Desk warming it can be both a blessing and a curse. My students spent the last three days on a field trip to Lotte World, while I stayed dutifully at my desk…doing basically…[lacunae]. Thus, when I look at the tweaks I made to my teaching, well there weren’t too many, thus my Friday routine is a bit disjointed. Nevertheless, I feel there are two improvements I made during the week:
Rules for the Games This simple shift made my day a lot less stress-drenched. My students are addicted to the various games available at places like waygook.org. This week I have added a few new rules to encourage more participation from all learners and to calm down the rabble, I mean my students. For example, if a student didn’t raise their hand before providing an answer the team would lose a point during the game. Each student had a maximum of 2 answers he could provide during the game (typically consisting of 20 questions total). At that point, a different student had to provide the answer. Since students enjoy the games, for the most part all students went along without too much resistance. However, I felt the need to explicitly state: “please raise your hand (a prefab students learned at the beginning of the semester)” right before students were prompted to provide an answer. So far, it is a workable system.
Joined Toastmasters This is an idea which has been incubating in me for some time. I guess the seeds really began to sprout when Ralph Cousins, co-chair of the 2013 KOTESOL international conference (“Never name drop, Quentin Tarantino told me that…” Bob Saget), mentioned the possibility of co-branding with toastmasters for a speech contest during KOTESOL’s most recent leadership retreat. So, after some hesitation (and negotiations with my wife!), I finally attended a meeting at PNU. Much to my surprise there are three toastmasters groups in Busan—in PNU, Kyungsung, and Seomyeon (http://busan.toastmastersclubs.org/… http://gogetters.toastmastersclubs.org/… http://bbb.toastmastersclubs.org/). Anyhow, my basic goal is to become a more skilled presenter of information—I suppose that means communicate with more energy and cheer. When I reflect on the many teachers I had during my university days, I feel the ones who really attended to the details of effective presenting—i.e. delivering a well-timed anecdote, physical appearance, et al. left a deeper impression on me. I’m sure I can use the benefit of getting feedback from this group to improve my teaching, even if at a somewhat superficial level.
That’s about it for this week in terms of professional development activities/insights/inspiration. Next week, I’m sure my students will provide me with a series of challenges to which I will find less than adequate, yet workable solutions…such is the eternal process of teaching.
Questions nagging me
The outlook is getting increasingly bleak for the EPIK program (here’s a link: http://nwww.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20130305001101). Thus, as I am an EPIK member currently, who knows what my future will hold in Korea. I currently work in a middle school, and I’d like to hear some feedback on the value or role of an NES in middle school or high school. I tend to think we provide some value—we motivate students to speak (a little) English, we provide much needed diversity to the Korean classroom and school culture, but I’m not too sure we are providing much for the students’ English education, though I have worked largely in “lower SES” schools during my time in South Korea. Your opinions?