Genki English Debuts in Korea!

So here it is, over 90 countries visiting the website and now 3 Asian countries I’ve actually done presentations in. Today’s mini-conference was organised by KOTESOL, a group for teachers and teacher trainers in Korea and there are more PhDs here than I’ve seen in ages! The plenary session was quite good with Dr Park talking about some of the problems facing the Korean Elementary School system, mainly the problem of training all the teachers. There are apparently huge budgets here for teacher training, but the problem seems to be whether the training is done effectively and whether the trainers are qualified enough. It certainly is on a completely different level to Japan, way more advanced. One interesting point brought up was that of whether to only train the keen teachers, as the teachers who are often “forced” to attend distracted from the real work. Interesting. Then Ritsuko Nakata gave her speech describing the situation in Japan. Everyone fell about laughing. She said some really good stuff, being brutally honest about both the public and private sectors. She tends to mainly deal with the private sector in Japan, and it was good to hear what she had to say. Then it was my turn! I was a little worried as just by looking around you could see how much greater level things work at here. But I had a packed room and people were well into it! They laughed at the jokes, did all the activities and really got into it. I guess this is the thing here, although they work at a much higher language level than in Japan (for example on TV the High School English programmes talk about “diffraction” and on the kids shows the word of the day today was “impressive”, in Japan last week it was “purple”), they still rely on a lot of styles of teaching and materials written by people who may have lots of experience teaching adults, but have no idea how to teach kids! So they just lapped up the songs and the most popular question at the end was “Where can I buy the CDs?”. Well… you can get them on the website, but I really need a distributor in Korea, so if anyone is interested! I even got asked to do another presentation at the end of the day. Cool. This time there was a smaller group (it was standing room only for the first one) and it was good to listen to what people were interested in and wanted to see presented. But I guess the thing is the same the world over, the thing with Genki English is that I wrote it because I hated school and when I started teaching I just wanted to make it fun! You’ve gotten keep the solid core with all the educational aims and theories, but it needs to be wrapped in fun and enjoyment. You can’t ever teach a child anything, you’ve just got to show them that it’s just as cool and exciting as a Playstation and then give them the tools to learn themselves! Getting them to think “Yeah, my teacher is cool. Yeah, English is cool. Yeah, I want to try my hardest and go out and experience all the amazing things to offer in this World!” is the way to go!

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...