TEFL East Dennis Masachusetts

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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:

As a person who is interested in the South Korean culture as well as an english teacher in South Korea, I have noticed several problems that Korean students often face while studying english. The first problem deals with the “R” and “L” sound. The second issue highlights the pronunciation of the “SI” versus “SHI” sound. Finally, I will address the overall issues Korean speakers have as a whole when learning english. Native Korean speakers often confuse the “R” and “L” sound in the American alphabet. This is one of the biggest problems I have come across while teaching english in South Korea. When I ask students to say a word such as “river,” I often hear them say it as “liver.” Because the “R” and “L” sound is interchangeable in the Korean language, english learners or Korean heritage also seem to think that it is the same when it comes to english. “Really” will be pronounced as “leally” and so on so forth. I felt that the best way to correct this problem was through gradual speaking practice. If a word with the “R” or “L” sound came up a lesson, I would spend extra time practicing the pronunciation of that word. For example, one of the hardest vocabulary words for my intermediate class to pronounce was “surrealism.” They were unsure of where to place the “R” or “L” sound within the word. I feel that this issue can be corrected with consistent practice and exposure to more vocabulary in the english language. Another pronunciation issue that arises with english learners of Korean heritage is the “SI” versus “SH” sound. In the Korean language, when the “S” and “I” meet, it is pronounced as an “SH” sound. Therefore, Koreans tend to pronounce words like “SEE” as “SHE.” Other commonly mispronounced words include: SINGLE (“shingle”), CITY (“shity”), SIBLING (“shibling”), etc. Again, since this common pronunciation issue stems from the Korean language, practice is the only way for students to improve. In order to make sure my students are practicing their pronunciation, I would go around the room and individually call on students to practice out loud. It becomes a friendly contest between the students and I get to hear them individually speak. Overall, I feel that the differences in the Korean language and the english language have caused Korean students to struggle with learning english. Because they were exposed to the Korean language first, they will tend to base their english learning experience on the Korean language. This may be a reason why young learners tend to grasp the english language quicker. Since they do not know much written Korean to begin with, it is easier for them to learn a new language such as english. Since I have started to work as an english teacher in South Korea, I have been trying to find several ways to help my students overcome these common issues. While I may have not found the perfect solution yet, I have learned that there is nothing wrong with just constant practicing. Repetitions of keywords as well as focusing on potentially problematic words have proven to be helpful to the students I have taught.