Tuesday, April 24, 2012

7 Keys to Teaching Young Learners English

PPT & Handouts are here with clickable links - scroll to bottom for links

Teaching English for Korean Young Learners & Teens
Aaron Jolly
Aaron D. Jolly is an English teacher, a curriculum designer and a teacher trainer. He is Director of EnglishCentral in Korea and one of the authors for the new Pearson 6-level series for Young Learners called Our Discovery Island. He has taught students of all ages in Korea, including work at private institutes for kindergarten, elementary and teenage children. He has also been a middle school teacher as well as a university lecturer and program coordinator. He was recently the National 2nd Vice President of Korea TESOL, and is an official KOTESOL teacher trainer. He is also the co-Founder and co-Facilitator of the KOTESOL Extensive Reading Special Interest Group. Please feel free to contact him at aaron.jolly@englishcentral.com

In this presentation, Aaron will introduce 10 practical keys that will help teachers provide better English learning experiences for elementary and secondary school students in Korea. For each of the 10 keys there will be cultural or theoretical background, practical advice and tips for new players and links to websites and resources.  The actual presentations will have examples relevant to elementary and secondary teachers respectively. Also please see blog posts for more links and follow up to the workshop. Each of the 10 points here will have its own mini-posts with useful info. http://thejollyprofessor.blogspot.com/
The 10 keys that Aaron will highlight are:
(1)   Understanding and cooperating with Korean kids
(2)   Understanding and working with Korean co-teachers
(3)   How to be a happy & inspired teacher.
(4)   Making fun & laughter in the class.
(5)   Creating a student centered class.
(6)   Lowering affective filters such as fear and boredom.
(7)   Using Prof. Paul Nation’s 4 x 25% rule for course/class design.
(8)   Bring your course-book alive with adaptation.  
(9)   Using awesome multimedia and Internet tools.
(10) DIY is the best. The classroom is your canvas.

(2) Understanding and cooperating with Korean kids
Korean kids, like kids everywhere, cover the full range of character types and attitudes to study. At the extreme positive end of the continuum they are some of the most brilliant, nice and engaged students anywhere in the world, whilst at the opposite end they can be the most incorrigible, frustrating and quite simply some of the least responsive students anywhere. Beware of modern Korean kids!
Cultural notes:
l  Strong group mentality, based on rice planting culture and confuscian training.
l  Youngest kids want someone who is a mother or father figure.
l  They expect teachers to be “god-like” (ie. don’t make mistakes), as in Korean hierachy after god and parents, teachers come a close third, and everyone lese is much much lower. You can harness this respect if you are brilliant with your tools. Take advantage of confuscianism if you can!
l  Teenagers are often ultra-cool, and ultra non-responsive, so you need to encourage them to take part in non-threatening ways. Or they are wacky and way over the top and you need to build respectful communication.
l  Every kid from 4th grade on (at least from middle class and up) is super-nailed busy with after school institutes.

l  Always smile even when you are very upset or disappointed.
l  Be patient and realize that it takes time to build rapport with Korean students. Never, ever shout at students, or be too familiar and too nice.  
l  Ask co-teachers to help with discipline, but find your own management system using intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.
l  Never admit failure or show too much weakness – Korea is an ultra competitive place. Tune into your inner brilliance and be amazing and then kids will respect you (for the most part).


(2) Understanding and working with Korean co-teachers
Your co-teachers like all teachers will vary in terms of commitment, personality and interest in what you are doing. Some will be very hands-on and very helpful; others will be less interested and think that it is “all up to you”. Depending on the age and experience of the person there may be little you can do to change their attitude. However if you demonstrate a lot of compassion and care for the students and a keen interest to learn and share with them – you may be able to develop an awesome team teaching environment.

Cultural notes:
l  Korean people can be very passionate and also very quiet at the extreme end of personality continuum. This means you might get invited to a lot of events, or not get invited to anything and feel shunned. Be prepared.
l  Some teachers (and any kind of professionals) are taught not to “interfere” with other peoples business which means they might not want to get involved in your work too much for a variety of reasons.
l  Age is very important in Korea. If your colleague is older than you there may be a “respect gap” which you have to navigate carefully.

l  Always smile even when you are very upset or disappointed. This is a repeat from the students part of presentation but is even more important.
l  Be patient and realize that it takes time to build rapport with Korean teachers. Show how much you are interested in your students, and in Korea and you have a chance of building a great relationship.
l  Ask the teacher when they have time to meet with you for a chat about issues, never confront people when they are busy or otherwise occupied. Be uber-polite and schedule time with them at their convenience.
l  Dress for success, appearance, posture, voice tone - all the signs of professionalism as a public person. This will go a long long way towards gathering respect from co-teachers and administrators.

Links/Resources examples:
Interview with Korean teacher about coteaching http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3uzlpYRFsQ

(3) How to be a happy & inspired teacher
These might seem like stupid questions but here goes… Are you healthy? Are you happy? If not, why not? Work it out folks. Take up tango dancing in your neighborhood, do yoga, drink less, find some stress relief. Korean students will eat you alive if you are sluggish, depressed, or in need of anger management.
Cultural notes:
l  Korean young people respond well to active dynamic people who command their attention using physical and mental fortitude & love/care.
l  Use positive psychology in your life, lesson preparation and classroom: Be a humanist - Understand the extrinsic/intrinsic motivation continuum.
l  Teaching is physically/mentally hard – do not understimate the challenge. Forgive, do kind things, notice good things: Be a guardian angel for kids.
Links/Resources examples:
http://www.eltandhappiness.com/  (From the genius that is Marc Helgesen)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_barTKxikvA (Genki English – Richard Graham in Japan)

(4) Creating Fun and Laughter in the Classroom
While many new teachers happily take advantage of the fact that much of what they are expected to be is an entertaining conversation partner and/or a window on the world of English for their students, others bemoan this reductionism. It’s a fact though: successful entertainment (fun, laughter, high interest activities that work well) will be the most outward sign of your success.
Cultural notes:
l  Things should be fun, but be the director & star rather than class clown.
l  Don’t allow students to make you a figure of fun, however also don’t take yourself too seriously if they try it on. Smile politely but demonically :)))  
l  Build a set of fun activities and things to use when things go bad. Especially songs were everybody can join in, bring cheap instruments.
l  Be patient with yourself, it takes time to get it right. But persistance wins!
Links/Resources examples:

(5) Creating a student centered class
Student centered learning means the focus of the class is on the students not the teacher. The basic idea is to maximize student participation and interactive pair and group work. Key concepts are the 80-20 rule (students do 80 the teacher does 20), cooperative learning, station based approaches to learning, and the flipped classroom (teacher is not deliverer of information but facilitator – input comes from outside of class if possible or through exposure to language),.  
Cultural notes:
l  Students will expect teachers to do most of the work, explain this to your co-teacher and have her communicate with students about 80-20 rule.
l  Classroom control of bad behaviour and noticing good behavior is critical in Korea, as things can rapidly become super-chaotic and wild here.
l  Don’t teach how you were taught by your teachers, the lecture is dead!
l  Get wired for sound, or use control devices such as bells, whistles, lights.
Links/Resources examples:
What is the 80-20 rule? https://stmpublishing.com/712/

(6) Lowering affective filters such as fear and boredom.
An affective filter is a barrier to learning. They are problems caused by students’ fears and weaknesses, and/or by the classroom and the materials used. Finch (2005) defined these factors as “(i) motivation; (ii) attitudes to learning; (iii) self-esteem; (iv) anxiety; (v) linguistic courage; and (vi) cultural pressures.”
Theoretical notes:
l  Learners’ attitudes control learning so attitudinal issues are fundamental.
l  A balanced solution would address both aspects of affective filtering – students’ fear and weaknesses, as well as classroom and materials issues.
l  Lower anxiety, raise intrinsic motivation, encourage trying, reward effort.
Links/Resources examples:

(7) Using Nation’s 4 x 25% rule for course/class design
Paul Nation (2007) put forward four major pedagogical principles for language learning/teaching, which he calls strands. A teacher should provide roughly equal balance of the four strands. This means 25% of your class for each of these: 
l  Meaning-focused input = teacher talk, reading, videos, songs, listening materials that are easy enough for most students to understand meaning.  
l  Meaning-focused output = students talking or writing about things that they are actually invested in, care about, have an interest-in. The focus is on task not on completing a task, not perfect language accuracy.
l  Language focused learning = word study, grammar drilling, learning chants and songs teacher explaining cultural use of language, sentence building, practicing and memorizing the course-book dialogues.
l  Fluency development = very simple - 25% of all your class time should be student-centered review of previously learned material from within the class and from previous classes. They need practice with the language.

l  Simply review your lesson plan in the context of this 25% balanced rubric.
Links/Resources examples:

(8) Bring your course-book alive with adaptation  
If you use a text-book you simply must NEVER say “OK kids let’s open our books to page 58, do you remember what we did last week?”. That is death by lesson plan! What you do before you open the book, as a change for activities, to finish a lesson (or part of a lesson) is the key to the success of the lesson. Here are some of my favorite ideas.
i. “Entry Points” – Use aesthetic, narrative, logical/quantitative, foundational, and experiential ways to lead students into the lesson – think of them as ‘doors’.
ii. 5 minute “Brain Based” activities – challenge higher order thinking skills.
iii. “Multiple Intelligences” – 8 different kinds of intelligence, not just I.Q (g).
iv. Cooperative Learning activities – Think-Pair-Share, Snowball & more fun!
v. “Thinking  Routines” – make thinking visible in your classroom.
vi. Speaking frames using PPT – make PPTs with language from course-book.
vii. Read aloud with scanned books – find books/articles related on theme or language points. Sacn them into PPT then put them onto a portable hard-drive.

Links/Resources examples:
Note: Too many links to put here refer to end of this document for list of cools sites with great ideas, and also to http://thejollyprofessor.blogspot.com/ blog for comprehensive list.

(9) Using awesome multimedia and Internet tools.
We live in the age of eLearning, multimedia based learning and mobile learning. Technology can be your friend as long as you remember to choose the right platforms and materials for your students. The “flipped classroom” becomes a reality when, for example, when students practice vocabulary out of the classroom on “Quizlet.com” and then simply do a test in the class and share their results and learning strategies. Indeed, if you find yourself explaining the meaning of words you are dying on stage.
l  Record your lectures, and parts of your class teaching before, during or after the class, or read alouds of books and make an awesome teacher blog to share with your students. That way they can watch & learn from you outside of the class. 
l  If you can get a smart phone or a flip-camera, then use vimeo.com or youtube and a blog – wow you can be a great new-age teacher!!!
Links/Resources examples:
Use the sites in the addendum here, or my blog..

(10) DIY is the best, what are your keys?
Create your own teaching recipe book, your own bag of tricks, read education and ELT blogs, join teacher community like EFL Classroom 2.0 and keep a journal of your teaching. Take classes, watch you tube videos, go to conferences, talk with coworkers, make friends here who are experienced as soon you can, have fun but take yourself seriously – you are an awesome person, a true adventurer and a great teacher! Be proud to make the classroom your canvas!

Recommended Websites for Teaching English In Korea
1) http://eflclassroom.ning.com   EFL Classroom 2.0
- Lots of resources, games, discussion and tips to using technology in the classroom. For both students or teachers.   Specifically see Korea Resources: http://bit.ly/Hwr7sS      Top Websites:  http://bit.ly/wtyfxh    Teach | Learn coursebook:  http://bit.ly/ugo3ju   Young Learners Links: http://bit.ly/tla57U    The Korean Student: http://bit.ly/HCVgHR

2)  http://www.kizclub.com/ - Kizclub-  for elementary students. Download free, many worksheets, crafts from this Korean site.

3) http://mes-english.com   -  MES English - flashcards, worksheets for young learners

 4) http://bogglesworldesl.com  -  Bogglesworld
- lesson plans, activities, for young learners and M.S. / H.S.

 5) http://teachingrecipes.com  - Teaching Recipes
-  short and simple techniques, ideas and resources to help teachers

 6)  http://www.mingoville.com/en.html  -  Mingoville
-  online learning suite for young learners. Free, great for practice

7)  http://bit.ly/qeiMmc - Click N Learn
- online learning suite for older students. Free. Great practice.

8) http://www.diigo.com/list/eflclassroom - A list of MANY sites, all categorized and saved by fellow English teachers. A treasure chest!

9) http://www.voicethread.com  -- Voicethread
     Create an account, put up a picture and send your students there to practice speaking and to record messages. Really great for oral speaking practice.

10) http://tarheelreader.org – Tar Heel Reader
        Make books with pictures. The site has a voice which will read them! Also download them as powerpoint and use in class directly!

11) http://barryfunenglish.com   Barry’s Fun English (free/paid)
- online learning suite with flash games.  Free.

12) http://supersimplesongs.com – Children’s songs
    Great songs and tips for teaching them with young learners!

13. http://www.englishraven.com/download_resources.html (Unbelieavble amounts of great stuff)

Recommended Books for Teaching English In Korea

Recommended Videos for Teaching English In Korea

Key Ingredients for YL teaching (Aaron’s workshops)
Cool activity for Young Learners http://vimeo.com/22680464

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