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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.