Monday, April 20, 2009


I ran across this article recently entitled, "How to be an entertaining ESL teacher." It was interesting and you should check it out, if only to disagree. He is coming from the angle of a language center, which is usually more focused on profit than education and so from this point of view, entertainment is definitely necessary or little Minsu will just go to the hagwon down the street if it's not fun. And kids of course is an entirely different gig than adults.

From my point of view, in a university setting, a happy balance is required. The students are not kids, obviously, but they're not exactly adults either, at least in Korea. It seems like almost everyone in Korea is sleep deprived so they'll fall asleep at the drop of a hat if it isn't interesting. And they do evaluations at the end of the semester, so the students have some degree of power if they really hate your class. But some things, like a short grammar lesson or whatever or some written exercises to practice the grammar just aren't interesting and there's no way around it. Or things like doing a presentation, in English. I know the students don't like it and think it's boring and not fun but for some of them, it's the only English they will actually speak the entire semester. And when they say they're bored, or the activity is not fun, I think it often means that they actually have to do the hard work of learning a second language and they're not happy about it.

So what I'm saying is this: do what you can to make your classes interesting but don't let the students get off to easy, with no real work or learning happening!

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