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Do You Need To Speak Korean To Teach English In Korea?
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NinjaTeacher



Joined: 31 Jan 2014

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:45 am    Post subject: Do You Need To Speak Korean To Teach English In Korea? Reply with quote

I shot a video covering this topic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ki5aUEc1kEA

If you have any questions, let me know.
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le-paul



Joined: 07 Apr 2009
Location: dans la chambre

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only watched the first few seconds where you said 'the short answer is no...'. I completely disagree with you.

In terms of time management, or checking comprehension (and a few other things), a direct translation is a lot more practical. It can take from between a few seconds to a few minutes to explain a words meaning, even then, there is no way to be sure a person comprehends it exactly.
Without being entirely sure of a translations comprehension, you are in danger of mis-educating people - as well as time wasting.

Try explaining the word shame as in 'its a shame' when the students dont know the word for 'pity' etc. I can translate it in 3 seconds and move on.

Or explain what the concept of messy and then they say 'Ah, you mean dorup-da (however you spell it)?!' You say, 'yeah, it must be', or whatever - youve just mis-informed someone.

There is a time and a place for explaining the meanings of words, and always isnt it.
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't need to speak Korean but you need to know how to teach vocabulary properly. By that I mean you need to be experienced enough to know what mistakes students can make with vocabulary, give decent examples and and ask the right CCQs to make sure they get the message. Translations are sometimes necessary but electronic dictionaries are always on hand.

The concept of wasting time is not relevant as if you're communicating something effectively in the language you're teaching, it's a valuable learning experience for the students. What are you 'saving time' for? I would make an exception for very low level students who probably need translation occasionally to avoid demotivation.

IMO a lot worse damage is done by Korean teachers thinking something is a direct translation when it isn't and the students picking up fossilized errors such as 'I envy you', 'frankly speaking' or 'I played with my friends (from a 20 year old)
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The way I see it, it's a tool in your toolbox. If you can speak Korean, the options for what you can do with your class and how you can explain concepts has increased. You'll be able to more easily take questions from your students, you'll be able to more easily confirm that they understand what you've taught them, and it also helps substantially with classroom control. You don't strictly "need" it, but it's beneficial, and it's not necessarily true that one will always have a Korean co-teacher.

edwardcatflap wrote:
The concept of wasting time is not relevant as if you're communicating something effectively in the language you're teaching, it's a valuable learning experience for the students.


I've never, ever felt this way in either of the foreign languages I've been learning. Not even once. When I've had a question regarding grammar patterns or vocabulary nuance, I wanted a concise, reliable answer to a (usually difficult) question in a timely fashion and one which I had more or less zero percent chance of misunderstanding, not an opportunity to practice my listening comprehension. I would always have much prefered a brief, direct explanation in my target language. My current Chinese textbook has stopped using English grammar descriptions and instead has all the explanations written in Chinese. I hate it. I can read it, and I can more or less grasp what they're getting at, but I hate it; it forces me to learn vocabulary I've really no need for right now just in order to use my resources (and learning Chinese vocabulary is a non-trivial feat). If I'm going to practice reading comprehension, I want to do it regarding an interesting subject with vocabulary appropriate to my interests and level of language development, not wading through techncial descriptions of phrases, and if I'm going to practice listening comprehension, the same. With Korean I'm to the point where I can comfortably read explanations of nuance or grammar in my target language, but that means I've no cause to ask a Korean native speaker the question in the first place, right?

You often talk about qualifications, mentioning you can be a good teacher without qualifications, but suggesting that they usually make a teacher better. That's exactly how I feel about proficiency in the student's language. You can be a good English teacher without being able to speak the student's language, but you'll usually be a better one if you can speak Korean, or Vietnamese, or Thai, or whatever your student's speak.
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Stu_miller



Joined: 23 Apr 2014

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I pretty much agree with Fox. It's not essential to know a student's native language, but it can definitely help in terms of time and conciseness. Although, it should be noted there's a risk if the teacher is semi-proficient in the native language that they may end up mis-translating or giving inappropriate examples.

In Thai, I always try to check my essential vocab beforehand with a Thai native to make sure it's appropriate. Then when I give the Thai translation in class, I will try to ask CCQs in English and request examples sentences to confirm understanding, or lack thereof.

I guess it's like anything, don't overuse any one tool that you have, but if you include it appropriately as a small part of your skill-set, then it can definitely improve the standard of your teaching and understanding.
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le-paul



Joined: 07 Apr 2009
Location: dans la chambre

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

at edwardcat;

'Saving time' so that I can move on and teach something more relevant, or at least try to follow my lesson plan (an example would be when reading, and a student doesn't understand a word - its very easy to get sidetracked and lose the flow of the session. Translate and move on).

Time is limited in a classroom - improving your language skills however, has few limits.
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could save even more time by just having the students ask questions in their language as well.

[/quote]I've never, ever felt this way in either of the foreign languages I've been learning. Not even once. [quote]

That's you. Learners are different and most adults in my experience, including myself, prefer not to use or have their L1 used in the class room.
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isitts



Joined: 25 Dec 2008
Location: Korea

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I don't think translations translate very well. Sometimes I think it's fine, but other times it's clearly not conveying the right idea. So, I'm generally not a fan of translation.

That said, it does help to know Korean so you know where the errors are coming from.

For example:

"I talked to an uncle." Or, "I talked to a grandfather."
"Nice to meet you."
"Did you eat rice?"
etc.

Some ideas in Korean simply don't exist in English. So translating, itself, can be the waste of time.


Last edited by isitts on Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

edwardcatflap wrote:

That's you. Learners are different...


Yes, learners are different. Being able to accommodate those differences seems to me to be a strength.

Which languages have you learned to a high level of proficiency, out of curiosity?
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote]

Yes, learners are different. Being able to accommodate those differences seems to me to be a strength.

[quote]

Difficult when you're teaching to a class.



Which languages have you learned to a high level of proficiency, out of curiosity? [quote]

None but I've known a few well enough to use them in the class room. Very
rarely needed to though.
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

edwardcatflap wrote:

Difficult when you're teaching to a class.


Providing additional written material for students who prefer grammatical explanation in their native languages is not difficult at all (though it does require a bit more preparation time, which I'm willing to do). This is in fact what I do for my (mostly low level) adult students. Anything I think they won't understand, I've got ready for them in Korean beforehand. I give them a chance to grasp it in English, and if they do, great, if not, then instead of getting frustrated or embarrassed, they've got immediate recourse at which they can glance which doesn't take any additional class time. And even when they do seem to grasp the English explanation, they like the security of being able to confirm in Korean, either through reading or verbally. Like you said, learners are different, right? I'm glad I can accommodate them in this regard, even if there are other students out there who might not need or want it (in which case, I wouldn't have to do it, right?).


Last edited by Fox on Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This debate has been done to death before on here. You're entitled to your opinion but the majority of academic thought on the subject is against you at the moment. Also you can probably get away with using L1 at a public school or in a university but another fact is you will get complaints if you do it in a commercial environment
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the information about the academic orthodoxy. Fortunately truth isn't a democracy, so I'll stick with the minority of academics who suggest L1 has a limited role in the classroom, coinciding as it does with both my teaching experiences and my (efficacious) learning experiences. Thanks for the chat.
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le-paul



Joined: 07 Apr 2009
Location: dans la chambre

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

isitts wrote:
Personally, I don't think translations translate very well. Sometimes I think it's fine, but other times it's clearly not conveying the right idea. So, I'm generally not a fan of translation.

That said, it does help to know Korean so you know where the errors are coming from.

For example:

"I talked to an uncle." Or, "I talked to a grandfather."
"Nice to meet you."
"Did you eat rice?"
etc.

Some ideas in Korean simply don't exist in English. So translating, itself, can be the waste of time.


So, youve just in effect contradicted yourself and highlighted the need for translations whether they be direct or ambiguous.
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northway



Joined: 05 Jul 2010

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have a funny accent.
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