Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I think I'm just Going to Triple Down on the Cheating...

Cheating in Korean Universities

This incident happened a couple months ago at the beginning of the semester, but it's been in the back of my mind since then and I'm reminded of it every single time I see this girl in my writing class.

Here's what happened:

Students had to write an essay for their first homework. A couple students cheated by copying from the Internet--it was very easy to catch them using an advanced Google search for exact phrases.

This specific girl submitted an essay that was better than the stuff you find on the Internet or even that you'd pay someone to write for you. It was like something a professional journalist had done, but I couldn't find it on the Internet. I can't even emphasize how good it was-like itwas three times better than any essay ever submitted to me during 8 years teaching in Korean universities.

I compared her essay to the little "get to know me" essay she'd done in class on the first day (the ultimate way to catch cheaters, btw!) and they were worlds apart. Like she's an okay writer but had basic spelling mistakes, overused vocabulary, no structure and quite simple grammatical constructions. In short, the 2 essays were nothing alike.

I gave her no score on her paper and asked her to come talk to me after class. I said that I knew she didn't write it, but I had no proof because I couldn't find it on the Internet. She doubles down and tells me she stayed up all night working on it. I asked if she had a native English speaker proofread it and she said no, that she did it all by herself, which made it all the more unbelievable.

She starts crying. I tell her that I'm going to wait until she does her in-class essay for the midterm exam and make a decision then.

Midterm exams come. Her essay is average--she got a "B-." It was obvious that she didn't write the homework essay. I give her a zero and she again tells me that she really did write it. I tell her I'm not changing my mind, but Teacher X and Teacher Y from USA and Australia (the other teachers in my department) could read all her stuff, give me their opinions and I would follow it. She declines.

Now, this is where it gets even crazier. The next class, she triples down and hands me a note. I was expecting something like, "Teacher, I'm sorry that I lied. Please forgive me." Instead, it basically says that she's not a liar and she doesn't want me to think badly of her.

How would you have handled it? Have you ever had a student triple down like this?

Despite stuff like this, working at a Korean uni is a pretty sweet job. Here's how to get it: How to Get a University Job in South Korea

Monday, May 25, 2015

Top 5 ESL Teaching Resume Tips

ESL Teaching Resume Tips
I've had a couple people emailing me in the last weeks asking for some feedback on their resumes and it was hard to help them because they didn't even really have the basic things right. Here are my top 5 tips for your ESL teaching resume.

1. 1 page! Nobody wants to read more than this.

2. Relevant things only. Nobody cares what your BA was in it's not something directly related to English, TESOL or education.

3. Don't list references. This is a big waste of space and it's assumed that you'll have these.

4. Don't mention the obvious. For example, you know how to use a computer or the Internet. Doesn't everybody these days?

5. The picture. Get one professionally done! This is the most important thing.

For even more tips about your ESL teaching resume and a sample tip, be sure to check out my book on Amazon:How to Get a University Job in South Korea.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Top 5 ESL Speaking Activities

esl speaking
Top 5 ESL Speaking Activities

Here are some of my go-to speaking activities for conversation classes. While many of the activities are designed for adults, some of them can be adapted really easily for kids too. I try to make activities that are interesting, fun and interactive and I hope you find some of them useful in your classes.

Small Talk Warm-Up Game- a fun activity to practice this important skill that's hard to design good activities for.

Just a Minute Speaking Activity- an excellent warm-up for intermediate-advanced level students

Problem/Advice- it's also a great reported speech activity

Tell Your Story- Another activity to work on reported speech

Taboo- ESL speaking game for kids and adults

Kotesol National Conference 2015

The Kotesol national conference 2015 is coming up soon on May 30th in Seoul. 

I'll be presenting on the very academic topic of,"How to Get a University Job in South Korea" at 1:00 in the giant auditorium, Gemma Hall. I hate the lecture style of presentation so please sit near the front and talk to me so my presentation can be more interactive, okay? I'm kind of nervous. Thanks. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

What to do With the Money you Make Teaching!

Investing for Expats
The Wealthy English Teacher

So you're working in Korea and making a bit of money, probably more than you can spend each month. What to do with it, especially after you've paid off all your debts? It can be pretty complicated because there are so many options and trying to invest as an expat adds a further layer of complication.

Good news for you! I wrote a book about personal finance for English teachers living abroad. You can get it on Amazon for $2.99 US. I promise that you'll find it useful, or I'll happily refund you the money via PayPal. So far, the reviews have been pretty stellar.

The Wealthy English Teacher: Teach, Travel, and Secure Your Financial Future

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

ESL Speaking Games and Activities

esl speaking games and activities
ESL Speaking Games and Activities

If you're looking for some solid ESL speaking games or activities for your classes, check out these posts over on my other site, ESL Speaking.

Small talk ESL speaking game- adults, beginner--->advanced levels.

Problem/Advice: Reported speech speaking activity- adults, intermediate--->advanced

Daily Schedule interview activity- kids and adults, beginner--->intermediate

Conversation Starters for ESL students- kids and adults, beginner--->intermediate

Role Play ESL speaking activity- kids and adults, beginner--->high-intermediate

Even more awesomeness, delivered straight to your inbox once a week. More than 40 ESL game and activity ideas, as well as lesson plans, website recommendations and other good stuff. I promise to respect your privacy and nobody has unsubscribed in weeks!

Sign-up for Jackie Bolen's mailing list.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Student-Centered Teaching

student centered
Student-Centered Teaching

A request from one of my readers about student centered teaching in preparation for his interview at a Korean university.

I talk a lot about in upcoming book about No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking activities, which you can get for free if you sign-up for my email list before I publish it. Do it soon--the book is in the final editing stages and will be out in a week or two.

But, in the meantime, check out some of these posts I've done in years gone by about just this very topic:

Teacher Centered vs. Student Centered Classrooms

Grammar Teaching: Student Centered Style

Relative Clauses, Student-Centered Teaching Style

Teacher-Centered is Bad!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

8 Conversation Lesson Plans for University and Adult Students in Korea

Conversation Lesson Plans for Adults in Korea

These are all tried and tested conversation lesson plans that I designed and used in my own intermediate-advanced conversation or current events classes. Many of the articles are authentic materials that I found from around the web.

Minimum Wage in Korea

Youth Unemployment in Korea

Renewable Energy Lesson Plan- Works for students in any country.

North-South Korea Unification

Agricultural Subsidies in Korea- Advanced students only.

South Korea's Education System

Studying Abroad Lesson Plan

Cigarette Prices in Korea to Double

Even more lesson plan and ESL activity awesomeness. I promise to respect your privacy. Sign-up for Jackie Bolen's Email List.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Free Talking and Why I Loathe It

free talking
Why I hate Free Talking

Over on my other website, ESL Speaking I talked about free talking and why I loathe it. It got a lot of discussion and comments over on Facebook.

The original, quite controversial post: ESL Free Talking

The explanation: Free Talking and Why I Loathe It, Explained