korea – Korea How http://www.koreahow.com The English teacher's guide to living, working, and traveling in Korea. Thu, 28 Nov 2013 13:24:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.6 10 Secrets to Landing a Korean University Job Teaching English http://www.koreahow.com/2012/12/10-secrets-to-landing-a-korean-university-job/ http://www.koreahow.com/2012/12/10-secrets-to-landing-a-korean-university-job/#comments Mon, 10 Dec 2012 02:40:12 +0000 http://www.thenomadwithin.com/?p=604

Kim Yu-na, the famous figure skater, at her class at Korea University.

Teaching English at a Korean university is one of the best ESL jobs on the planet. With almost 400 colleges in the country, why aren’t you working at one?


Do you want to teach at a Korean university?

Find work at Profs Abroad!


If you’ve spent any time at all in Korea then you know that teaching at a university is the Holy Grail of ESL jobs. Why? How does 4 months or more of paid vacation sound to you? Not enough? Most university lecturers teach around 14 hours per week and get one or two days off per week, and you don’t have to desk-warm between classes.

Having loads of free time isn’t the only thing university jobs have going for them. The students are pretty cool to work with as well. Yes, it’s true that many Korean university students kick back and relax once they’ve made it into college. However, they are easier to deal with and more respectful than a class of 40 screaming primary school students.

Next, you won’t have a co-teacher. The class is yours. Yes, you will have a director or foreign teacher supervisor to answer to, but generally you are left alone to run your class as you like.

The best part is you can use your extra free time to pursue a hobby, further your education, or make some extra money. Many university teachers double or even triple their salary by teaching private classes on the side. Of course this is illegal in Korea (unless you marry a Korean) but everyone does it.

Job Description

Keep in mind that all university jobs are different. There is no standard. In general you can expect the following:

Teaching hours: 10-20 per week (the standard is around 14-16).

Salary: 1.8 to 2.8 million per month (around $25k or more after taxes), which varies depending on qualifications, experience, and school location.

Housing: many universities provide housing or a stipend of around 300,000 won per month.

Bonus: public universities provide an end-of-year bonus equivalent to one month’s salary, private universities usually don’t.

Pension & Health Care: all universities are required by law to provide a pension (about 10% of your yearly salary) and health care.

Contract Duration: usually for one year but sometimes 2. A few universities will force you out after 3 years.

Airfare reimbursement: occasionally a university will pay for your roundtrip airfare but it is rare.


Don’t you need an MA to teach at a university? No. Korean universities ask for a minimum of 2-years teaching experience if you have a Master’s degree (in any subject – does not have to be in TESOL or English related) or 4 years teaching experience if you don’t have a MA.

You also need to have a passport from either the UK, US, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand or Australia. You can’t have a criminal record.

You’re Hired

As you can imagine these jobs are highly competitive. Just look at anyone who has lived in Korea for some time. You’ll see that almost every “lifer” works at a university. So how do you get one of these jobs? Here are a few tips:

1. Know the Right People

The number one key to getting a job at a Korean university is to know someone on the inside. Korean culture is all about circles: personal relationships are key.

The best university jobs are rarely advertised on the Internet job boards. For every university job posting there are 100 public school or academy job offers. Why? When a position opens up the university usually knows about it far in advance. Instead of posting an ad on the Internet, the university will ask the foreign teachers at that school to recommend their friends.

One university I worked at had almost 30 foreign teachers. If each teacher recommends the job to 10 of their friends that means the school already has 300 applicants. Why should the school advertise on an Internet job board?

2. Join Professional Associations

So how do you network in Korea? First, get to know as many university teachers as possible. Anytime you meet a university teacher you should “friend” them on Facebook. Ask them questions about where they teach and what it is like. Let them know you are looking for a job.

Next, join a teaching association. The largest in Korea is KOTESOL. Find your local chapter. Join it. Go to the meetings and conferences. This is your number one place in Korea to network with English teachers. More importantly, it is a fantastic resource for your own professional development…and it looks good on your résumé. Another association for English teachers in Korea is ATEK.

3. Be Proactive in Your Job Hunt

You have to go after these jobs. You won’t find them on Korean university job boards like Profs Abroad. First, decide what city you want to live in. For example, if you want to live in Busan, then visit the city and grab a tourist map. You will see there are over 20 universities in Busan alone. Next, look up the schools on the Internet or get a Korean friend to find the phone number of the English department. Call and ask who is in charge of hiring new teachers. Introduce yourself, find out if they are hiring, and send your résumé.

4. Get Some Experience In Korea

Although it is possible to get a university job before you come to Korea, it’s quite difficult. Most employers want to see that you have at least one year of teaching experience (it doesn’t have to be at a university) in Korea. It can be at a public school or private academy.

5. Know the Hiring Seasons

The Korean school year starts with the spring semester in March. More teachers tend to get hired during the spring semester. The fall semester starts in September. Therefore, there are two main hiring seasons: November-December and May-June.

It is true that some universities do things at the last-minute and hire teachers a few weeks before the semester starts. However, you want to get your job search going in full swing during those prime hiring months.

6. Get Qualified

If you have an MA in TESOL or Linguistics then you shouldn’t have much trouble finding work. There are no guarantees but more and more university teachers are getting their MA these days.

A second cheaper and quicker option is to get a CELTA or TEFL certification.  CELTA courses take about one month and cost around $2,000. There are also many TEFL certification courses online that will certify you for under $300. Just be sure your course is at least 100 hours and that it states the number of hours on your certificate.

7. Make Your MA Work For You

When most people think of teaching abroad they assume they can only teach English. This is absolutely not the case in Korea. There is a huge demand for university professors with Masters degrees that can teach major subjects in English. This is a trend that is not going away and will only continue to get bigger in the future.

For instance, if you have an MBA you can teach business – in English of course – to Korean university students. Try contacting the department related to your area of study and ask them if they are hiring. These jobs often pay double or more of what you would make teaching English.

8. Look the Part

Koreans are highly image conscious. Got gray hair? Dye it. Is your suit a little old or out of style? Buy a new one. Was your photo on your resume taken at home on your couch? Get photo taken professionally and have it photoshopped. If you don’t wear a suit and tie or your best dress to your interview you might as well not show up.

9. Pay Your Dues

Korea has 4 tiers of universities according to competitiveness. At the top-tier you have the SKY universities (Seoul National, Korea Univ., and Yonsei Univ.). They are like American Ivy league universities. The 4th tier universities are the least competitive and similar to community colleges in the US.

The secret to getting your first uni job in, especially if you don’t have any university teaching experience, is to aim for the lower tier universities. More importantly, look for universities outside of major cities.

Most people who have been in Korea for some time prefer to live in the major cities like Seoul, Busan, or Daegu. As a result, universities that are far from major cities have a more difficult time finding qualified applicants.

For instance, there are only a handful of universities left in Seoul that don’t require an MA. However, there are plenty of universities in other parts of the country that will hire you with just a BA.

10. Beware of the Unigwan

Usually the want ad says you will teach 20-30 hours per week and have 2 weeks or less of vacation. You will probably be working in the university’s private language academy and teach everything from primary school kids to adults. The only university students you teach are the ones who come after class for extra help.

These are by no means bad jobs, and can actually lead to full time work in another university or department. However, if you have the qualifications to get a true university gig then don’t waste your time at a unigwan.

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Teach English at a Korean University | ProfsAbroad.com http://www.koreahow.com/2012/03/want-to-teach-at-a-korean-university-unijobskorea-com/ Thu, 15 Mar 2012 02:17:19 +0000 http://www.koreahow.com/?p=1256 Find work at a Korean university. Advance your career. See the world!  

Graduation Caps photo courtesy of John Walker.


Profs Abroad is the top source of jobs and information for university and college English language (ESL/EFL) faculty. 

Teaching at a university in Korea can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable jobs you’ll ever have. It has been for me. I’m sure it will be for you too.

I hope Uni Jobs Korea will help make your teach abroad dream a reality. You can get started by reading 7 Ways to Get a Korean University Job.


Korea’s 7 “Can’t Miss” Festivals http://www.koreahow.com/2011/02/korea%e2%80%99s-7-%e2%80%9ccan%e2%80%99t-miss%e2%80%9d-festivals/ http://www.koreahow.com/2011/02/korea%e2%80%99s-7-%e2%80%9ccan%e2%80%99t-miss%e2%80%9d-festivals/#comments Sun, 13 Feb 2011 05:58:18 +0000 http://www.koreahow.com/?p=1175 Photos and story by Ed Provencher

Skip it or day-trip it? Korea’s festivals are numerous, but how do you know which ones are worth going to? Travel blogger Ed Provencher makes it easy for us.

Forget what your Mama told you and play in the mud at Boryeong. Getting dirty was never this much fun.

Are you new to Korea?  Are you wondering which, of the many Korean festivals, are the ones that you shouldn’t miss?  In order to help you sort them all out, I’ve compiled a list of the top 7.  They are all BIG in one way or another and should add to your Korean experience if you go.

#1 Boryeong Mud Festival

At the top of the list is the Boryeong Mud Festival held at Daecheon Beach.  It is a signature event that has been held every year in July for the past 13 years.  This festival attracts millions of people from across the country.  The event was created to celebrate the cosmetic properties of a special mud that is found in the region.  But that’s not the real draw.  The actual mud used at the beach is trucked in and used in all sorts of fun ways, that’s the real reason people go there in droves.  Giant mud slides, mud pools, mud wrestling, a mud prison, performances… the list goes on.  People are so happy walking around there that it’s almost unbelievable.  Mud does that to us.  It turns us back into kids.  Why would you want to miss that?

#2 Andong International Maskdance Festival

Another signature event that draws equally large numbers of visitors is the Andong International Maskdance Festival held every September/October.  It’s second on my list of must visit festivals in Korea.  It is a truly international cultural event, drawing performers from all across Asia and even Mexico.  Korea itself has a long tradition of maskdance performances, and even has one (Kwanno) designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.  Andong is famous for a couple of other things as well, which make attending this festival even more attractive.  One of those things is the Andong Hahoe Folk Village (UNESCO), a beautiful folk village in the countryside, surrounded on three sides by the Nakdong River.  The other attraction is Andong soju, a traditional alcohol (45%) that is designated an intangible treasure.  All these things combine to make the Andong International Maskdance Festival something I look forward to every year.  You should too.

See two things on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list in one day at the mask dance festival.

#3 Gangneung Danoje Festival

The Gangneung Danoje Festival (May/June) makes it onto the list at number three.  This festival is about a 1000 year old tradition of praying to mountain deities for a healthy and prosperous year for the community.  It is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage event, and a heck of a good time.  Daily performances of a UNESCO designated mask dance called Kwanno are held along with performances of traditional Korean farmers’ music, guest performances by groups from other countries, and spooky shaman performances might give you performance overload if you’re not ready for it.  Every year, they make heaps of traditional rice alcohol that is used to appease the tutelary spirit of the mountain, but you can get your hands on some of it for a fair price and appease your own spirit as well.

#4 Seollal Ssireum Wrestling Championship & Chuseok Ssireum Wrestling Championship

Coming in at number four on the list of notable events are the Seollal Ssireum Wrestling Championship and the Chuseok Ssireum Wrestling Championship.  Actually, there are several of these wrestling tournaments held each year, but the two biggest are held during the two biggest Korean holidays: Seollal Lunar New Year (January/February), and Chuseok Fall Harvest Festival (usually September).  This ancient sport offers spectators a chance to watch some big guys (over 105kg in the heavy weight class) do some serious pushing, pulling, and throwing.  The athletes are all Koreans, but the emotions expressed and the drama that unfolds inside the sand pit wrestling arena are universal and understood by all.  Ssireum is as authentic and uniquely Korean as anything and yet so easy to identify with.  Modern gladiators.  Ancient game.  Don’t miss it.

Move over Sumo. This is wrestling the K-way and it's called Sireum.

#5 Jinhae Cherry Blossoms Festival

While there are many cherry blossom festivals in Korea, what may be called the “Mecca” of cherry blossom festivals, the Jinhae Cherry Blossoms Festival, makes it on my list at number five.  Jinhae is located on the south coast of Korea and so is among the first places to see these gorgeous flowers and thus gives Koreans a reason to throw a big party.  The flowers can bloom anywhere from the last week of February to the first or second week of April.  Every year is different as the flowers bloom according to the weather.  Event planners have delayed the festival the past to accommodate cold springs, so you’ll need to pay attention to the weather.  The best thing to do is to call the Korea Tourism information hotline (055 1330) when the festival nears and ask them if the flowers are in bloom or not.  If you are looking to enjoy a more peaceful place to enjoy cherry blossoms, I can recommend heading to Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju.  At any rate, you need to get out and see some cherry blossoms.

#6 Jeongweol Daeboreum Festival

Number six on my list of biggie Korean festivals is the Jeongweol Daeboreum Festival.  The name of this festival basically means, “First full moon of the lunar calendar” and is usually celebrated in February.  It’s a time when locals get together to build giant bonfires called daljip, or “moon houses” which they burn along with wishes for a successful year that visitors have written on paper and tied to the daljip.  People all across the country from Seoul to Jeju Island participate in local events.  The most popular of the events is held on Jeju Island, but other biggies include events in Gangneung and Samcheok.  Now you know that full moons aren’t just for howling at, so when the time comes, think about your new year wishes and head out to a Jeongweol Daeboreum Festival to set them on fire.  Nevertheless, you can still howl if you want to.

#7 Cheongdo Bullfighting Festival

Rounding out this list at number seven is the Cheongdo Bullfighting Festival (March), the largest bullfighting event in Korea.  Korean bullfighting is a tradition that goes back a 1,000 years.  It is nothing like the better known Spanish version where bulls are stabbed repeatedly until they die.  Korean bullfighting is done between two bulls and doesn’t end when one of them dies, but rather ends when one of the bulls decides to run away.  It amounts to a pushing match done with the bulls’ heads.  This event is a good one to bring a Korean friend with because they can help translate what the announcers are saying.  That’s helpful because the announcers will give you play-by-play fight commentary as well as important details about the bulls which are fighting such as their win-loss record, important rivalries, and championships won.  My favorite thing to do is to make bets with my companions to decide who buys the next round of beers.  Gambling at bullfighting is legal, so don’t worry.  Just have fun.


Ed Provencher

Tigers & Magpies travel editor, Eddie Provencher, is an American citizen who first came to the Korean peninsula in September 2006 to teach English, learn Korean, and to have a cultural experience. Since coming to Korea Eddie has grown to love teaching English, has learned Korean up to a low-intermediate level, and has had many deep cultural experiences. In the spring of 2009 Eddie took a 3 month break from teaching English to travel in Korea.

Through this experience, Eddie developed a sincere appreciation for the natural beauty of the landscape, for the culinary tastes of the nation, and for the warmth and kindness of the Korean people.

Looking for a new place or event to discover in Korea? Be sure to check out Eddie’s fantastic site Tigers & Magpies. It’s full of great photos and helpful information that even the most knowledgeable Koreaphile will find useful.

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How to Learn Korean Online For FREE! http://www.koreahow.com/2011/01/learn-korean-online-for-free/ http://www.koreahow.com/2011/01/learn-korean-online-for-free/#comments Wed, 19 Jan 2011 14:37:56 +0000 http://www.koreahow.com/?p=1152 These are the only websites you’ll ever need to learn Korean.

Koreans bow to a statue of Sejong the Great, the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty, on Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul. King Sejong introduced Hangul, the 28-letter Korean alphabet, to Koreans in 1446. Photo: Peter DeMarco

Have you just arrived in Korea and can’t read a single item on a restaurant menu? Or have you been here for years and are ready to improve your language skills beyond “mekju juseyo!” If so, start learning Korean from one of the many great websites available online…for FREE:

1. Korean Class 101

  • This is hands down the “fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Korean,” as they advertise on their site. There are FREE podcasts every week for all levels. Each podcast is around 10 minutes long. Just search for it on iTunes. You can also upgrade your account for a fee to get lots of cool extras. Visit the site for more details.

2. Learn Korean Online

  • Rob Julien, a teacher of Korean to foreigners in Korea, has put together a site where you can watch over 4 hours of class video for FREE. Even better, you can email him a question and he might discuss it in his next video class. His site is definitely worth a look.

3. Let’s Speak Korean

  • Some years ago, Stephen Revere – the author of Survival Korean and current managing editor of 10 Magazine, hosted a show on Arirang TV called Let’s Speak Korean. Today you can view well over a hundred episodes online for FREE. What is interesting about the show is that each episode is only 10 minutes long. It’s short, simple, and to the point.

4. Sogang Korean Program

  • The Korean Language Education Center at Sogang University has put together an excellent FREE site full of information and exercises to help you learn Korean.

5. Korean Multimedia Dictionary

  • Indiana University made an outstanding FREE site for learning Korean vocabulary. What’s great about it is that you can learn vocabulary by categories. For example, click on “fruits” and a screen will pop up with pictures of an apple, watermelon, pear, etc.. Next, click on the fruit and you will not only see the word spelled in Hangul, but you will hear the Korean pronunciation of it. Amazing!

6. Korean Alphabet

  • Another fantastic FREE site from Indiana University that will teach you the Korean alphabet.
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Travel Photo Tips: Seoul, Korea by Aaron Brown http://www.koreahow.com/2011/01/travel-photo-tips-seoul-korea-by-aaron-brown/ http://www.koreahow.com/2011/01/travel-photo-tips-seoul-korea-by-aaron-brown/#comments Fri, 14 Jan 2011 10:20:22 +0000 http://www.thenomadwithin.com/?p=969 Learn about HDR from professional photographer and former Ilsan resident Aaron Brown.

Korea: Seoul Workers

Korea: Seoul Workers by Aaron Brown.

The story behind the pic: I nabbed this shot while out photo-walking with my girlfriend in Seoul. I was just getting into HDR photography at the time and had not really “mastered” my approach to it – that’s why the man up front is bending down behind himself – but it ended up looking kind of cool regardless.

The style: High Dynamic Range is a stylized method of photography I employ from time to time to allow me to capture a greater range of luminance within a particular scene. The tone mapping process usually involved with it tends to turn everything a little painterly and surreal, much like in this shot. Lately though, I’ve been approaching my HDR in a much more “realistic” way, lending to a look that’s achievable with filters and controlled lighting. I have fun working out ways to get a higher range of light that my camera couldn’t normally get on its own – whether combining multiple exposures of the same scene, or by simply introducing light to places that were previously dark. Thankfully, digital technology allows me to experiment so much on the cheap.

Life in Korea: I was living in Korea just a bit northwest of Seoul in the Juyeop Dong of Ilsan Gu, within Goyang Si from May 2008 to June 2010. It was a great neighborhood and I’d love to visit the area again sometime. Ilsan has a nice range of both city-life and countryside and allowed me the opportunity to shoot wildly different scenes that were only a 10 minute walk apart.

Life now: Since returning home to Crown Point, Indiana – which is just a bit southeast of Chicago, Illinois – I’ve been doing photographic work full-time. I’m looking to specialize in portraiture and real estate photography in 2011, but I’m including weddings and live events into the mix as well. Starting your own business and making it successful is tough, but being your own boss and doing work you truly love makes any of the struggles along the way worth it… so far, ha!

Favorite travel Quote: The Star Trek mission really says it all, “…boldly go where no one has gone before!” And remember the “boldly” part!

Travel Photo Tip: Take your camera everywhere you go and shoot everything you see. You’re bound to get at least one shot that will make you smile.


Photo of Aaron Brown courtesy of Dylan Goldby.

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Sexy English Lesson Plan: Origami Butterfly & Imperitives Mashup http://www.koreahow.com/2011/01/sexy-english-lesson-plan-origami-butterfly-imperitives-mashup/ http://www.koreahow.com/2011/01/sexy-english-lesson-plan-origami-butterfly-imperitives-mashup/#comments Thu, 13 Jan 2011 11:21:27 +0000 http://www.koreahow.com/?p=1019 Teach English writing, speaking, and listening with this simple and fun lesson plan.

Level: Lower intermediate – advanced

Time: 50 minutes

Materials: Printer paper, scissors, computer, screen, projector

Objectives: S’s will be able to use the imperative and give instructions

Key Vocab: crease, fold (in half), edge, corner, tuck, horizontal, triangle, flap

Step 1. Engage: Watch video and make origami.

  • Ask S’s if they know what origami is. Explain. Show an example.
  • Introduce key vocab.
  • Play butterfly origami video and have class follow along.

Step 2. Study: The Imperative.

Step 3. Activate: Give “How to…” demo.

  • T introduces how to scramble an egg.
  • Put S’s in groups of 2-4 and have them make their own “how to” instruction list. For example, how to: tie your shoes, make a recipe, put on makeup, drive a car, etc..
  • S’s come to front of class in groups and demonstrate their “how to…” instructions.

*Not quite sure how to teach English in Korea? Check out this guide: 11 Steps to Effective ESL Lesson Planning.

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11 Steps to Effective ESL Lesson Planning http://www.koreahow.com/2011/01/11-steps-to-effective-esl-lesson-planning/ http://www.koreahow.com/2011/01/11-steps-to-effective-esl-lesson-planning/#comments Wed, 12 Jan 2011 14:53:07 +0000 http://www.koreahow.com/?p=1005

Korean students are notoriously shy. Plan activities that build rapport from the start. Photo: P. DeMarco

“Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark” – Richard C. Cushing

Donald D. Quinn once said, “If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job.”

Yes, teaching can be difficult at times, but with the right preparation and planning it can be one of the toughest jobs you’ll ever love. Some say teaching is an art, not a science. Well, not exactly. Yes, it is true that after some practice you will find your natural teaching style.

Your lessons will gain a zen-like quality and you will start to flow, or act without thinking, as you teach. Like putting one foot in front of the other, teaching will become as natural as walking is to you. There will always be challenges but you will feel much more comfortable in your role as a teacher.

However, even the best most experienced teachers use lesson plans. A lesson plan is a working document that helps you stay on task and reach your educational goals. You can’t get to where you want to be if you don’t know where you’re going. Furthermore, lesson plans act as a record of your progress with your students.

So how do you write a lesson plan? Well, any way you want. There is no set form or formula for lesson planning. But one thing is for certain, there are some basic steps everyone must take in order to make and deliver a quality lesson plan. Let’s take a look.

Step 1: Know yourself.

William’s Shakespeare’s advice, “know thyself”, is one of the most import things a teacher can do. The more you know about yourself and your reasons for teaching, the more motivated and focused you’ll be when you teach. Ask yourself:

  • Why am I an ESL teacher?
  • What values and beliefs do I want to pass on to my students?
  • What type of role model do I want to be?
  • If I could only teach my students one thing, what would it be?

Step 2: Know your students.

The more you know about your students, the better you will be able to tailor your lesson. Some questions you’ll want to ask yourself are:

  • How much do my student’s already know (i.e. what’s their level)?
  • How eager are my students to learn English?
  • Are they well behaved or unruly?
  • What are they interested in (favorite TV shows, groups, movies, sports, etc…)?
  • Which activities do they react best to: visual, auditory, kinesthetic?

Step 3: Start with the end in mind.

“A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.” – H. Stanley Judd

Know your key objectives. What do you want your students to know by the end of the class? For example, by the end of the lesson, students should be able to introduce themselves to someone and then get basic information from them (i.e. country, age, job, etc…).

Know your key expressions. What vocabulary or phrases would you like you students to know? “Where are you from?” or “What’s your job?” for example.

Step 4: Find a formula that works for you.

There are many different ways you can structure your lesson. For instance, one of the more popular ESL lesson formats is the ESA (Engage Study Activate) method, which you can read about in more detail later. However, there is no set way to structure your lesson plan. Find the way which works best for you.

Step 5: Keep it simple.

No matter how easy you think your lesson or activities are, your students will surely find them more difficult than you. Even the simplest exercises can be confusing for students. When you plan your classes, remember that you may have to simply your lesson in order to meet your students where they are at.

Step 6: Develop a good progression and balance of activities.

It’s natural for students to feel shy or not want to make mistakes in front of the teacher. Set your students up for success from the start. Give them activities you know they can’t fail at. Only ask them questions you know they can answer. Get them warmed up to English and your class. As the class moves on, you can raise the level of difficulty.

Also, try to vary the types of activities you do in class. Try to mix it up so you reach different types of learners. For instance, activities that require students to draw or paint are great for visual learners. Try using songs and music for auditory learners. Finally, use drama or role-plays for kinesthetic or active learners.

Step 7: Be structured yet flexible.

Think of your teaching as a Tokyo sky-scraper. Even though Tokyo has many earthquakes, it still has numerous high-rise office towers. These structures have a strong foundation and frame, but when there’s an earthquake, the buildings bend and flex with the vibrations.

Your lesson plan should be the same way, solid and structured, yet flexible enough to roll with the inevitable changes that happen during a typical class. Think of your lesson plan as a living document that is co-created with your students, almost like a semi-scripted play or dance.

Step 8: Be organized!

Do you have your markers or chalk? How about your books and attendance sheet? Will you be using an overhead projector or computer during class? Does it work? Do the speakers work? Do you have a PPT presentation? Can you get it to work on a Korean computer? What about the layout of your classroom? Will you need to move desks around? What materials will you need for your class?

These are all questions you should ask yourself before you set foot in the classroom. Be prepared.

Step 9: Over-plan.

Your lessons will not always go as planned, especially in the beginning. You may find that some lessons take longer, or shorter, than you planned for. Therefore, make sure to ad in an extra activity or two. Sometimes you might even need to jettison an activity all together and replace it with something else.

Step 10: Check to see if you reached your educational goals.

How do you know if your class was successful? What was your goal for the class? Remember to end your class with some type of review that not only bring s closure to your lesson, but shows you that your students learned the target language.

Step 11: Make the lesson yours.

In conclusion, learning should be both educational and engaging. The more fun you are having, the more fun your students will have. If you are bored and disconnected from what you are teaching then your students will be too.

Use what inspires you as a springboard to your teaching. For instance, if you like music and play an instrument then try to find some way to incorporate that into your lessons. Not only will your students appreciate it but you will walk away with a richer experience of your time spent here in Korea.

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Take Better Pictures: 5 Korean Photo Blogs You Should Follow http://www.koreahow.com/2010/12/take-better-pictures-5-korean-photo-blogs-you-should-follow/ http://www.koreahow.com/2010/12/take-better-pictures-5-korean-photo-blogs-you-should-follow/#comments Thu, 16 Dec 2010 15:55:51 +0000 http://www.thenomadwithin.com/?p=673 Whether you want to become the next Ansel Adams, or just learn how to take better pictures to post on Facebook, these blogs will help you get there.

Photography in Korea is like a national sport. Photo by P. DeMarco

So you want to improve your photographic skills? Someone once said that success leaves clues. Given the load of photographic talent here in Korea, you don’t have to look far for hints.

There’s a large group of skilled foreign photographers living in Korea who are sharing their knowledge for free on the web. It is true that there are many amazing photography/travel blogs by foreigners in Korea. But only a few actually teach you how to get better as a photographer.

The following sites have the best tips, tricks, and stories about photography. And you might even see some amazing images of Korea and the world as well.

Here are the best of the best in no particular order:

The Information Specialist

Dylan’s site is a fantastic resource for photo tutorials and videos. One of my favorite features of his site is when he “deconstructs” some of his more complex and stylized (think Photoshop) images. Hopefully, he will hold another Strobist Seminar again so I can learn how to use my flash.

Two helpful posts:

1. Want to take pics of your friends playing in the snow but can’t figure out how to photography snowflakes? Check out Quick Tip: Flashing in the Snow.

2. Another helpful post is Shooting Portraits.

The Traveling Photojournalist

Are you dreaming about becoming a travel writer and/or photographer and looking for some inspiration? Shawn “Flash” Parker was working in Korea for some time and has since set out on a global tour shooting and writing about places from Brunei to New York. He is also a wedding, engagement, and portrait photographer. Check out his photo travel blog on Flickr as well.

Two helpful posts:

1. Learn how to use filters with the Basic Filter Guide.

2. So you just published some of your photos and you want to upload them to your blog/website. But alas, the editor sent you a PDF file of your published work and you can’t upload PDFs to your site. Check out Published! for learning about how to convert PDF files to JPEG files…for free!

The Connector

In addition to being a great writer and photographer, Gregory Curley is like the connector described in Malcom Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point; he links his readers to the world. His “Weekly Snapshots” posts always showcase the best of what is happening in the Korean photographic world and beyond. You can also find some informative photo tutorials and Korean travel articles.

Two helpful posts:

1. Go to Weekly Snapshots | 12.10.10. Next, click on the link “What Yeonpyeong looks like post-shelling” for some chilling images of the island bombared by North Korea.

2. Can you name one Korean photographer? You can’t. Check out this post: Kim Jung-man | Korea’s Ace Photographer.

The Learner

Jason Teale writes his blog from Ulsan, Korea. He’ll tell you that he is always learning, but he’s also always sharing some awesome information too. As his site says, his blog is full of stories, tips, and photos from around Korea. Jason has made a name for himself, especially in the realm of HDR photography. If you don’t know what HDR is or do and love it, then YOU GOTTA CHECK OUT Stuck In Customs.

Two helpful posts:

1. Can’t think of any new ideas? Check out the post Creativity.

2. Learn how to get your work in front of more eyes by reading Getting Published.

The Persistent Photographer

Jay Boyle is taking his photography to the next level and he is taking you along for the ride. Follow him as he tries to complete his 365 Project (taking 1 photo every day of the year for one year). Although Jay only recently started his blog and hasn’t published as much stuff as some of the other photographers on this list, he still has some good info to share. Not to mention his persistence is inspiring.

Two helpful posts:

1. Your photographs can make a difference in someone’s life. Yes, yours. Don’t believe me? Read Help Portrait 2010.

2. Check out Jay’s useful review of a recent photo workshop held in Seoul called Learning Curve: SPC Lighting Seminar.

The Columnist

Okay, I lied. There are actually 5 blogs AND 1 newspaper column that will help you improve your photographic skills. Even though it is not a blog, Aaron Raisey ran a column for the Korea Herald called “In Focus” that is worth mentioning. Aaron and other photographers living in Korea wrote the articles. Today you can still find over 20 articles that will help you improve your photographic skills. Aaron also runs the Seoul Photo Club on Flickr.

Two helpful posts:

1. Learn where to be and when to be there if you want take great pictures with Mario Taradan’s article Be at the right place, at the right time.

2. Or check out Aaron’s article on how to Improve Your Composition.

*This is not a complete list and I’m sure I left out some excellent blogs. However, shameless promotion of your photography blog is highly encouraged – be it based in Korea or abroad. Be sure to add a link in the comments section below.

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Korea Changes E2 Visa Process: FBI Background Check How To http://www.koreahow.com/2010/12/korea-changes-e2-visa-process-fbi-background-check-how-to/ http://www.koreahow.com/2010/12/korea-changes-e2-visa-process-fbi-background-check-how-to/#comments Mon, 13 Dec 2010 23:11:22 +0000 http://www.thenomadwithin.com/?p=633

Even though this guy looks like a wimpy college student, he was trained how to kill in Tae Kwon Do, slept in the snow at the DMZ, and ate worms for breakfast. He will kick your ass if you don't get comply with the new visa regulations.

Calling all criminals teaching English in Korea. The game is over. The Korean government is on to your scam. I say that jokingly but actually it is kind of true.

In the past, all you needed to prove you didn’t have a criminal record was a background check from your local police department or state. The problem with state background checks is someone can be charged with a crime in Maine for instance, but it will not show up on a record check for say Iowa.

Staring January 1st, 2011, all foreigners teaching English in Korea will need to submit a federal background check when applying for a job or renewing a contract. If you are American, that means you have to get a background check from the FBI. Again, anyone who is applying for an E2 visa OR extending his or her E2 visa must submit a federal background check.

Here is the unofficial guide to the FBI check in 5 easy steps:

1. Complete the application form.

  • It takes just a minute.

2. Submit your fingerprints.

  • This is a little more complicated – especially if you are living in Korea. First, print out the official fingerprint card (you might want to print out a few extra copies if you mess up).
  • Next, if you are in the US you can take the form to your local police station. Most offer a fingerprinting service for about $10. Call ahead for pricing and hours.
  • If you are in Korea, go to the biggest police station in your city. These are the “gu” stations or main city police stations. Be sure to bring your form with you.
  • Can’t find a police station that will do it for you? Call the Korean Police English Hotline at 313-0842.
  • NOTE: Be sure to check that you were fingerprinted properly. Compare the prints on your form to page 2 of the fingerprint form that talks about “obtaining classifiable fingerprints.” Your request will be rejected if the prints are not done properly.

3. Submit the $18 payment.

4. Review the checklist.

5. Mail the required items here:

  • FBI CJIS Division – Record Request, 1000 Custer Hollow Road, Clarksburg, WV 26306

It can take up to 12 weeks to process your request.

Visit the FBI site to download the forms and get the official instructions.

DISCLAIMER: Immigration rules are always changing. For the latest information, please contact your local Korean Office of Immigration. Furthermore, feel free to post here if you have info on getting a background check in other countries.

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Q&A With Dr. David Noonan at 2010 PAC-KOTESOL Conference http://www.koreahow.com/2010/12/qa-with-dr-david-noonan-at-2010-pac-kotesol-conference/ Tue, 07 Dec 2010 04:55:44 +0000 http://www.thenomadwithin.com/?p=515

Drs. Ken Beaty, David Nunan, Kathleen Bailey, moderator Alan Maley, Rod Ellis, and Martha Cummings.

This year KOTESOL (Korea Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) celebrated its 18th International Conference in Seoul. Under the slogan of “Advancing ELT in the Global Context,” over 1,500 English teachers from around the world visited the conference.

Among those attending were also a stellar list of presenters. This year was the first time there was a plenary panel discussion about the state of ELT in the world today. One of the members of the plenary panel was Dr. David Nunan.

The following are some follow-up questions to the plenary panel discussion:

What is your experience with KOTESOL and teaching English in Korea?

Dr. Nunan: I’ve been coming to Korea for conferences, consultancies and teacher education for the last twenty years. I have been a presenter at many KOTESOL conferences.

What was the most important topic/theme (related to ELT) you heard people talking about at this year’s conference? Why?

Dr. Nunan: The hot topics right now are globalization and the emergence of English as the global language, the teaching of English to younger learners and the use of technology to enhance the teaching of English. all these issues are interrelated. English has emerged as the international language of business, entertainment, education, and media because of the dominance of the USA as the largest economy in the world. Organizations, governments and individuals know they can increase their value by learning English. Middle-class parents believe that they can give their children an advantage at school and ultimately in the workplace by having them learn English. Because of the belief that the earlier you begin learning a language the better you will be at that language, educational systems around the world are lowering the age at which English is introduced as a compulsory subject. The insatiable demand for English is far outstripping the supply of adequately trained teachers. Technology has stepped in to supplement face-to-face instruction.

English in Korea (and the world) is quickly becoming a form of social and economic exclusion. Many Korean’s believe that forcing everyone to learn English is another way to separate the “haves” from the “have nots”. Do you think that is true? Do you have any suggestions as to how this can be prevented?

Dr. Nunan: I believe that a situation of “haves” and ‘have nots” is an unfortunate reality. One 25% of the world’s population have the opportunity to learn and use English and these are people who are already advantaged. The only solution has to be a political one – governments have to improve the quality of English language education in public schools.

Some people say teaching English is not a “real” job. It is something you do to save money for a backpacking trip around the world or a way to hold off being a corporate slave back home. Furthermore, many English teachers (even the ones with masters degrees in TESOL or Applied Linguistics) eventually leave the field because there just isn’t enough money in it. Is teaching English a job with a sustainable future or more of a short-term career move?

Dr. Nunan: Until the public perception that all you need in order to teach English is to be a native speaker is reversed, this will not change. It is up to us as teachers to argue the case for English as a profession, to demonstrate that well-trained non-native speakers of English with good English skills and appropriate training as just as effective, if not more effective than Native English teachers.

Many Koreans would prefer to learn English from a native speaker with little or no experience teaching English than from a certified Korean English teacher. However, David Graddol in his book English Next says that there is a trend that native-speaker norms and native speakers themselves are becoming irrelevant. Will we [native speakers] be out of a job in the near future?

Dr. Nunan: Absolutely not. I would like to see the first language status of the teacher become an irrelevance, and that employment and advancement be based on criteria other than first language status. Associations such as TESOL have developed performance standards for teachers, and these should be the criteria for deciding who gets to be employed as a teacher.

Where do you see the ELT industry in the next 10 years?

Dr. Nunan: I was asked this question ten years ago, and will give the same answer now as I gave then. “Technology will become increasingly significant, the teaching of English to young learners will become more effective through the development of age appropriate curriculum models, materials, teacher training, and (this is a wish rather than a prediction), government agencies will look to bodies such as The International Research Foundation for Language Education (TIRF) for data-based advice upon which to base policy decisions.

Do you have any advice on for current teachers or people interested in getting into the field?

Dr. Nunan: Teaching is a vocation. You have to love what you do and care for your students. If you’re doing this job simply for the money, or because you can’t think of anything else to do, then get out now.

Dr. David Noonan

Dr. David Nunan is the Academic President of Anaheim University based in Anaheim, California. Dr. Nunan serves in a concurrent role as Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Professor of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). He is also a best-selling author. In 2003, Business Review Weekly ranked him the 7th most influential Australian in Asia, and in 2005, he was named one of the top “50 Australians Who Matter.”  Dr. Nunan has this year authored “The Learner-Centred Curriculum: A Study in Second Language Teaching.”