[OP8] incorporating an even balance of skills

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[OP8] incorporating an even balance of skills

Post  Younghee choi on Fri Jun 06 2008, 08:19

[OP8] To date, most of the English language instruction carried out in public schools has been oriented around reading and grammar skills. How do you think the next generation of teachers in Korea could ensure that teaching approaches incorporate a more even balance (and integration) of skills?


It is true that most English classes have been centered around improving reading and grammar skills in Korean public schools although speaking activities are often practiced in an elementary level. There are many reasons of focusing on those skills in a secondary school. First, the assessment system has a great impact on teaching. Most parents and students are interested in getting a high score on a test which is usually focused on reading skill. Second, teaching reading and grammar is easy for teachers to teach. They donít have to prepare plenty of teaching materials if they need to teach reading and grammar. I believe the following actions should be taken in order to ensure a more balanced teaching of four skills.

First of all, as I pointed out the evaluation system of English subject, the current test system mainly focusing on reading should be changed into incorporating four skills evenly. In particular, the reading part comprises 66% in Sooneung Test and listening 34% and there are currently no speaking and writing test. Thatís why high school students put a lot of time in reading and grammar to get a good score. Fortunately, it is welcoming that the Korean government is considering changing the assessment system into incorporating 4 skills in the near future.

Secondly, specialization of English teachers will be helpful. This means that English teachersí work is divided into three parts which are reading, listening & speaking, and writing & grammar sections. They specialize in a specific area and teach students in that area. That is, there are a reading teacher, a listening & speaking teacher, and a writing & grammar teacher in a school. Iíve actually witnessed that regular school teachers didnít have enough time to prepare class because of their heavy administrative work. This kind of specialization system will save their heavy workload and their time to develop teaching materials.

In conclusion, we canít ignore studentsí extrinsic motivation such as getting a good grade to enter the prestigious college. Therefore, the evaluation system plays an important role to enhance four skills in English. Plus, to provide quality English teaching with balanced skills, division of English teaching will save teachersí effort to develop materials for all skills.
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Younghee choi
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Re: [OP8] incorporating an even balance of skills

Post  Sera Jung on Fri Jun 13 2008, 21:55

Your first support idea , various criteria for assessment system is same with mine. There is no doubt all English classess focus on university entrance exam teaching reading and listening skills. Specialization of English teacher is what I have not thought before. This might be one way to offer students more intensive learning in each skill and teacher might also be able to develop their profession more profoundly.
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Re: [OP8] incorporating an even balance of skills

Post  Young on Sat Jun 14 2008, 19:24

I also agree with your opinion of division of English teaching. Native teachers can be charge of speaking area, and local teachers can cover reading and writing which need more detail explanation. Sooner or later, as we know, unbalanced and assessment-oriented public English education should be changed.
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