Games, Tuho we must

20180728_162215 Games, Tuho we must

 

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Chance, comes in many forms

The act of throwing Yut into the air is not unlike a craps game played with dice.

Happiness and ducks

The ducks are made of wood and symbolise unity and peace in wedlock.

Center stage

IMG_20180729_195633 (Center stage)

An assortment of Korean drums, but, center stage is what’s called the “Jang Gu” (장구). This is what I think of when Korean music is mentioned. Oh, and what they pass for cymbals, or a Kkwaenggwari. What looks like a steep-sided soup bowl entirely made of brass. Well played it’s good. When it’s not, descent can be heard for miles around. But, back to the Korean drum band, they were entertaining.

Audio-lingual method, inescapable

20180514_085625Second language teaching in New Zealand is something I’d always thought I could do, and now are doing at the present with an institute in town. My students are genuine first learners or I surmise, “false beginners”. And oddly enough, most of them are Chinese, though I did have one student that was from Columbia.

They’ve had the benefit of English learning but, possibly had not had the chance to speak much, or at all. I feel that some of them have quite high affective filters. But, the biggest thing that’s letting them down is the way that they’re learning, which is through the Audio-lingual method. (Which is “repeat after me!) Being a good CELTA, I have tried to have them learn through more productive methods. Sadly, having them produce anything is to wait a long time to produce. Another thing I’ve seen, and have proved again is that any material that they have in their hands is instantly translated into Chinese, sometimes through translation software. Good if you want speed, bad if you want learning. Thanks Google.

/dʒózəfs dʒǽkət ɪ́z tú lɔ́ŋ/

Still, teaching the chants, pronunciation and rhythms of speech takes me back to when I was teaching Elementary school in Korea. I even taught my current students what a schwa (/ə/) was when pronouncing the reduced form of a vowel. Still, I’ve managed to write fluently using phonemic speech most times, with, few errors.

Well qualified, just a decade out of date

Ascending standardsIMG_0001_zps810e16ce ESOL lecturersLooking back at these old situations vacant ads, one might realize that with the current standards, what they ask for is out date. Of course, these are the minimum entry qualifications. Now days, the advertisements I’ve seen the entry standards for jobs like the above are much, much higher. Masters in TESOL or Linguistics plus experience. I would love to apply for this job, and, since I do meet the standards for application but sadly, I’m a decade late.

Starting out: Origins

IMG_0001_zpsc472aa15(EPIK 2002)I started teaching in the raw in South Korea, after a short two week orientation at KNUE in Cheongju, Southern Cheongchung province. I say teaching in the raw, because initially it was painful, and without any TESOL knowledge I knew it was horrible. I can only imagine what the students thought. Still, it took me over 5 years to come even what in my mind what I thought was close to being a good teacher. It may have been the deep countryside I was teaching in, but still had a lot to learn. MY co-teachers would have me teach like they do. Even back then, I knew I had to distance myself as far away from it as possible. Amongst my fellow graduates of the 2002 EPIK programme, there were an eclectic bunch of people.

I’d always thought that the students should be speaking more. This initially wasn’t driven by any sort of theory other than laziness. Who wants to speak for the whole lesson? This principle still holds today, though is now backed by firm communicative theory.  Walsh is one, while Thornbury is another.

Ascending numbers with descending requirements

Much to my disappointment, the ESL game in Korea has gotten harder. Koreans (and possibly the rest of the world too) has seen changes and reacted correspondingly. From an observers standpoint, their response has been entirely reactive, emotional and based on what I think is the wrong idea of ‘authenticity’. Authenticity is of course where the Native speaking English teacher comes into the frame, but their person specification stating anyone from North America, is female and a new graduate. That’s a very specific demographic and screams of commercialism of the worst kind. This is what has been touted as ‘McESL’. Glitzy, desirable but with entirely with no substance or containing no academic value at all. My thoughts? The market is saturated, and the businessmen with little or no interest in education can perpetuate their line of McESL. This is certainly not confined to just Korea. Most of North-eastern Asia does this employment practice.

Up-to date

Minimum standards have gone up, but, in light of ‘professional development’ anyone who is serious in a career in ESL should actually keep up. By this I mean professional development. The act of making yourself more eligible for jobs  by gaining qualifications and experience. Very rarely will an employer provide chances for furthering education. As I’ve learnt, professional development or, ‘P.D’ is something you have to do yourself. They can take on the form of on-line courses, attending seminars and webinars. All of which have their advantages and disadvantages. In my opinion, webinars are the best since you’re in the comfort of your own home.

So, for the answer is there, develop within the profession. Spend money on yourself.

Hong Kong egg snack, first bite at a time

It’s hard to know why it’s taken me such a long time to sample the Hong Kong snack. Essentially it’s an egg based cake mix that’s cooked on a waffle type griddle. Best eaten pipping hot, the snacks have cake like qualities to them, while the edges have a more crunchy texture to them. I’ve sampled both chocolate and plain flavours, the plain variety being my favourite so far.

Uncle Jim’s HK Egg waffle

As far as food landscape goes, this compares to other street food found in other Eastern countries such as Korea. Where Fish bread, or 봉어빵 in Korean, also follows the recipe of eggs, flour, sugar and cast-iron baking to produce a product that has cake-like qualities but with a local twist. The Hong Kong snacks reign supreme in my opinion. There is more to eat of it afterall.