijang-bosal. To the left of the lower courtyard’s main hall is the Seolseon-dang, where people can meditate.
Climbing the stairs to the upper courtyard, you’ll find three more halls at Janggoksa Temple. Shaped in an “L,” The first of the two buildings is the Upper Daeung-jeon. Uniquely, the hall has brick lotus-shaped flooring. There are three statues that sit inside this hall; of which, it’s the Yaksayoure-bul statue that sits on a stone pedestal that’s the most famous. Dating back to the late 9th century, this statue is designated National Treasure #58. Joining this statue of Yaksayore-bul are two additional statues dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) and Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy). The Birojana-bul statue is believed to have been built during the Goryeo Dynasty. Strangely, all three statues are absent earlier in the morning; instead, just a cloth hat appears on the pedestal until the statues make an appearance later in the day.
The adjoining hall next to the Upper Daeung-jeon is the Eungjin-jeon. With a solitary statue of Seokgamoni-bul on the main altar, he’s surrounded by stone statues of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha) in the hall. It’s also from this part of the upper courtyard that you get an amazing view of the valley where Janggoksa Temple takes up residence, as well as the lower courtyard, as well.
The final hall that people can visit at the temple is the crowning Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. Up a side-winding pathway, you’ll be led up to a hall that houses three masterful shaman murals. While both the Dokseong (The Lonely Spirit) and Chilseong (The Seven Stars) murals are amazing in their own rights, it’s the Santa-like mural of Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) that stands above the others in its artistic execution.
HOW TO GET THERE: From the Cheongyang Intercity Bus Terminal, you can catch a taxi to Janggoksa Temple. It’ll cost around 17,000 won and take about 25 minutes.
OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10. It’s rare for a Korean Buddhist temple to house a single National Treasure, but Janggoksa Temple houses two of them. Both the vibrantly painted Gwaebul and the stone seated iron incarnation of Yaksayore-bul add a lot to this valley hugging temple. In addition to its national identity, Janggoksa Temple also houses several other Treasures, as well as two distinctly situated courtyards.
The bell pavilion that welcomes you to the temple grounds.
The view as you enter the temple’s lower courtyard.
The Gwaebul painting at Janggoksa Temple, which also just so happens to be National Treasure #300.
The lower Daeung-jeon at the temple.
A look inside the lower Daeung-jeon with Birojana-bul front and centre.
The neighbouring Myeongbu-jeon.
A look inside reveals a golden capped Jijang-bosal.
The long stairs that lead up towards the upper courtyard.
The view from the upper courtyard.
Both the upper Daeung-jeon and the Eungjin-jeon, together.
A look inside the upper Daeung-jeon. Unfortunately, the three treasured statues were conspicuously absent.
A look inside the Eungjin-jeon at both Seokgamoni-bul and the Nahan.
The view across the front face of the upper Daeung-jeon.
The trail that leads up towards the Samseong-gak.
A better look at the Samseong-gak.
Which houses this amazing Sanshin mural.
A look down towards the upper Daeung-jeon from the Samseong-gak.
The post Janggoksa Temple – 장곡사 (Cheongyang, Chungcheongnam-do) appeared first on Dale's Korean Temple Adventures.
So you’ve decided to come to Korea. Excellent decision! In preparation, you’ve probably asked yourself this one question over and over: “What to pack for Korea?” Packing for a trip like this can seem like a daunting task. However, with a bit of foresight and preparation, it will be a breeze!
You may be worried that you might forget to pack the one critical item for your trip. After all, you may not be able to just run down to your local Wal-Mart or Target in Korea and pick up something you forgot. However, it’s unlikely that anything will be that hard to get. Most of the necessities are easily available for purchase.
Let’s go over what to pack for Korea to make your time abroad much more enjoyable.
The shirt sizes in Korea go up to about a size “Large”. If you wear anything past that, you’ll probably want to pack some clothes from home. Korean and Asian sizes in general are a bit smaller. This is especially true when it comes to shoes. You can usually find men’s shoes up to 285mm (10.5 US) and women’s shoes up to 270 mm (10 US). Shoes are very important in Korea since you will be walking A LOT. Walking everywhere will wear out your shoes much faster than you are currently used to.
If you don’t pack enough clothing or shoes, fear not! You can always take a trip to one of the main shopping areas such as Myeong-dong. These shopping areas have many western branded clothing stores. This could possible be one of the best places you can reliably find clothing that is stylish and fits properly. If you’re a plus size in undergarments, make sure to pack those in your suitcase as well.
Something that became very obvious shortly after I arrived in Korea is that it truly has all four seasons. If you’re from an area of the world where t-shirts all year round are the norm, then you might quickly realize that you need to do some clothes shopping. If you are bigger than a size large, consider packing some thermals or warmer layers to keep you cozy in the Korean winters.
As far as toiletries go Korea is very reliable on these things. Unless you have an affinity for particular brands, most things you can get here very easily. However I would highly recommend bringing deodorant. It’s not as widely used as it is in other areas of the world, so you’ll usually have to buy it at international stores where it can be pricey.
If you have love for makeup, then you’ll be thrilled to find out that Korea is one of the cosmetic capitals of the world. Almost anything you desire in this department will be readily available. As a bonus, there will likely be many products that you have never seen or heard of before. It could be a fun adventure!
If you’re big on books, you might want to consider picking up an e-reader before you head over to Korea. Even though many people still love looking at physical books, the space-saving feature and convenience of a digital device can make your stay a lot more comfortable.
If you absolutely must have physical books, you’re in luck! Books in English are very easily attainable in Korea. One popular place to order books no matter where you are in Korea is What The Book. You’ll probably want to buy them while you’re here since packing books is not a good use of space in your two free checked airline bags.
Speaking of space, most living arrangements in Korea are quite small. Stacking up books in the corner is just not the best use of that space. With many long subway and train commutes in your near future having something to read is very important.
If you’re planning to use your mobile phone while you are in Korea, make sure it is unlocked. That way you can pop a new SIM card in and be able to use it while you’re here. If you have to have the latest and greatest phone, you might find cellphones to be cheaper in your home country than Korea. All of the major brands are available, but the prices are often higher and require a two-year contract.
Also don’t forget to pack outlet adapters since Korea uses 220V outlets. Most modern electronics like laptops or cellphones will not require an electricity converter. Make sure you read the specs on your devices, but usually a simple prong adapter will do the trick. Be careful though, as many expats have been in for a surprise with their hair dryers and toaster ovens! Sparks and smoke can be a startling way to start off the morning.
Reminders of Home
As with any long-term trip you have to remember to pack things that will remind you of home. Pictures of friends and family to decorate your apartment are very important. These will take up barely any room in your suitcase and you will be extremely happy you brought them.
Something that might not come quickly to mind is spices or nonperishable foods. Spices and seasonings from your home country will likely not be readily available here in Korea. This is something that can add flavor to your home cooked meals when you are trying to save money and give you a little reminder of home while you eat. Thankfully, sites like iHerb are making it really easy to have a variety of spices and cooking items shipped internationally at reasonable prices.
Cheese lovers, don’t get your hopes up. Korea is not big on cheese variety, so most of what you’ll see is processed single-wrapped slices. Thankfully, Costco has come to the rescue with massive selections of cheeses from all over the world.
If you have any kind of prescription, bring as much of it as you can. Depending on what it is, it might not be available at all here in Korea. However, the medical system in Korea is quite advanced, so it’s likely you will be able to get you a Korean equivalent of what you need if you did not pack enough.
If you catch a cold while you are here, you’ll be able to get all of the common types of over the counter medicine that you’d be used to in your home country. Most pharmacists speak at least a little bit of English, so you should be able to get what you need. There are pharmacies on every corner, so locating one will be easy.
Most of what you need to familiarize yourself with Korea is available on the Internet. You may want to brush up on your Korean before you get here, or at least learn a few of the basic phrases. The Korean alphabet can be learned in about one hour!
One of the major complaints that expats have about products in Korea is in relation to sheets and pillowcases. The bedding quality here is different than in many other countries. Buying nice sheets can be expensive at department stores in Korea. Towels also fall into this category. Thankfully, stores like the Arrival Store make it easy to get quality bath and bedding delivered to your apartment in Korea. It’s probably not the best use of your luggage space to bring a set of queen size sheets with you. However, figure out what your priorities are and make your decision from there.
When you’re out shopping at supermarkets in Korea, almost every grocery store charges extra for a bag (it won’t break the bank but it will add up). Also, trash bags need to be purchased. The small ones will cost around 200 won ($0.20 cents), while the larger ones can cost over 1,000 won ($1.00) each.
As you can see packing for Korea may be a bit different than the trips you’re used to taking, but it’s very manageable. Thanks to the increasing availability of international goods, it’s becoming easier and easier to make Korea feel like your home away from home.
What items do you recommend packing for Korea?
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