Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Daniel C. and Korean Learners

Daniel C. and Korean Learners
  • How might you need to modify your teaching style, and adapt your material and lesson plans in response to how the role of the teacher is perceived differently from culture to culture
Matching Teaching Styles with Learning Styles in East Asian Contexts by Rao Zhenhui hits several nails on the head in terms of my teaching style and mine has been a work in progress from uninformed experimentation towards a greater appreciation for cognitive learning styles . First of all, I have grown and could one say "flowered" over a period of Korea's greatest jumps in English language learning approaches, programs and incentives moving ever onward along with trends and topics, technologies and challenges. Korea often prefers "teacher-centred,book-centred, and grammar translation" methods. I often employ choral repetition, visual learning, thinking oriented and concrete-sequential approaches to lesson tasks. I am also well aware of the visual versus analytical approaches. I would be well advised to continue to use visuals, repetitive drills and brief writing in my lessons and continue to create style-varied groups for the most part.
  • How might you need to make allowances for differences in learning styles and interpersonal interaction that are culturally determined?
I have to work sympathetically with Korean students who have been taught to employ the grammar translation method, memorization/ROTE, sequential repetition, and expect the teacher to impart wisdom as if it is water to fill the empty vessels of students' minds in terms of English where they expect the teacher to be a final authority on everything. The best thing I can do to improve my students' learning experiences is to make allowances for this with a great deal of empathy while at the same time attempting to work in affective or learning styles adaptations into their course work. It is perpetually a world of cultural differences. However these interactions provide them with the real world examples of cultural differences necessary for future careers in international trade. When they complain of culture-based challenges I explain to them what my old school bus driver Fop Siderius used to say to me when mastering difficult jazz standards on the bass guitar at Band Camp. "If it was always easy (insert name) wouldn't you get bored?" I try to elicit a lot of feedback and do employ diaries and reflective activities where possible.

I get comments like, "energetic/passionate teacher, interesting classes and too much homework."However if my employers thought a Korean could teach these communication courses or about cultural challenges better than me then why would they have hired me? If we had learning without homework could we have students who show greater progress? I doubt it.

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