Navigating the Teacher - Student Relationship in Korea (Part II) | The Arrival Store Expat Lounge
This paper provides a preliminary picture of teacher–student interaction in the youth-elder relationship in society as well as the senior high school's unique nature This article reports part of a larger study conducted with Korean senior high. What It's Like Teaching Students in South Korea However, what your co- teacher does and your relationship with your co-teacher will depend. While this piece of advice goes for all ages, it's especially true in high schools. Original Articles. The relations between the student–teacher trust relationship and school success in the case of Korean middle schools.
I like to always have an extra game or easy activity ready in case I need to pass the time. Korean students are shy and for the most part have been taught English in a very systematic way that does not encourage much spontaneous conversation or creativity, but everyone loves a good game. If you are teaching middle or high school students, you will hit culture barriers immediately in trying to do activities that involve acting out emotions or creative work. The Korean education system is based on memorization and repetition, thus the idea of writing a creative essay or performing an action is completely foreign to them no pun intended.
I recently went to a workshop where a teacher described how confused and distraught her middle school students where when she tried to get them to play Charades.
Navigating the Teacher - Student Relationship in Korea (Part I) | The Arrival Store Expat Lounge
They could not understand why or how someone would act out arbitrary emotions, and were extremely embarrassed by the game. Have them imitate you or someone else. For example, when trying to get my students give speeches, I first had them watch and imitate President Obama speaking.
Having a model made it easier for the students to practice their speaking skills and it made a funny game for the class. And of course I started by doing the first impression! As I emphasized in my last post, some of the same rules still apply: This might explain the tendency of the first four students to arrive at my class to sit at separate tables in silence along perhaps with an obsession with the L1-free classroom.
The habit of letting the higher status person lead the conversation can also be confusing in the English classroom, as I fairly often get an older student often male who dominates the conversation, but that in no way is received well by their partner who is paying an equal amount to be in the classroom, has a focus on speaking skills, and knows that in English they should get a fair say.
It must be said, however, that quite a few of the dominating students that I have taught have not had too good social skills, so it might be silly, as with so many other things, to blame this on Confucius.
- Navigating the Teacher – Student Relationship in Korea (Part 2)
- Navigating the Teacher – Student Relationship in Korea (Part 1)
If you teach Koreans straight after Latin students, however, you will certainly notice a lot more embarrassment and discomfort in the English language classroom. This is a lot easier to understand in Japan, where the Japanese often seem embarrassed and uncomfortable in their own language and culture. Koreans seem a lot more uninhibited and natural in the street, and yet even more uncomfortable in the classroom. One is that students expect a lot of correction but are horribly uncomfortable when they do get it, e.
15 cultural differences in the Korean classroom
Others include never coming back to class if they have failed a single test, being uncomfortable with a greeting if they arrive late, and freezing up when I step close to them during group speaking.
Methodology and the role of the teacher Koreans spend most of their English language learning classroom hours being taught with grammar translation by Korean teachers with somewhat limited English especially pronunciation and dated materials.
All that is done in some of the largest and most mixed-level classes in the developed world, where they have little opportunity to talk and students not paying attention are just ignored. Some of those things can transfer to their expectations in your classroom, but the stronger effect is them expecting exactly the opposite from classes that they chose for themselves. Things that Koreans might still subconsciously expect from your classes include being able to switch off from time to time mainly meaning staring into space during grammar presentations in my classesand a teacher who has all the answers.
The opposite things that they might expect from your classes include small class sizes, lots of opportunities to speak, lots of individual attention from the teacher, and a lack of focus on grammar. If you are a non-Korean teacher, they will also expect something from you that they could not get from a Korean teacher, for example cultural tips, lots of pronunciation practice, up-to-date idiomatic language, or improving their understanding of native speakers by listening to you.
You might have also come to the conclusion that most students would be much better just doing one-to-one classes, but high prices, a shortage of native-speaking teachers and visa restrictions that make it hard to work outside schools make this difficult or impossible for most students.
Matters on which there might be wildly varying views depending on age, personality etc include pairwork, correction, language learning games, and testing. Hard work The Koreans have got themselves where they are today, from sub-Saharan African levels of poverty and post-Korean War devastation to developed country status in record time, and mainly through hard work.
For example, the two day weekend is a relatively recent innovation and the government is trying to cut down on cram schools for kids that stay open past midnight. Students therefore enter class with an expectation that they will cover a lot, that they will be given lots of homework, and that the teacher will be strict about completing those things.
However, apart from an initial surge of enthusiasm and preparation for tests, the work rate of students is hardly likely to match those expectations. The attitude to games can be unfortunate, because their lack of energy and motivation, along with their inefficient study skills, make some fun absolutely essential. That openness seems to extend to acceptance of almost any answer to that question, and telling them that you are an atheist is unlikely to cause the shock or even student complaints that it would in the Middle East.
Another thing related to religion is that the traditional Korean customs that you read about may be specific to one religion, depend on religion, or at least not be performed by committed Christians. With kids it is often due to having their parents pack too much into their days and so finishing a piano class 10 minutes before your class which is a 15 minute walk away. I have a feeling a lack of knowledge of their own limits is also a factor with my adult students, as students demanding more homework in week one have often burnt out by the end of the course and the extra copies of worksheets that they ask for usually go unread.
This is also famously how Korean companies operate, by setting impossible targets and almost reaching them through sheer hard work and slog. My students also tell me that Korean time keeping has always been quite bad but is getting better.
In a questionnaire on acceptability of certain classroom actions given to advanced level learners of eight different nationalities of student in America http: I make my young learners apologise for being late, but they seem shocked to be asked and not even to understand what I am asking them to say, so I have a feeling they would just be expected to sneak in without making a fuss in their school classrooms.
Politics and nationalism Many Korean students, especially higher level ones, often see talking about serious topics and a bit of debate as exactly what they expect of an English class. A particularly dangerous topic is which country owns which particular uninhabited rocks in the region, and what names are to be used for them.
This means that maps used in the classroom will need to be limited to ones produced in Korea, especially as a map with Sea of Japan written on it is something students will and do complain about. The history that most Koreans remember from school tends to focus on overwhelmingly positive stories on a few heroes, similar to what most British people remember about Elizabeth I. The latter is also true of topics about Korean geography and traditional culture.
Customer service If you are working in private language institution like I was, you are in the strange position of being half respected teacher and half someone serving them for money and so right down the bottom of the politeness scale with waiters and shop assistants in convenience stores who get little more than a grunt from their customers.
Many Koreans are not shy about making their views, e. Mobile phones and technology Korean students tend to use a built-in or online dictionary in their mobile phones rather than buying a separate electronic dictionary, with the inevitable problems with the phones being on for distracting arrival of text messages etc.
Other students seem to think that it is perfectly okay to answer calls during to class, maybe just to say that they are too busy, but sometimes to go out of the classroom to take the call. I prefer to approach things more indirectly and just ban all dictionary use, with all vocabulary enquiries coming to me or their classmates instead.
The other major influence of technology on your students is likely to be the huge impact of computer games on Korea, with sleepless nights in PC Bang smoky internet cafes where almost everyone is playing online games and two TV channels dedicated to professional computer game players is all part of the culture.
To start with, this could explain the glassy eyed tiredness of your students!