Teaching Reading Skills to 6th Grade EPIK Students Using Authentic Material

EPIK reading class for grade 6 studentsAs mentioned in my previous post, South Korean elementary school students do not get enough reading in their English language curriculum. One class hour—a class hour actually being forty minutes—out of every six is dedicated to reading a short contrived passage of just a few sentences, all of them carefully formulated to fit with what the students already know and are currently learning. There is nothing new or exciting in the passages or in the one or two simple comprehension questions that follow them. As a native English teacher (NET) in a South Korean public elementary school, I feel I should introduce the students to longer authentic passages to give them some solid, meaningful reading practice. I found a perfect opportunity to do so with my sixth graders.

   About the Author: Patricia Brooks completed the 250-hour TESOL Diploma. She teaches grades 3 to 6 with EPIK in South Korea. 

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K-6 TESOL in South Korea: Teaching Writing Skills with Authentic Material

How to teach English in South Korea: Teaching Writing SkillsIn South Korea, for every three hours of EFL speaking and listening instruction elementary school students receive, they get only one hour of reading and one hour of writing instruction.  So what can be done to help address the lack of reading and writing instruction in the South Korean classroom, or at least to maximize the benefit the students reap from the little reading and writing time they do get?

In this article, I will show you what I did to help get my fifth graders improve their writing skills. With my fifth graders, I supplemented a lesson on asking permission and expressing prohibition (target grammar: “May I _____?” “Yes, you may [____]”/ “No, you may not [____].”) with a writing activity meant to introduce the kids to things that are and are not permissible in American culture. At the same time, they were encouraged to think about norms of behavior in their own society.

About the Author: Patricia Brooks teaches grades 3 to 6 in South Korea’s EPIK program. She completed the 250-hour TESOL Diploma program with Coventry House International-OnTESOL. 

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Planning for Low Level k-8 Curriculum Classes in South Korea

ESL lesson plan with games for EPIK and TaLK teachers in South KoreaCurriculum classes in South Korea consist of approximately 20-30 students, and generally have the homeroom teacher as the NET’s co-teacher.  These classes are all larger in size, limited in space (for movement), include a mix of students with varying proficiency and interest in English, and are relatively short (40 minutes). EPIK and Talk teachers in South Korea have a textbook that largely follows the PPP lesson planning format, but it does not fully use communicative activities in context. The extent to which  NETs must follow the book will be determined by the school.

About the Author: Tania Sanclemente spent two years in South Korea, where she started as a teacher in rural public elementary schools and continued as a provincial coordinator for the TaLK program. Tania completed our 120-hour TESOL course.

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TESOL: Using Songs with Adult Learners

Teaching English with SongsWhy teach English with songs? Songs are an excellent tool for learning English while having fun. They can be used to learn or practice the target language in a motivating and enjoyable way.

Many teachers think that using songs in the classroom is only for young learners, or as a means for motivating teens. While it is true that children learn most by doing and singing, and teens love learning the lyrics of their favourite singers or bands, songs work equally well with adult learners.

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Production Stage: Supplementing the Grade 6 Cheonjae Textbook with Authentic Material

Authentic material production stage TESOLAuthentic materials are just as useful in the production stage as they are in the presentation stage of an ESL lesson. Incorporating these materials into your lessons will not only generate interest in the material, but will also facilitate interaction between the textbook and real-life situations. This is important for learning, as it requires students to interact hands-on with the material while utilizing the vocabulary and grammar studied in that day’s class. Following are some examples of how this approach to English learning can be applied in your classroom in the production stage of your lesson, using the Grade 6 Cheonjae English textbook as a guide.

About the Author: Karina Dirstein completed the 250-hour TESOL Diploma and has vast experience teaching English with the EPIK program in South Korea. 

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TESOL in South Korea: Using L1 and End-of-Lesson Projects with Beginner Students

teaching beginners in South Korea with EPIKAt the end of a lesson, not only is it important to review what’s been learned in the textbook, but it’s also important to check that students understand and can use the language that’s been taught. This year, with my Grade 6s, I looked for ways to encourage them to think on their own and use English in a creative and productive way. This was a difficult task, as my students are low-level and lack confidence when it comes to English. However, one effective method I found of getting them interacting more personally with English was through end-of-lesson projects that focused on translation. I wanted them to practice moving between the two languages independently, rather than relying on a teacher to hand the information to them, while maintaining their creativity. Translation activities can be great for this purpose, but the drawback is that it requires either your own knowledge of the students’ native language or a co-teacher who is willing to put in an equal amount of effort, so be sure to account for this before beginning this type of task.

About the Author: Kari Dirstein completed the 250-hour TESOL Diploma while teaching English in South Korea with EPIK. Kari has experience teaching grades 4 to 6. 

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Teaching with EPIK in South Korea: Supplementing Grade 4 and 5 Cheonjae Textbooks with Authentic Material

ESL lesson for EPIK teachers in South KoreaAs a teacher, it can be hard to get your students excited to learn at the beginning of a new lesson. EPIK, the public school program in South Korea, uses a series of textbooks called Cheonjae, which typically fails to get my students engaged at the initial stages of a lesson. Instead, I have found that using authentic material is an effective way of getting them motivated.

I find that my students are especially engaged when the material is tailored to my personal life. This article will outline some different ways you can use personalized authentic material as a motivator in your lessons, specifically for EPIK teachers using the Cheonjae textbooks.

About the author: Karina Dirstein completed the online 250-hour TESOL Diploma online while teaching English with EPIK in South Korea.

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How to Master Behavior Management in the Online Classroom

Managing classroom behaviour teaching onlineChildren can often be fire balls of energy that are seemingly impossible to contain. They can also be the exact opposite. Managing behavior is quite possibly the most difficult task that a teacher faces. Add the element of only interacting with the child through a screen, with virtually zero back-up and support, and the idea of managing any type of behavior becomes pretty daunting. It’s true that managing behavior in the online classroom can be extremely challenging. Disruptive students are a challenge in any teaching and learning environment, but it becomes particularly evident in an online classroom, especially when teaching one-on-one.

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A Recruiter’s Guide to Getting Your Dream Teaching Job

TESOL job recruitment advice on cover letter, resume, and interviewCongratulations! You got your TESOL certification and now you’re ready to apply for TESOL jobs. But what is the best way to organize your resume, cover letter and mock class preparation? As a job coach, recruiter and English teacher, I’ll tell you the best practices and examples you can follow to maximize your chances of getting an interview with an English teaching company and securing the job.

No matter what someone’s background is, the process of getting the TESOL job you want is the same:

  • Learn about the company, their mission and values
  • Tailor your resume and cover letter to the job requirements
  • Show your personality

This may seem obvious but you would be surprised how many applications I have seen that are generic and I can tell in a second that it is the same application they send to every other company. Do not make this mistake!

About the Author: Melissa Chungfat is a VIPKID teacher and recruiter. You can apply for online teaching jobs through Melissa through our VIPKID profile page

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How to Use Performance Based Activities and Projects with Young Learners

Teaching English to Young Learners Performance based activitiesMost traditional schools around the world base their curriculum largely on standardized forms of testing. In the ESL classroom, this culture encourages students to merely memorize sequences of words and synonyms for vocabulary- not to mention, it can get pretty boring and soul-crushing for the youngsters. Utilizing classroom performance activities is a great way to ‘test’ your students’ knowledge while igniting their creative flames. A performance-based classroom uses activities that require students to perform in front of their peers and teacher. While it may initially be daunting for some of the shy students, it has been shown in studies to build self-confidence. Plus, practicing and performing enhances students’ knowledge of the subject(s) and themes, developing their vocabulary and forcing them to really focus on pronunciation through repetition and rehearsal.

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