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.