Recent Blog Posts
- More |
- My School |
- teaching English |
- confidence |
- creative writing |
- english as a second language |
- english program in korea |
- EPIK |
- ESL |
- funny quotes |
- Humor |
- inspiration |
- inspirational quotes |
- knowledge |
- korean students |
- learning |
- motivation |
- motivational quotes |
- Poetry |
- student work |
- Student Writing |
- teaching English in Korea
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!
It’s Danny’s birthday! What should I cook? I only had one thing in mind: miyeok guk.
미역국 (miyeok guk) is also known as the birthday soup in Korea. It’s made of seaweed and sometimes mixed with chunks of beef or mussels. This soup is nutritiously packed with iodine and calcium. Pregnant mothers usually consume this healthy soup after giving birth to increase breastmilk production. That’s also the reason why birthday celebrants are given this soup as a reminder of their first food from their mothers. But of course, one can have this delicious, hot bowl of miyeok guk anytime, anywhere.
Ingredients: (4 persons)
100g beef (양지)
1tbs minced garlic
2tbs sesame oil
8 cups (1,520ml) of water
pinch of salt
1. Soak miyeok in a bowl of water for at least 30 minutes to soften it.
2. Slice the beef to bite sizes.
3. Drain the water and squeeze out some water from the miyeok. Then, slice to bite sizes, too.
4. In a hot pot, put 2tbs of sesame oil.
5. Cook the beef ’til it gets light brown and add the miyeok.
6. Pour about 8 cups of water and boil for 20 minutes over high heat.
7. After 30 minutes, add garlic and salt to taste. Lower the heat down to medium and boil it for another 15 minutes.
8. Tadah! Transfer to a small bowl and serve with rice and side dishes.
This recipe is taken from 백종원‘s cookbook with some tweaks. Enjoy ;)
PS: Happy birthday, my yeobo! Saranghaeyo :) Here’s your cake…
- adults |
- ESL Speaking Resources |
- kids |
- celta lesson plan |
- DELTA lesson plan |
- esl listening |
- ESL listening activity |
- how to teach listening |
- listening |
- listening activity adults |
- listening activity kids |
- listening ESL |
- listening lesson plan |
- listening lesson plan template |
- teaching listening
How and Why to Teach Listening to ESL Students
Listening is an extremely important skill if students want to speak fluently in English. No matter how well you speak, if you don’t understand what your conversation partner said, your answer will be a little awkward at best, or totally random at worst. In order to help our students, we need to include some practice with listening into our English classes. Here’s some basic advice on how to teach listening to ESL students, including a lesson plan template and some ESL listening activities.
ESL Listening Lesson Plan Template
1. Set the context. This introduces the theme of your listening topic. For example, if your listening is about shopping, you could ask students whether or not they ever buy things without trying them on and whether or not they’ve had good or bad experiences with that. Or, if your topic is travel, you could ask students what are 5 things that people do while they’re spending time waiting at an airport. It’s best to have students discuss the question for a couple minutes with their partner and then quickly elicit some answers from the class.
2. Pre-Listening Task. Next, you’ll need to assign students a pre-reading task. Some of my favorites ones are prediction tasks which lead into the next step. For example, in class last week the topic was problems while traveling. I had students think of 5 common travel problems with a partner. I then elicited some answers and wrote 3 of them on the board. You could also show them a picture and have them predict something based on that. Or, you could introduce some of the vocabulary words from the listening that you think the students won’t know.
3. Listening #1. The students listen for the overall picture the first time. You can have them see if their prediction were true, if you did this in step #2. Or, you could give them some very simple T/F questions. Basically, anything that gives them a reason to listen. Have students compare answers with a partner and then quickly go over them together with the class, but don’t spend too much time with this.You don’t want to give away too many details because they’ll listen one more time in the next step.
4. Listening #2. Give students some more difficult comprehension questions, they’ll listen again, check answers with a partner and then with the class. You can spend a bit more time discussing the answers if necessary than you would in the previous step.
5. Application. Students have to apply the concepts from the listening to their own lives in order to make it more memorable. The best kind of things you could do are something that involves students giving their opinions, such as asking them if they agree or disagree with XYZ. Or, you could have students do a survey and discuss the answers. Another idea is to have them pretend to be one of the people in the listening while the other one is a news reporter and they interview each other. Get creative and make listening fun and interesting!
More ESL Listening
The sky really is the limit and the whole world is open to you, if you have high-level students. I’ve used TV shows, movies, and even Podcasts (Serial is great) in my classes before with excellent results. Students love using authentic material because they’re relevant, interesting and gives them confidence that they can go out into the real-world and understand what people are saying. Remember that the best things to choose for ESL listening activities are things that are just slightly higher than their level. If you can assist them to understand, that’s how students make gains in their listening skills.
I hope you’ve picked up a few tips on how to teach listening to ESL students. If you’d like some ideas for speaking and listening games and activities for your classroom, check out this book on Amazon: 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Teenagers and Adults. Less than a dollar for plenty of ESL speaking awesome.
|Jackie Bolen: How to Get a University Job In Korea|
My Life! Teaching in a Korean University:
University Jobs Korea: universityjobkorea.com
- how to improve english |
- english speaking countries |
- english as a second language |
- Esol |
- teaching esl |
- food |
- cheap travel destinations |
- best travel sites |
- travel |
- tesol |
- best places to travel |
- best at travel |
- Featured |
- expat |
- how to speak english fluently |
- learn english speaking |
- speak english |
- Spoken English |
- tefl certificate |
- tefl certification |
- TEFL courses |
- tesol jobs |
- travel online |
- travel packages |
- travel the world |
- value world travel |
- world travel
If someone were to plan a trip to Korea coming from the United States or Canada, it would be a major event. The flight time alone would be somewhere in the vicinity of 15-17 hours in the air, depending on the number of connections they have. Once in Korea, they would have around 7-10 days to see what there is to see before they have to board their flight back home. Usually, people see the big ticket items in a super city like Seoul, try some foods and pick up some knick knacks to remember the trip by.
If you were to travel to Seoul, Korea for one year as an ESL teacher, you would have all the time in the world to see the big ticket attractions. More importantly though, you would be able to see and experience the destination in a way that is simply impossible on a short-term excursion.
You will meet and live with the native culture. You will see the little, priceless aspects of the culture that cannot be found on TripAdvisor. Your overall experience would be far more meaningful and memorable than any experience you could have in one or two weeks.
That’s not where it ends though.
If you are living abroad as an ESL teacher, you will also have many opportunities to travel to other countries as well. Remember the 15-17 hour flight to Korea? Well, to go to Japan, China, or SE Asia would be the same sacrifice.
Traveling to those destinations from Korea? 2-4 hours. You would already have seen many things before your counterpart coming from America reaches their halfway point.
Recently, I was tipped off by a friend on Facebook about a KILLER flight deal coming out of Busan to Taipei. Apparently a new line to Taipei was being added to Gimhae International Airport through an airline called V-Air. They were running a special for $25 each way. After all the fees and taxes, my round-trip airfare was under $100.
You just can’t do that from back home.
Lucky for me, this deal fell right smack dab in the middle of my allotted vacation time. I immediately jumped on the deal, secured a hotel, and was off two weeks later.
As I look at my new life as a traveling ESL teacher, I realize that this was yet another reason why I now know taking this new path in life was the right choice for me.
Some people teach abroad for one year. Others for the duration of their life. Their commute to work is the next country they want to teach in. It’s a commute that I am now very happy to make.
ESL, Travel, and Judo!
For some reason, I kept thinking about heading to Kyeongju and getting some photos. Not really sure why but I could shake the feeling that something good was happening out there. Not sure what I would find, I jumped into my car, heeded my wife’s warning about the traffic and took off.
I can’t stress this enough, I had no idea what I wanted to shoot there. I felt like my shots of the Woljeong Bridge were a little boring and so I was heading out that way. However, beyond that I was not really sure what to do. I was just heading out to a beautiful city and hoping for the best and then something caught my eye.
The sun was entering the golden hour and it was illuminating the fields alongside the highway in the most beautiful way. It was an elderly farmer that caught my eye as he walked through his field. Wishing that I could just stop and take a shot, I was about to just carry on. Then I saw a rest stop. I couldn’t pass this up, not even for the dude that was tailgating me.
I pulled over and wandered back the field. Upon noticing that the farmer was slowing making HIS way back home, I decided to run and catch him in the field before he left. Not the most subtle of techniques but I was willing to risk it. I must state that I almost never take pictures of people. Fact is that I almost try and avoid them when possible. However, for this shot the farmer added so much to the shot.
After taking a few shots, the old farmer was a little curious about what I was doing. As I walked up, I greeted him and we talked about the weather and how nice the night was. He saw my camera and immediately lit up. “oh! you’re taking pictures” I asked if I could take his picture and he declined but gave in after I pressed him a bit. This was the first time that I have ever done this sort of thing. Talk to strangers is hard for me, let alone in another language. Taking their picture is just as difficult as I am never satisfied with the results. This time was a little better and I felt good about my time with the farmer.
I jumped back in my car and headed on towards the historic sites in Kyeongju. Knowing that there is always a bottleneck in front of Anapji Pond, I took a back road to the Kyochon village. This presented me with a view of the Woljeong Bridge that I have not seen before. I pulled the car over again and scrambled down the ditch to the water’s edge. I soon found myself battling thorns and unstable rocks but that would lead to an outcropping that had a great view of the bridge.
After getting my fill and worrying that I would not be able to navigate my way back, I scrambled back to my car and went into the village. It was a madhouse. Overrun with tourists and couples on tandem bikes, it was hard to get an unobstructed shot. However, the water’s edge had very few people. After making a circle of the village, I went down and got some basic shots of the bridge from the other side.
Not really, sure if I got what I was looking for, I was certainly happy that I got out. The fresh air and sense of place in Kyeongju is amazing. Though my studies in tourism sometimes gets me a little worked up in places like this, I know that they are doing their best to make these areas enjoyable for everyone and not just couples on bikes. The Kyochon village is a definite gem as recent improvements have made it more accessible to tourists. Yet, sadly some of the “improvements” seem to take away from the sense of history. I do wish that they’d do away with the fabric banners and stick to signage to relates to the time of the original village.
The beautiful cave shrine at Cheongyeongsa Temple in Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do
Hello Again Everyone!!
Located on the southern banks of the Miryang River in the heart of Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do is the scenic Cheongyeongsa Temple. The temple is located on a hill that overlooks some neighbouring farms and is surrounded by numerous temples on the hill like Yonggungsa Temple and Sudosa Temple.
You first approach the temple through a forested trail from the south. Along the entire way, the Miryang River will be to your right. When you finally do arrive at the temple, the first thing to greet you, just out in front of the temple’s gate, is a five tier stone pagoda. The etchings on the pagoda are fading. Having stepped through the gate, and to your left, is one of the more unique pagodas you’ll find in Korea. The five tier concrete pagoda is crowned by a large stone statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). Each wide tier is adorned with tiny jade statues of the Bodhisattva of the Afterlife.
A little further along, and the pagodas give way to a network of subterranean buildings and corridors. On top of these buildings, like the monks’ dorms, kitchen, and visitors’ centre, are the temple’s shrine halls. It’s also from this part of the temple, standing on top of the subterranean buildings, that you get a great view of the Miryang River to the right. Rectangular paper lanterns line the hand-rail that runs the entire length of the temple look-out. To the left is the temple’s diminutive pond and a set of bronze coloured statues that over-look the pond on the neighbouring ledge. In the centre of these statues, and the largest of the set, is Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). She’s joined to the left by a smaller golden statue of herself and to the right by Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha).
To the rear of the temple grounds is the temple’s main hall. Making up the back wall of the temple is the pock-marked stone face of the neighbouring hill. Sitting in the centre of the main hall is a statue of Amita-bul who is backed by a fiery nimbus. Standing on either side of Amita-bul, and housed inside their own hallowed out shrines, are Gwanseeum-bosal and Daesaeji-bosal (The Power and Wisdom for Amita-bul). Hanging on the right wall of the main hall is a uniquely designed guardian mural.
To the left of the main hall, and slightly elevated up the embankment, is the Samseong-gak. The shrine hall houses three rather ordinary shaman murals; but to the left of the main hall, and painted on the exterior wall, is a large, multi-stripped tiger.
But it’s down from this shaman shrine hall, and through a network of corridors, that you’ll find the temple’s true claim to fame: the cave shrine hall. To the left of a large meeting hall is the first shrine in the cave. Just outside the entry to the cave is an altar dedicated to Jijang-bosal. He is joined by a beautiful mural of Gwanseeum-bosal.
It’s to the left of the Gwanseeum-bosal mural where the mouth of the cave is located. The walls of the cave are beautifully lined with paper lotus lanterns that light up the darkness. These flowers are also joined by tiny white lights that line the entire length of the cave. Finally emerging on the other side, you’ll come to a cave with a radius of ten metres. The cave is lined with bronze metal plates. There are two altars inside the cave. The first of the two is centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). Next to it, and standing squarely inside the rounded cave, is a triad, once more, centred by Seokgamoni-bul. He’s joined by Gwanseeum-bosal and Jijang-bosal. The interior of the walls are lined by sixteen statues of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha).
HOW TO GET THERE: There are two ways you can get to Cheongyeongsa Temple. The first is from the Miryang train station. You can take either Bus #1-2, #7 or the “Gagok” bus. After 3 stops, you’ll need to get off at the KT&G stop. From there, follow the signs that lead you towards Cheongyeongsa Temple. The walk should take about 10 minutes over 800 metres.
Or you could simply take a taxi from the Miryang train station. The ride should only take 6 minutes and cost you 2,800 won.The distance is a mere 1.7 km in length.
OVERALL RATING: 7/10. The second of two cave temples I’ve visited in Miryang, alongside Yeoyeojeongsa Temple to the south, Cheongyeongsa Temple certainly doesn’t disappoint. The cave shrine is beautifully lined with well-lit lotus lanterns. Adding to the temple’s overall beauty is the view and the shrines inside the main temple courtyard. While the grounds are a bit run down, there is more than enough, especially underground, for people to enjoy.
The temple entrance at Cheongyeongsa Temple.
The older pagoda and entry gate at the temple.
The extremely unique five tier concrete pagoda with jade statues on each level.
A look at the temple grounds.
The triad of statues that stand in the main temple courtyard.
The view with the unique rectangular lanterns hanging from the look-out platform.
The above ground temple shrine halls at Cheongyeongsa Temple.
The main hall’s main altar with Amita-bul front and centre.
To the left stands Daesaeji-bul in his own cavernous shrine.
The smaller sized guardian mural inside the main hall.
A look inside the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall to the left of the main hall. To the left sits Chilseong (The Seven Stars) and to the right sits Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit).
The fierce mountain tiger that adorns the exterior wall to the Samseong-gak.
The pathway that leads down to the subterranean shrines.
The first shrine is dedicated to Jijang-bosal.
These beautiful paper lanterns line the pathway that leads up to the large cave shrine.
A better look at the beautiful pathway lined with colourful paper lanterns.
The view from inside the cave shrine with the second shrine to the right and a Nahan to the left.
And the third shrine.
A look at some of the Nahan statues that line the cave.
And a couple more of these masterful stone statues.
If you haven’t been to Malaysia yet, you’re doing it wrong. “It” being anything from adventure activities, lounging at the beach, appreciating architecture and history, eating foreign cuisine, and/or experiencing cultural diversity. One of the most underrated travel destinations in Southeast Asia, this place has it all! Below are 6 reasons why Malaysia should be next on your traveler’s bucket list.
- English, English Everywhere – While Malay is the official language of the country, English is also widely spoken at a nearly fluent level. The only other place you’ll find that in Asia is in the Philippines! Yes, most cities in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, etc, that see a lot of tourist traffic make it easy for native English speakers to get by. But in Malaysia communication is notably easier everywhere you go.
- A Foodie’s Free for All – Crowned as the Food Paradise of SE Asia, Malaysia’s cuisine has something for every palette. Its traditional dishes offer never ending flavor and spice of varying levels. Equally abundant are Indian and Chinese restaurants, as those are the other two primary ethnic groups in the country. Let your taste buds run wild through the night markets and food stalls as you discover nasi lemak (Malay), curry laksa (Chinese), banana leaf rice (Indian) and more!
- The Melting Pool – America prides itself on being a melting pot of cultural diversity, but it’s nothing compared to the melting POOL that is Malaysia. There may only be 3 main ethnic groups in the country (native Malay, Chinese and Indian), but they’re all representing themselves with such pride and distinction that it makes for quite the cultural experience. To zero in on a specific community in Kuala Lumpur, venture over to Little India or China Town. Or simply wander any street to feel the whirlwind of languages, music, aromas and people rush all around you in time with the pulsating rhythm of the city.
- Jungle Fever – From white water rafting, to trekking and hiking, Malaysia is built for the outdoor adventurer. You can also enjoy a break from civilization by snorkeling or diving in one of the country’s stunning marine parks, or conquering Mt. Kinabalu, the 20th tallest peak in the world (4,095m). For the best combination of beaches, rainforest, coral reefs and mountain peaks, head to the northern-lying state of Sabah, located on the island of Borneo.
- Shop Till You Drop – If nature isn’t your thing, or you just need a good blast of air conditioning, Malaysia has no shortage of massive shopping malls. Kuala Lumpur boasts 17 mega malls alone! For a complete breakdown of its top 10, visit this site. From affordable brands like H&M to the usual high-end retail names, these commercial structures on steroids have enough stores to keep you window shopping for days.
- Travel Through Time – The ultimate mission for any traveler is to visit a different era. While it’s still not physically possible, Malaysia’s combination of world heritage sites and futuristic skyscrapers is basically the next best thing. Cruise through colonial times along the winding canals and 15th-century Dutch buildings of Malacca, or stroll the streets of George Town and its 19th-century British shophouses. Then, speed into the height of modernity towards the city center of Kuala Lumpur, where you’ll find the crowd-favorite Twin Towers and a host of other new-age structures.
- Rolling in Ringgits – The ringgit is the national currency of Malaysia. And right now, it’s going through quite the rough patch, which is bad news for locals but good news for tourists. With a conversation rate of 1 USD to just over 4 MYR, there’s never been a better (read: cheaper) time to visit than right now. Affordable meals, reasonable hotels and astonishingly cheap domestic flights abound.
So, what are you waiting for?!
What do you usually buy as souvenirs when you travel other countries? Small magnets? Cards? Or key chains? You may have had an experience of buying some souvenirs that only took a large portion of your suitcase and never looking at them again. So, Trazy recommends you the top 5 souvenirs from Korea that you won’t regret buying at all.
Most of the cosmetic facial packs are cream types that need to be washed off after you apply them. However, Koreans frequently use sheet masks as facial pack that can be used easily without washing the face. All you need to do is to spread the essence-soaked sheet on your face for 15 minutes. Sheet masks have various effects like hydration and brightening.
By the way, animal-face shaped sheet masks are popular in Korea right now. Usually the price of sheet masks is between 1,000 won and 5,000 won. Sometimes, they are sold in a bundle at a discounted price. If you give sheet masks to your female family members or friends, they will love them for sure!
2. So many to choose – Ramyeon (Instant Noodle)
Korea is the heaven of ramyeon. You can find more than 30 kinds of ramyeon such as spaghetti ramyeon, cheese flavor ramyeon, and chicken soup flavor ramyeon. If you really like spicy food and dare to try anything, buy ‘Buldak Bokkeummyeon’ ramyeon, which is renowned for its super spiciness. Since it’s quite easy to get the most popular ramyeon (which is Shin ramyeon) outside of Korea, why don’t you bring some unique flavored ramyeon and surprise your family and friends?
3. The best alcohol in the world – Soju
Soju is Korean traditional alcohol that you can easily find not only in restaurants but also in supermarkets. Do you know that soju has been the most consumed alcohol for more than 10 years around the world? Luckily it costs only 1,000 ~ 2,000 won to buy a bottle of Soju in Korea, while you have to pay at least two or three times as much in other countries. Usually soju is contained in green glass bottles, but some soju brands have bottle made of plastic in smaller size.
4. Jack of all trades – Rice cooker
Rice cookers made in Korea have many functions that can’t be found in other rice cookers such as cooking porridge, steaming, and making a chewy rice crust at the bottom of the rice cooker. They even have a self-cleaning function! You can easily make several different dishes with one rice cooker. Some famous brands from Korea like Cuckoo and Cuchen have their branches outside of Korea, so you don’t need to worry about after sales service
5. Side dish or snack? – Dried seaweed
In Asian countries, dried seaweed is mostly served with rice, but in western countries, it is becoming popular as a healthy organic snack with low calories. You can easily find dried seaweed in any supermarket. When you buy them, make sure the product that you are buying is seasoned with salts. As the dried seaweed is very light, you can have many dried seaweed sheets as long as you have enough space in your suitcase.