How do Korean Elementary School Teachers Learn How to Teach ...

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Korean, English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Music, Art,. PE, Home ... Sport courses, Music courses, Art courses, Life information courses, Foreign. Language  ...

How do Korean Elementary School Teachers Learn How to Teach English

Seungbok Lee, Professor, Ph.D (Tennessee)

Chuncheon National University of Education South Korea

Where in the World is Chuncheon?

School Years and Subjects School Years

Elementary School : 6 years (Ages 7-12) Middle School: 3 years (Ages 13-15) High School: 3 years(Ages 16-18) University: 4 years

Elementary School Subjects

Korean, English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Music, Art, PE, Home Economics(Practical Art)

** English was introduced as a compulsory subject in 1997, in which the majority of teachers were neither ready nor properly trained to teach it to their students at schools.

Becoming Elementary School Teacher 1) BA degree from 12 National(public) Universities of Education and from 1 private(E-Wha Women’s University) (In Korea, there about 200 four-years universities) 2) Pass of National Exams (Just one time per year on the same day) (Competition is high recently: one out of two applicants.) (Interview test for private schools) 3) Subjects for National Exams: Level 1: Written Tests - General Education and 12 Subjects Level 2: Teaching Demonstration and Interview in English 4) No medical problems(Health Checks) 5) No criminal records(Police reports) ** More than 30% of school teachers of Korea have master degrees.

Chuncheon National University of Education Curriculum for Teacher License(Years 1-6, Elementary) Field General Education (34 Credits)

Subjects Humanities science courses, Social science courses, Natural science courses, Sport courses, Music courses, Art courses, Life information courses, Foreign Language courses(English) Foundation of Education(19)

General Education-related courses

12 Subjects Theory(24)

Ethics, Korean, Social Studies, Education, Math, English, Science, Practical Art, Music, Art, PE, Computer

12 Subjects Practice(25)

Specific Subjects (107 Credits)

Advanced Practice(12)

Music, Art, Sport, English, Computer


Total 9 weeks for four years

Special Activities(1)

Courses to have students acquire skills required to conduct Various activities for children at elementary schools

Free School Activities(1) Advanced Core Majors(21)

Students choose one core major out of 12 areas.

Thesis (P/F) Total Credits 141

Four years (8 semesters; One semester consists of 15 weeks.) 1 credit has 15 hours per semester(one hour per week).

English Courses and Credits (Pre-service: Undergraduate)



Credit (Hrs/ Per Week)


English Pronunciation and Listening Classroom English Practice I

2(2) 1(2)


English Language Teaching Method I Classroom English Practice II

2(2) 1(2)


English Language Teaching Method II


** All students(not English-majored ones) of CNUE take 9 credits in English out of 141 credits for four years. ** English-majored students take another 21 credits in English in addition to the 9 credits. (These credit-taking rules apply to all the 12 majors.)

Goals of English Education According to the National Curriculum, Korean primary school students are expected to achieve the following learning goals for English at the end of Year 6: 1. Children will be able to develop familiarity and confidence in English language. 2. Children will be able to converse in English with informal and casual topics. 3. Children will be able to increase understanding of the various information of foreign countries and develop an ability to utilize this knowledge. 4. Children will be able to have a new understanding of their own culture and develop right values by understanding foreign cultures. (Ministry of Education of Korea, 1998, p. 138)

Teaching Staff

Teaching Staff

Teaching Staff

Teaching Staff

General Consensus on Teaching between the CNUE’s Lecturers Traditional Behavioristic Approach(In the 1990s) - Teacher Role: Knowledge transmitter, Teacher(Omniscient), Role model - Learner Role: Knowledge receiver, "Empty vessel", Passive recipient - Prescriptive way of teaching: "What to teach" & "How to teach“ - Rote learning, Repetition over and over, Memorization - Accuracy is emphasized.

Searching for a Small Change (In the 2000s)

• From Prescriptive approach to suggestive way of teaching: Consideration on teachers’ levels and situations • Active participants: Teachers speak out their needs • Reflective teaching: Teachers develop skills in solving their own problems • Action Research • Ongoing professional development from peers • Paradigm for fluency and confidence: University lecturers need to be cautious not to make students(teachers) feel humiliated in classroom activities.

Critical Reflective Teaching (Classroom Teacher Autonomy)

- Much can be learned about teaching through self-inquiry. - Teaching experience alone is insufficient as a basis for continuing development. - Teachers: (1) Collect data about teaching, (2) Examine their attitudes, beliefs, assumptions, practice (3) Use the information obtained as a basis for critical reflection about their efforts in language courses (Murphy, 2001, p. 500)

Conclusion Four maxims for teacher training 1. 2. 3. 4.

Make teachers have a fun and interest in program. Foster their confidence in classroom activities. Provide them with a comprehensible (i+1) input. Increase the degree of target language use.

“There are no absolute rights and wrongs in the classroom, and a small change in teaching behavior can bring about big consequences for both teachers and students.”