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In South Korea, great emphasis is placed on education and English language learning. From a young age, students begin to learn English and often go to private tutors or schools after the regular school day to improve their language skills. However, given the differences between the two languages, Korean students face a number of challenges in the language learning process. Some of the challenges relate to learning the alphabet, Korea’s collectivist culture, and Korea’s emphasis on social hierarchy. The Korean language and English language have different alphabets, which makes it difficult for Korean students who are learning English. Not only must they memorize a new alphabet, the English one is also far more complicated and has different consonants and vowels than Hangul does. Additionally, English letters can be pronounced many different ways while Korean symbols are associated with a single sound. Accordingly, it is understandably tricky for Korean students to graph the nuances of English letters and pronunciation. Additionally, in English, stress is placed on certain syllables, but this is not the case in Korean. In Unit 13, there was a section about teaching stress which acknowledged the challenges that come with this element of learning English. The use of gestures, stress marks, and underlining can be helpful when teaching stress, especially given that native Korean speakers have less experience with this aspect of language. English language learners in Korea will likely find a few other elements of the English language confusing. For example, there are no articles in the Korean language as there are in English. While it is perhaps simple for native English speakers to remove articles from their speech if they are learning Korean, it is likely more challenging to add them in. Unlike America, Korea’s culture is based on the group, rather than the individual. As a result, it may be difficult for Korean students to adjust to the individualistic nature of English speaking. According to Byung-Eun Cho in the article, “Issues Concerning Korean Learners of English: English Education in Korea and Some Common Difficulties of Korean Students,” students may tend to say “our” when “my” is the appropriate word. Therefore, one of the challenges for Korean students learning the English language is to grow accustomed to this difference between Korean and American culture. Similarly, more emphasis is placed on preserving social hierarchy—specifically in regards to age—in Korea. As a result, speakers adjust their language depending on who they are speaking to. In English, this is not the case, and it can therefore be difficult for language learners to grasp that they can use possessive, individual words. Perhaps listening to recordings of English speakers can help establish the individual nature of the English language. Overall, native Korean speakers may face a number of challenges as they embark upon learning the complex English language. These challenges include but are not limited to: learning a new, complicated alphabet, adjusting to the individualistic nature of speaking, and adjusting to the lack of social ordering in the English language and American culture. A number of strategies put forth by ITTT related to the teaching of English can help teachers to mitigate the challenges that native Korean speakers face as they begin their English language learning. Sources: Byung-Eun Cho. “Issues Concerning Korean Learners of English: English Education in Korea and Some Common Difficulties of Korean Students.” The East Asian Learner, Vol. 1, (2), November 2004, pages 31-36.