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korean University Freshman: a teachers nightmare!
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Austin



Joined: 23 May 2003
Location: In the kitchen

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 9:52 am    Post subject: Maxi... Reply with quote

Maxi,

Reform? Are you serious?

Since when does knowledge have to be a zero-sum game? Just because I know something first, does not mean that others should not be allowed to access that same information.

I encourage my students to help their fellow classmates, as that is the type of classroom, community, society, etc. that leads more people to fulfillment. I firmly assert that tests and exams only serve as a tool to justify separating people. Take a look how the results from the TOEFL, etc. are used. Higher education has turned into a filter against the bourgeoisie.

Can we be serious? How do you think George W. Bush got admitted to Yale and graduated? I am positive the endowments from the Walker and Bush clan over the previous century had nothing to do with someone with less than a 2.0 gpa in high school being accepted to Yale (getting his degree is another story)! Yale is their family's legacy, so what of your ideas of fair competition?

Most educated people realize that the democracy you espouse does not exist in the U.S. It never has. Those founding aristocrats were the wealthiest men in the New World, and they wanted to protect their wealth with a form of government that would allow them to continue to exploit the land and its people. Nothing has changed much since then. Are those principles truly "self-evident?"

Care to explain the principles behind the oxymoron "intellectual fraud?" It is all about profits!

Capitalism has no place in any legitimate educational setting. Knowledge is not something that can be disseminated without the learner being ready to receive that information. Socrates and Plato had it right!

The real issue: Your problem with cheating is that it presents a conflict to your ego! You genuinely believe that what you are doing has value, the "I am gonna to teach you something!" mentality. The cheating becomes a direct affront to everything you "work" to accomplish, so allow me to give you this wake up call: Your premise is a fallacy!

The purpose of language is to be understood, to communicate, so unless you are going to communicate only with yourself you need to be able to interact with people. What type of classroom, community, and society do you want to create? You can be an agent for positive change, or you can become part of the establishment that we inherited.

Again, if you could answer why we test and assess students in the first place, your journey might make things clearer for you.

I agree with you on one point. Why not give everyone an A?

That way we can focus on assisting our students acquire the English language. Unless, you would rather continue playing "gatekeeper."

SCSA
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bignate



Joined: 30 Apr 2003
Location: Hell's Ditch

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A funny little anecdote in regards to this:

When the Inuit came under state run educational programing the officials sent to assess there relative intelligence and educational background, gave them a test.

After the test was handed out the instructor said to go. All of the Inuit children got up and formed a group to discuss the problems and how they would go about answering.

The teacher asked them to return to their seats. They did, but in five minutes they were back together again, answering the questions together. The teacher asked them what they were doing.

One student said this was how the Inuit solved all their problems, they would get together, discuss the answers and gain the knowledge together. The teacher, asked them if they could do it themselves. They said 'Yes, we can do it alone fine, but together we can do it much better.' another said 'If we do it alone, some might not succeed, but together we all succeed'
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Austin



Joined: 23 May 2003
Location: In the kitchen

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 1:43 pm    Post subject: Finally...oh yeah! Reply with quote

Thank you for shining the light where some have never been able to see!

SCSA
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Medic



Joined: 11 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 3:11 pm    Post subject: korean University Freshman: a teachers nightmare! Reply with quote

Previous postings about getting students to help one another the way the Inuits do, and perhaps giving them all A's so that we can then get down to teaching them English are good and interesting, but can't we at least try to be practical.

What are some of the ways you organize Korean students to help one another. I've tried it with my students a couple of times, and it works if I have material that they might be interested in discussing. After that how do you get one of the group to summarise what the group has been talking about. Pretty nigh impossible with students who just don't want to speak English. The Inuits speak English, so what they do doesn't really apply in Korea.

Giving Korean students all As is the same as telling them not to worry, but just to do their best. You could go on and tell them that if they at least try they will get a good grade, but then how are you going to grade when some try harder than others. If you told Korean students they were all automatically going to recieve As your classes would all be empty for the rest of the semester. At times though I've told some students who were heads and shoulders above the other students that I'd give them an automatic A, and that they didn't have to attend classes anymore. Seoul National University requires English speaking Kyopos who have come to Korea to study to still take the Freshman English classes. Can you believe it? The English teachers there haven't figured out how to get rid of them, so they have a hell of a time.
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Hank Scorpio



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

steroidmaximus wrote:
I've been asked to lighten up with this, that I don't understand Korean culture


Actually I'd have to agree that cheating seems to be very big with Korean culture. Ever played an online game with Koreans? Every cheat, hack, and lamer tactic is used extravagantly. That's why I stopped playing these games with Koreans (or any other cheating scum jackass).
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Austin



Joined: 23 May 2003
Location: In the kitchen

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 5:58 pm    Post subject: Medic... Reply with quote

Does the acquisition of a language have to be competitive?

I assert that competition has no place in an educational setting, especially language learning, if your goal is for all of your participants to improve in their ability. Obviously, if your claim that your students do not wish to speak English is correct, then you need to discover why before you can move forward. Usually the answer rests with your students not feeling safe in their educational environment (i.e. afraid to look foolish, conflict with their ego, etc.). Therefore, one of my first priorities would be to create a safe learning environment where students will feel safe in their attempts to approximate the language.

You missed the point of what has been written before about the Inuit by taking it literally, the idea was that students should be encouraged to help one another so they can all experience success, and that does apply to Korea or anywhere.

Again, I fear by your response that you have misunderstood what has been written. What is a grade? What are their intrinsic and extrinsic values? What does the mark represent? Is it useful, apart from filtering the students? Is it based on effort or production?

Why do you assume your classroom would be empty? What does that tell you? Do you think you can force a person to learn? Would you rather they reproduce bits of the English language for a grade, as supposed to being motivated intrinsically to acquire the language?

Why would you tell a student not to attend your class because their ability was high? That student could have helped you assist the rest of your class improve their language ability, while experiencing success along with the rest of the other students.

SCSA
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desultude



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Location: Dangling my toes in the Persian Gulf

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that it is better to work with the culture than against it. I am used to students in the United States. I expected competition from my students when I brought prizes to class for the winners of games.

They continually help each other with the answers and cheer each other on. Its hard for anyone to lose, but I manage to find a "winner." I had also been worried about hurt feelings. At the end of the games everyone cheers wildly for the winner, who then opens the box of cookies and shares them, giving the first one to me. They all have a great time.

As for exams, at my university we have lot of latitude to direct our own classes as we wish. I have remembered, after much struggle to figure out how to test students and how to aviod the cheating problems, etc., that the best test is one that is another teaching tool. A test should evaluate adequately, to tell you what the students have learned and where they are weak. But it can also be another moment of learning, as opposed to being the stressful point of competition that it is many places.

The grades in my classes are based on, first, attendance and completion of homework. Second, on how much they have improved over the semester. I give a short writing assignment at the beginning of the semester, and use a copy of it as a benchmark for evaluating the final written work. I do like wise with speaking. That way the students are evaluated on their own progress, now on how much better or worse they are than their fellow student.

In other words, I try very hard, as I can see others have that have posted here, to work with the student's strengths to help them learn.
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bignate



Joined: 30 Apr 2003
Location: Hell's Ditch

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2003 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Medic said,
Quote:
Previous postings about getting students to help one another the way the Inuits do, and perhaps giving them all A's so that we can then get down to teaching them English are good and interesting, but can't we at least try to be practical.


Perhaps the solution is to inform them that they all have an A to begin with. But that in order to keep that A they will have to be in class and work with one another to keep it, if they know that they will lose grades for missing class they will be there.

As Austin said, it is all about motivation, extrinsic in the knowledge that they are already top of the class, yet will have to work in order to keep it, and intrinsically through the pride of having that A and knowing success before they have even tried. Another way is through mastery learning, that if you meet a cerrtain bench mark you can get a perfect score.

This means collaboration and cooperation, no one gains when competition takes away from learning. It only allows the elite to learn well. The people who have had more advantage in the area of english training outside the university will of course do better on the exam.

How about that student who made significant advances in their english, but is still not at the same level as the rest of the class? The student made actual gains in the area of language acquisition, but comparatively will do poorly on a test relating him or her to the rest of class.

I not for giving a student a free ride, they should have to work in order to learn. I find that competition in education causes many students to fall behind. The story about the Inuit children was just a story to illustrate that education does not have to be about a grade or a hierarchy, but about learning for the benefit of society and learning for the sake of learning.
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Chonbuk



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2003 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi-

I read this thead this afternoon as my (students sophmores) were handing in their assignments.
Now I'm grading their assignments and they really have taken plagarism to the next level......

We have discussed copying in class

I gave them 0 on their first assignments for doing this, seems as though they have very short memories so a whole new batch of zero's will be assigned.

Funny thing with my grading- I have a whole bunch of 100's and a whole bunch of 0's .

Good thing we don't use the bell curve.

What do you do with direct plagarism?

stumped in grading hell.


Chonbuk
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Kyrei



Joined: 22 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2003 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Austin's comments about the altruistic value of teaching a language are a wonderful read but are not realistic to the situation presented in this thread. I would love to give students an A if they attend the class, participate and make some kind of effort to improve. Collaborative effort is great, solo effort is great -- people come in all kinds. However, the institution I work for, and I suspect it is the same for many involved in this thread, requires a certain number of As, Bs and Cs. (An F seems to be rewarded with the grade disappearing from the transcript to be replaced by a grade from another course to be taken at a later date, so a D is a more effective deterrant.)

My point is this: isn't the question of "why grade" moot since giving all students an "A for effort" ends up with me out looking for a new job? The university has proven this in the recent past and fired professors for doing just that. Call me a mercenary for looking out for myself if you want, I don't mind. How can one grade students effectively (arguments about the number of As or Bs that must be handed out aside)? If I must adhere to these policies set down by the administration, how can I make them work for the students?

I agree, the freshmen are unmotivated, disproportionately unprepared for class, and on a much lower scale of ability than was seen in previous years. Maybe '03 was just a bad crop.

Just rambing I guess...
Kyrei
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Medic



Joined: 11 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2003 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Austin, Bignate thank you for your posts. Something there to ponder.
I am able to get them to work in groups, and find that korean students are quite egalitarian. Sometimes too much in fact. The good students usually help the other not so good students as a matter of course. The not so good students I've found actually demand it of the good students. Some use it as a learning experience. Others don't. Now and again I will get students who have actually tried to internalise what I've tried to teach them, and thus have that intrinsic sense of accomplishment and understanding we all want them to have. It's a good feeling too when you see it.

More often than not I'm reduced to finding something I like to teach, and which I can therefore teach with enthusiasim. It has to be challenging, and stimulating to the students as well. So if I'm lucky, and I find material that fits all categories, I have a good lesson.
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Canadian Teacher



Joined: 22 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trinny wrote:
Is there anybody teaching at the so-called top-tier universities? How about students from these universities? Do they goof off as well?


I worked at one of the so called "top-tier" unis for three years. I thought the freshmen were horrible while I was there.

This year I changed unis, the reason being national unis don't pay well. What an eye opener it has been. My so called "top-tier" students were all Einsteins compared to the dolts I have in class now because if Daddi has money, you are in a private university in Korea.
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William Beckerson
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2003 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

steroidmaximus wrote:
Things that irk me about working at a Uni:

- 2 minutes notice...
- suggested textbooks: written by colleagues, chock full of mistakes....
-Student whine and gripe....
- grading on the curve.....
- Acceptance criteria ...
Opinions?


Are you sure you're not at a kiddie hagwon and they just lied to you? Wink
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Kyrei



Joined: 22 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2003 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sometimes a university is too much like a kiddie hogwan -- just with better vacations.

Kyrei
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ed



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2003 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been thinking about this and I think I have an answer to students helping each other.

ask each student if they will ever travel outside of korea without their friends.

if the answer is no then they can rely on friends help for the rest of their lives.

if the answer is yes then they will have two choices:

either study without your friends help or

spend a lot of money on long distance calls whenever you need help in whatever country you are in.
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