Monday, September 20, 2010

How I best learn Enlgish

The time was just before my fisrt semester in the middle school. I was very excited to learn English soon. It would be my first expirence of learning foreign language in Korea. It was teacher-centered classroom. There were about 50 students in a classroom with all girls. My teacher brought a cassette player and a tape for listening and students repeated the tape several times. She wrote 'today's objective' on the black board and pedagogy all the time. And then we wrote them on our notebooks. Especially for grammar, it was very boring and just had to understand how it was made and adopted to other sentences. For body parts of the story;
- she let us hear the tape, we repeated it,
- she translated the contents, meanwhile explaining important main grammar points, we made notes on our textbooks.
- she gave us homework to memorize the whole story, we did it at home

How I could get good score in the English test was to follow my teacher's saying; read 5 times, memorize contents, make sentences in other ways.
It was 1980's. There were not many teachers who could speak English well even though they were English teachers at school. They relied on the tape with their pronounciation and foccused on the grammar and translation. However, I imitated my teacher what she did. Moreover, I tried to make an experiment out of the classroom. There were not many foriegners in Daejeon at that time, maybe not even in Korea. I saw one foreigner on the street. I approached to him and said, "Hi, how are you? Where are you from? What's your name?" That were all that I had learned in my school. And it worked. He responsed me, "hi, I'm from~, My name is ~". I realized that my english could be commuicated with a real foreinger. Then I felt my self-esteem went up. It made me study English more and better. After learning English at school, I tried to use that out there by myself or with somebody.

If foreigners were more, I could achieve my english more quickly. Most Korean are not willing to say first. They are not very progressive. But my character is opposite. I am willing to dash to speak first eventhough it is not correct or right. So as to learn more, I bumped a lot and learn later from it.
I have never been to the academy to learn English or taking personal lessons. However, I can speak Enlgish quite well. How is it possible? Learnng at school, I practiced it orally.
One day, I met one guy from Australia on the street. After talking with him for a while, I got his name card. It was hard to communicate with him still, however, I could speak using my body languages. When I had a chance to talk with him on the phone, I was so nervous and afraid. Because of fear whether I could speak with him well on the phone without seeing each other.

Overcoming the fear, I could call him and meet at the restaurant. At the very beginning with him, my english was too poor to communicate. According to this, I had to use my body language and ask how to say some expressions. Also, I could learn how to say from his speech. It was real class.
I ask my students go out and say what they've learned in the classroom. If students follow teachers' saying what to do, they could speak. One problem is that there are not plenty of foreigners to speak on the street - of course, increasing foreigners, they are working at schools or academies not residents - naturally. Students don't think English is not necessary to live in Korea for all now. They don't feel that. If give them more desire to do it, they are willing to learn English with pleasure. The motivation is important I think.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

An approach to academic writing

Writing has some process to follow: starting rutuals, idea generation, organization, drafting, re-vision-ing, and proofreading.
When I write some assey, I follow this process: starting rutuals, free writing, correcting, and proofreading. However, I didn't think about who will be my audience. I usually focused on myself.
This paper, 'Academic Writing for Graduate Students' give us information how to write our academic writing. So as to write academic papers, we need to consider audience, purpose, organization, style, flow, and presentation.

Depending on audience, it will be written differently. If audience are the same quality as writer, the writer can mention the sepecific words freely. However, if audience are not related to the writer's work, the writer have to explain some specific words more. Therefore to write paper the subject, 'for whom', is necessary to think.

Purpose and Strategy
Depending on the audience's knowledge, the writer's purpose and strategy will be different. Using the data is considerable. It should be sure.

The order of writing is also mentioned. For example, if someone write a letter to inform the good news, he/she starts to write with acknowlegment and soon inform good news. Addition to this, he/she will continue the letter with adminstarive details and welcoming close. However, if he/she write a letter to inform the bad news, the order will be different: preparation for bad news, bad news, close, and acknowledgement
Why the order is different?
First one would like to continue the story more to the end, but the latter would not like to continue the letter so mention the bad news first.
As a writer it has to be considerated.

It says voabulary shift. Every writing has different style. So it has to be written with academic style. When we speak, we can say informal words such as slang, however, in the academic writing would not. Therefore, we neet to change some words which are not accordance with academic way. It is called, 'vocabulary shift'.

ex) Researchers looked at the way strain builds up around a fault.
=>looked at -> observed, builds up -> accumulates

I tried some tasks on page 16-20, however, it was so difficult for me. Because I am not a native speaker, I am lack of vocabularies. To shift vocabulary, I have to know abundent vocabularies which they can shift each other. Because of this, it is not a easy task I think. However, it needs to be considered, so I will think this from now on.

It is to move from one statemnet in a text to the next. We need to use kinds of conjuctions; for example, because, because of this, so that, also more, however, and etc.
Linking words and pharase, and summary word are essential to write academically and look better.

Have to check small erros in papers: too/to/two, basic errors, misspelled words
1. consider the overall format of written work
2. proofread for careless grammar mistakes
3. check for misspelled words, even if your have spell-chekced your work


Through this article, I could think about many considerations such as audience, purpose, organization, style, flow, and presentation.
Writing is not the easy work, however, trying over times, we could achieve the better one. For vocabulary to memorize, for process to try to follow. Just try, try, is the only way to make success!

Friday, September 10, 2010

How to communicate with students?

At my first semester in middle school, students didn't pay attention too much to me. There were 18 students in the classroom mixed boys and girls. The classroom was the lowest level of 3. They had low motivation not only English but also studying at school. Day after day they made a lot of noisy in the class and talk with their colleagues. In addition they didn't do their homework, either. Therefore, I had to consider what I had to change.

After discussion with my colleagues, I decided to change my attitude. I was very kind and energetic. It made students think me a different teacher than other teachers. It was a good beginning. However, they just wanted to enjoy the class but study hard. I had to think about 'What I am here? I am a teacher who lead students study English better and give them motivation toward English. Just relax and enjoy the class is it ok?' As a result, I changed my attitude from being nice to fierce. I started to use a stick for smacking.

Since then, 2 different effects appeared. One group followed my discipline. The other neglected mine. According to the latter, I encountered difficulties in the classroom. Even though saying "Be quiet. Stop doing. Stand up and stay behind the classroom and raise your hand. Make a push-up position for 10 minutes.", they made noises with scolding. It made me angry.

There were 2 girls who liked me very much. However, they didn't listen me, either. I wanted to make them understand me and participate in the classroom. One day, I was so upset with them and let them stay more even after finishing the class. And then I shared my feeling with them. I started my story how to begin to study when I was a middle school. "What do you want to be? Why don't you like English? What do you think about my classroom? What can you make an enthusiast here? Do you know why I am doing like this nowadays?", I asked and answered. And I was weeping and sniffling. I turned back and wiped my tears. I really wanted them enjoy the class and participate well so they finally can get a motivation about English. At last they understood my mind why I did so far. They said, "I am sorry that I misunderstand you. I try to do my best from now on. Let me try. I am sorry. I am shame on me what I did during the class"

The next early morning I got 2 valuable letters from them. It was written the their story and their promise. I also understood them why they did so. I moved to tears again with the letter. Since then, they controlled the class, tried to be nice themselves, did their homework well, and listened me hard. With them, other students could follow me well.

I know how to manage students now even at the first class who I have never met. First impression is very important. How to manage students at the beginning determined the last of the classes. If I have had more experiencers, I could not fail at the first semester. Students knows the school system and environment already. They wanted to test the teacher who was the first at the school. If students think the teacher is easy to handle, they don't listen very well and it possibly will be continued to the end of the semester. However, if not, they are willing to listen to the teacher and to be a nice student in the classroom.

To make students participate in the classroom is teacher's portion. Don't need to complain how students are bad or how degree they have. I always concern on materials what I will use in the class and how to manage the class from the beginning to the end in one class. Keeping time is also important. Following the lesson plan, I do my lesson organized. Making a group activity, drawing stuff, using a small white board can be the way to hold student's attention and participate. Teacher's elaboration surely effects on the class. Moreover students know it.

Using PPT many students stick my class and enjoy now. I had a survey about my class and myself. They constantly bring about my energetic and humorous attitude make them listen more and like my class. Even though I use a stick to spank them when they don't do their homework the same as my first semester, students understand me and follow me because of knowing my disciplines. Therefore they know that I am still generous and kind. If you are a teacher, you have to consider how to students make my side. Then the game will be over.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

about plagiarism

It could be judged as "stealing" and "cheating".

In Korea, when people write their articles, they usually copy other's work easily. They even don't know it is plagiarism. So it is necessary to let them know that is an illegal act.

Then how to prevent plagiarism?

There are several ways to prevent it: using quotation, citation, and paraphrasing.

It looks easy to use quotation and citation. However paraphrasing is little difficult. When we paraphrase other's work, we need to understand the writer's intention and know more beyond background with the article.

I understand how to prevent plagiarism at least. I will try to use quotation when I use other's work and moreover I will more try paraphrase from original articles.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

After reading 'Reflection is at the Heart of Practice'

How many times I read this article! I understand how reflection is important thing to write. Moreover, I know the heart of writing practice is the reflection.

In my experience, Guided Reflection Protocol is good for high level students, while Critical Incidents is good for lower level students. High level students can understand teacher's instruction quickly and easily, so they can follow every steps in Guided Reflection Protocol and write appropriately what teacher expects. However, lower level students are afraid of writing something themselves. They feel comfortable with group activities, that they don't need to be a leader of the group all the time. They just can share their stories and follow others' opinion easily and can get the result. So, 'The Critical Incidents Protocol' is better way for them.

However, I learned how to write ordinary story that is not very interesting into a particular story thinking of reflection deeper and deeper.

If I write an assay from now on, I am going to think about reflection beyond the actual fact as I read this article.