Sunday, November 8, 2009

Further Education

A lot of universities in Korea look for teachers with a Masters degree in some sort of English or TESOL related field. However, I'm often not convinced that people having these degrees actually make the best teachers. I've been around the Korean ESL world for a few years and have met people that have masters degree in a seemingly relevant field do some completely wacky things in the classroom. For example: speak so fast that their students can't understand a word they're saying. Test on completely random things that had no relevance to what they studied all year. Letting their students speak Korean most of the class (okay in a grammar or TOEIC class perhaps but not in a conversation one). Droning on about grammar in a way that is not relevant, interesting or engaging. So I guess what I'm saying is that an advanced degree in the field, minus a large dose of common sense is almost useless in the classroom.

However, as far as further training goes: there are a lot of good basic teaching methodology books out there. Go to Kim and Johnson's book shop in Seoul or cruise around online for some recommendations. Check out a few of the good sites out there (links in my sidebar) and read some of the teacher training articles. Read the teacher's guides that accompany your textbooks. World Link has a particularly good teacher training section. Talk to people who are doing their masters degree or have done it. Suck all the information you can out of them. They probably won't mind. Listen to some podcasts (I like ESL Teacher Talk, Edgycation and Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips).

And...if you are serious about becoming a master of the classroom, take a CELTA course. It's reputed to be the best out there and almost a necessity for teaching in Europe. I would, except I'm more into the scuba thing now and most of my vacations are taken up doing courses in that :) One day, perhaps. It's a month long, so it's no joke.

Or, start a blog and start thinking about what you're doing and share that with others. Let me know and then we can be blogosphere friends. I feel like I'm the only one out here doing this.

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