Friday, June 22, 2007

teaching English to Koreans Part 1

I have tutored English to around 7 Koreans at different times and in all these I have noted some observations regarding their difficulties and the difficulties teachers or tutors face while trying to teach English to them as a foreign language.

Koreans who come to learn English either have no or little background of the language. Either way, the teacher has to use her imagination and creativity to make each session fruitful, with the learner learning something after every meeting.

Even if they tell me that they already learned some English in their country, I usually start them with the alphabet. You will be surprised to know that some have not even mastered this and have great difficulty saying correctly many of the letters. So how can one proceed with higher goals if this very basic thing is omitted? I would also ask them to say numbers correctly for much of the time they will be saying numbers when they tell time, or talk about prices.

There are many sounds in the English language that Korean learners have a hard time saying so the tutor should give drills and practice on these problem areas before heading off to bigtime grammar lessons. Sounds can be a big stumbling block to communication. Teachers should spend half of the time in oral drills, practicing, correcting and also doing repeat-after-me drills.

That is why it is necessary for the language teacher to have no language issues herself so that the learner will be learning the language correctly. One big obstacle to the proper learning of the English language is when the teacher has problems of the language herself. If this is the case, the language learner will be picking up the wrong lessons and will thus hamper the goal of achieving maximum learning within a given time frame.

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