Teach English in Caoyang Xincun Jiedao - Shanghai Shi

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Problems for learners in S KoreaThere are basic theories and methodologies that are applied all throughout the TESOL profession, and these go a long way to addressing the problems that students will face in learning english. However, it can also be beneficial to a teacher to have at least a basic understanding of the individual needs of the student, and to some degree this can be the common mistakes made my students of a particular nationality. These students have been raised speaking language in one way and it can often be difficult to change one?s thoughts to match the expressions of another country. To this end, this article will address the common problems for english learners from South Korea. english belongs to the Indo-European Language Group, where as Korean is linguistically similar to languages in the Ural-Altaic Language Group (Suh, 2003). The languages are so very different that it requires enormous efforts on a person to switch between the two. One of the biggest problems for Korean learners is ?the complexity of english words in spelling and sound correspondences? (Kim et al 1988:136). Korean is a phonetic language, every sound corresponds to a letter, but in english each letter can be pronounced very differently. Many Korean students find it difficult to pronounce english?s voiced consonants (i.e. b, d, g, v). Korean usually follows the syllabic form of consonant, vowel, consonant; however, in english there is often three consecutive consonants in the starting position. To compensate for this Koreans often insert vowels between the consonants when speaking (Cho, 2004). There are also rather large syntactic differences between the languages. In english the word order is subject, verb, object, where as in Korean the word order is subject, object, verb. To make english sentences, Koreans have to actively change the word order and this can account for slow responses to questions. In Korean verbs do not take ?-s? in the third person singular and this leads to one of the most common mistakes among Korean learners of english, failure to ensure subject-verb agreement (Cho, 2004). Another difference is that in Korean relative clauses come before the noun that they are modifying, leading to another problem for Koreans when attempting to speak english. The last major problem for Korean learners of english is a cultural difference. Due to the nature of Korean culture, Koreans tend to express themselves in general or indirect ways. They have been taught to express themselves this way so as to avoid potentially offending someone else, but can cause a problem supplying specific details when describing things or events (Cho, 2004). Another cultural difference is the group mentality that leads to Koreans rarely using the possessive ?my,? instead favoring ?our? (?Our teacher,? ?our sister?) even when the person they are talking to is a stranger. The differences between english and Korean are numerous and they run deep, causing many difficulties for Koreans wishing to learn english. The biggest advantage for Korean learners of english is that they most certainly were forced to start learning at an early age in school. However, these differences can still cause a number of problems for Koreans. While the general TEFL teaching theories and methodologies can help any teacher with any problems they may face, a firm understanding of the basic differences between Korean and english on top of a proper TEFL training can prove invaluable in helping a teacher to maximize their lessons in South Korea. References Cho, Byung-eun. (2004). ?Issues Concerning Korean Learners of english: english Education in Korea and Some Common Difficulties of Korean Students,? The East Asian Learner. Vol. 1, No. 2. Seoul: SungKongHoe University Kim, Chung-bae & Myung-shin Shin. (1988). Various Problems in english Education in Korea. Seoul: Hanshin Pub. Co. Suh, Cheong Soo, (Ed.) (2003) New Millennium Dictionary of Korean Language and Culture. Seoul: Hansebon