Teaching in South Korea

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English: area map of Busan

English: area map of Busan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Teaching in South Korea: How I Got Here

I was living in Las Vegas, selling franchises, when the  bottom went out of the economy in Vegas. I was without a job for five months, and I don’t do unemployed well. I had been resistant to teaching because my mother was a teacher, despite many people telling me I would be good at it. I love explaining things and helping people, and I absolutely love kids and young people. So, I decided to look into teaching as a substitute teacher, but I had trouble getting in. So, I was  looking at ads for jobs online, and found an ad for an agency placing people in teaching positions in South Korea. I got on a plane a few weeks later. That was four years ago, and I’m still here!

I currently live in Busan, South Korea, a beautiful coastal city. After first teaching elementary kids in an after-school academy and several years teaching high school, now I teach college. I work part time hours for full time pay. I also get a housing allowance.Since I have some time on my hands, I decided to go back and get my master’s degree in education and bilingual education.

If you want to come here, too

If you are considering teaching here, there are several things you should know. First, if you are coming for any other reason than teaching, stay home. If you want to backpack around Southeast Asia, you should work as a bartender instead. These are really great kids that deserve people that want to be teachers to teach them. (Yes, I have done my share of backpacking. I’ve seen the Terracotta Army in China, ridden an elephant in Thailand, snorkeled in Malaysia, and I’ve seen Angkor Wat twice in Cambodia. The beaches in Southeast Asia are fantastic!)

Second, you will need a bachelor’s degree (not necessarily in education, but one in English or education is desired). If you want to teach at the college level, you must have a master’s degree (mine is in business administration).
Third, if you have a criminal history, you can’t get a job here. You must have an FBI background check.
If you want to teach, love kids, can handle culture shock (it will happen, trust me), and can handle cold Korean winters, try South Korea! You can find jobs advertised online at Dave’s ESL Cafe.com and Seriousteachers.org.
Busan Professor X. Pat
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Reflection on Learning Theories and Instructional Design

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As this course draws to a close, my professor asked that I reflect upon what I have learned and how you will apply my learning in future courses and in my career in the field of instructional design. Here are the questions he asked:

  • What did you find surprising or striking as you furthered your knowledge about how people learn?

I learned the difference between pedagogy, or teaching with the teacher having all the knowledge and students being sponges, and andragogy whereby the instructor teaches students the skills they need to seek information and to solve problems for themselves (Pew, 2007). This inquiry-based form of learning is not new to me; it is how I learn. I do as much of my teaching this way as I can. Language learning involves far more support than my business and liberal arts classes. What is new to me is Benton’s take on teaching becoming “employer” and students the “employees”, with a subsequent watering down of the curriculum and less and less real demands made on students (Benton, 2006). If, as a student, you don’t learn the skills you or someone else paid a large amount of money to learn, that is an enormous disservice to you. This is disturbing because of competition for jobs, and also that students need to learn the skills to survive in a world with the advent of jobs and careers that require the ability to mine the massive amount of knowledge available online for useful and accurate information.

  • How has this course deepened your understanding of your personal learning process?

I am now able to articulate my learning process, something I learned seven years ago while obtaining my first master’s degree in business administration. I learned I am a lifelong, intrinsically-motivated, inquiry-based learner. I love to learn. I start my day watching a short Crash Course video on YouTube. I listened to a podcast about space at the same time I wrote this blog, and spent half the day listening to TED Talks, interspersed with working on assignments.

When inquiring about something, I read a peer-reviewed journal to get the latest data, watch a video, read a blog, and talk to others about the new ideas. Most of my friends are teachers. We bounce ideas off of each other and share links and tips and tricks. Just this week one of my teacher friends shared a TED Talk with me.

I teach inquiry-based learning to my students–how to think critically, how to find out new information (especially how to develop a search using the right keywords), how to attribute what they learn in a paper or presentation or blog, and how to learn from each other using free collaborative software such as Google Docs. I’m not trying to impose my learning style on them, but to teach them how to adapt to functioning in an information-based society. I am using my new abilities to communicate what and how and why I do what I do for lifelong learning. This is a necessity when the jobs people will be working in five or ten years from now may not currently exist, and finding out new information and being able to use it very quickly is critical for almost any job (Kaku, 2011).

Typing on Netbook

  • What have you learned regarding the connection between learning theories, learning styles, educational technology, and motivation?

Lev Vygotsky was a Soviet psychologist (1896-1934) who invented a learning theory; Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) is a social learning method (Vygotsky, 1978, as cited in Lim, 2004; Sternberg & Williams, 2010). The ZPD involves problem-solving of the learner occurring with guidance from teachers and peers. According to Galloway (2001), Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development says that learners need support to learn, and that they need MKOs, More Knowledgeable Others, for this support. Online environments provide that support.

According to Sternberg and Williams (2010), students that believe in their ability to succeed and attribute success to hard work have cognitive motivation. They understand that one must put in the effort to do well in school. This is intrinsic, or internal, motivation. Intrinsic reinforcers include warm and supportive teachers, seeing students as capable, and create rules for real reasons, not rules just to have rules. Andragogy and inquiry-based learning use intrinsic motivation–the urge to learn new things, to solve problems, and the like–to motivate students.

I learned how pedagogy steals intrinsic motivation from students.  Extrinsic, or external, reinforcements are those such as praise, criticism, free time and detention, and awards. External rewards may prevent the development of intrinsic rewards (Pew, 2007).  If students learn to do hard work for motivations such as good grades and doing well on tests, they enjoy tasks and are willing to do the work.  Rewarding students externally for what they enjoy anyway may actually cause students to lose interest. To understand this, think of a person who is hired as a chef at a restaurant, and then loses the urge to cook at home. If the person had simply cooked at home for pleasure and gotten a different type of job, the person may have continued cooking in the home. Intrinsically motivated learners do the hard work to learn new things for the love of learning and self-improvement, not for some ephemeral reward that may never materialize. I went to a university to get a second master’s degree to be able to work anywhere in the world; I love to travel and learn about new cultures. This degree fits in with my goal of lifelong learning. I have learned both teaching and learning skills. I have learned how to learn better, something that will help me my entire life. Grades are a poor reason to enter or complete graduate school; lifelong learning is a much better reason.

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  • How will your learning in this course help you as you further your career in the field of instructional design?

We live in a wired world. All my students in South Korea have smartphones in their pockets; this computing power and networking ability allows students to use an amazing number of tools to learn instantaneously. Why aren’t more instructors using cell phones to help their students learn? My students take out their phones and look up things I say or write that they don’t understand, and show what they have learned with their friends. They also take pictures of things on the whiteboard they want to remember, and quiz me about them. They also use their cellphones to access all of my lessons I uploaded to the school’s web site. I make changes and re-upload them; my students then access them and query me about the changes. My students use their phones to talk about whatever vocabulary words are being studied that day. Other professors have helped to develop online quizzes and vocabulary study cards accessible from cell phones I can use in my classes.

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I may choose to switch to flipped teaching over time. Flipped learning is when educators record 5-10-minute lessons which students watch outside of class, then take take class time for activities using the knowledge (Engin, 2014). Many instructors take this farther and have students further research the material online and do projects together, using collaborative software such as Google Docs. This is a more andragogical approach. It will take me a great deal of time to “switch” all my lessons this way, but it is the future of teaching (NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Higher Education Edition, 2015). I can spend far more time in class doing activities and more research on the information rather than using the time speaking in class. I do have to speak in class; I am a native speaker and all of my students are language learners. I do want to give the students more opportunities to apply what they have learned.

I want to bring andragogy into more and more of what I do. I now have the resources to continue riding the wave of technology, to bring new tools into instructional designs, and to learn how to bring inquiry-based learning into language learning. Students in South Korea already have smartphones in their pockets; they should be using them as tools for learning. I want students to enjoy learning, to learn deeply and broadly, and to learn the skills the need and how to use new tools in order to become lifelong learners.

References

Benton, T.H. (2006, June 9). A tough love manifesto for professors [Electronic version]. Chronicle of Higher Education, 52(40).

Engin, M. (2014), Extending the Flipped Classroom Model: Developing Second Language Writing Skills through Student-Created Digital Videos, Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 14(5), 12-26. doi: 10.14434/josotlv14i5.12829

Kaku, M. (2011). Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100. Kindle DX version. Retrieved from Amazon.com

Galloway, C. M. (2001). Vygotsky’s Constructionism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/

Lim, C. P. (2004). Engaging learners in online learning environments. TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 48(4), 16–23.

NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Higher Education Division (2015). Retrieved from HorizonReport_2015HigherEd.pdf

Pew, S. (2007). Andragogy and pedagogy as foundational theory for student motivation in higher education. InSight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching, 2, 14–25.

Sternberg, R. & Williams, W. (2010) Educational Psychology. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

Learning Theories and Instructional Design

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I am finishing a class on learning theories and instructional design. These are the questions our professor asked us about learning theories, and how they have changed over the course:

  • Now that you have a deeper understanding of the different learning theories and learning styles, how has your view on how you learn changed?

I have realized that I learn best in the format of developing a question, researching peer-reviewed journals for more information, supplementing this via videos (I love TED Talks), blogs, wikis, and discussions with peers, and then applying my learning into something, like a blog or creating a game. I am careful to find accurate information. I also read nonfiction and fiction; one may be surprised to find how much immediate future technology is predicted in science fiction stories, and how much learning about a subject such as astrophysics causes me to have new ideas about teaching and learning. I piece together information from many sources and multiple areas or domains, and find what I can use in my daily life. I often make intuitive leaps that would have been impossible without my “other” reading.

I now see what I do as inquiry-based learning. I have a problem, and I seek knowledgeable people to help me solve it.  I use, and teach my students, learning “hacks” such as highlighting notes in different colors, making it easier to recall the information for tests by recalling the color of the note in question. I sincerely wish I had learned inquiry-based learning, multiple learning styles, and learning “hacks” in grade school, let alone middle school and high school. It made going to college a bit of a shock. The only exception to this was that my high school English  teacher gave us a syllabus. I was able to work ahead in her class, and therefore was able to follow along in class much better–a must for me when learning Shakespeare. When I arrived at college, I was able to read and understand a syllabus right away, when my classmates were wondering what they were looking at.

I also wish that math, science, and English were not taught as discrete subjects in Western education; I meld them together in my daily life with my inquiry-based learning. I teach some science and geography when I teach English as a foreign language in South Korea.

Laptop Computer

What have you learned about the various learning theories and learning styles over the past weeks that can further explain your own personal learning preferences?

Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) best explains my learning method; (Vygotsky, 1978, as cited in Lim, 2004). The ZPD involves problem-solving of the learner occurring with guidance from teachers and peers. I seek knowledge from those more expert than I, then seek to use this knowledge in some useful way. This is true professionally, socially, and in other areas as well. I live in a foreign country (South Korea); I rely on Korean “experts” to direct me in how to obtain an apartment, apply for or renew a visa, shop online, and the like. The other professors where I work are always telling me about new cell phone apps like online student data tracking and quiz programs they use to make teaching easier.

In addition, Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 2003) explains why I often need video, audio, and reading to fully understand a topic, and why I seek out information from multiple sources. According to Gardner (2003), people learn in all 8 ways. They are:

  • word smart–written word intelligence–primarily focused on in school
  • logic smart–math, science, programming intelligence–focused on in school, STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)
  • picture intelligence–thinking in pictures
  • body smart–kinesthetic or moving intelligence
  • music smart–nonverbal sounds
  • nature smart–zoologist, naturist
  • people smart–intelligence of the community or organization
  • self smart–who we are, goal setting, learning from mistakes, the most important of all intelligences (Armstrong, 2010).

This is the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, or MI. For instance, I use audio and video and read to learn new material; I read notes aloud when studying for tests. I highlight notes to remember material in different colors; this is both visual/picture and kinesthetic/body learning. I also draw or create charts, graphs, and graphic organizers (picture and logical intelligences) and put things I have to learn to music (musical intelligence).

What role does technology play in your learning (i.e., as a way to search for information, to record information, to create, etc.)?

I had not realized how many times a day I seek information online, whether it be song lyrics, a map or driving directions, or a new teaching method. I am constantly in Google Docs, creating new lessons or helping students collaborate on projects.  I use online learning, quizzes, videos, animations, sounds, and music to teach my classes, and am researching new examples of all the above fairly regularly. I keep up with friends worldwide on Skype and social media. I play online learning games to keep my mind sharp; both my grandmothers had either Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia before their deaths, so I work hard to exercise my brain.

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I am not currently creating and recording flipped lessons (5-10-minute lessons students watch outside of class, taking class time for activities using the knowledge) (Engin, 2014). I do plan on doing this over the summer, depending on what classes I’m teaching. I plan to start out slowly and gradually work my way into a more complete flipped model over time. I learn using my cell phones; my students should be as well, as my Korean students all have smartphones in their pockets. My students take pictures of things I write on the board, and quiz me about them after class. There are dozens of smartphone apps for learning; I think this summer will involve my researching them, determining which ones to use, and how to apply them in my classes.

students_texting

References

Armstrong, T. (2010, November 9) [Video File] Integrating Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. Retrieved from http://video.ascd.org/services/player/bcpid2142538512001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAAAmGjiRE~,escbD3Me8-zJF3QWOqVE-OMrN3ranSrz&bclid=2142460013001&bctid=676689774001

Engin, M. (2014), Extending the Flipped Classroom Model: Developing Second Language Writing Skills through Student-Created Digital Videos, Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 14(5), 12-26. doi: 10.14434/josotlv14i5.12829

Gardner, H. (2003, April 21). Multiple intelligences after 20 years. Paper presented to the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL. Retrieved from http://www.kvccdocs.com/FYE125/lesson-resources/Gardiner-MI-Article.pdf

Lim, C. P. (2004). Engaging learners in online learning environments. TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 48(4), 16–23.

Learning Network Mind Mapping Blog

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A learning network is made up of all the places one goes to learn new things (Siemens, 2004). It has nodes and connections. This is a pictorial representation of my learning network:

My-Learning-Network_46mxjir9

https://bubbl.us/mindmap

As you can see, the components are digital. I learn very little face-to-face, unless you count teaching missteps, which can be quite educational indeed. I do use Skype, KakaoTalk (the Korean Skype), and Facebook to talk to peers all over the world, and I have a network of local teachers as well. Waygook.com is a website specifically for instructors in South Korea, and is very useful for me, along with websites for free pictures, and online and local workshops.  Blogs are useful, but terrific time-wasters, and should be used when I actually have free time, which is generally over school breaks. This is when I do my actual instructional design, so this is a nice plus. I use Digg Reader for my RSS feeds to get updated blogs in one place for me to review. Peer-reviewed papers are not just for those attending an educational program; they are very useful to keep up with the latest research in my fields–education, adult education, teaching English as a second or other language (TESOL), and curriculum and online educational design. I use video to educate myself on a daily basis, with YouTube and TED Talks. I love to stretch my mind in this way. If you’ve never seen them, try the CrashCourse videos on YouTube. They are highly educational, and also teach instructors a great deal about what and how to teach.

Here are some questions my instructional design professor suggested I answer for this blog:

  • How has your network changed the way you learn?

My network makes learning more complete for me. If there is something I don’t understand or is complex, I watch a video or TED Talk. With a complicated step-by-step process, a how-to video is called for; I find those on YouTube.

  • Which digital tools best facilitate learning for you?

I use peer-reviewed papers, blogs, video (YouTube and TED Talks), and peer communication tools like Skype, Facebook, and Kakaotalk. I generally start with the papers and blogs, and move out to video and peer communication. I am stunned by the amount of information out there…and the amount of useless, time-wasting information out there. I target what I learn (such as articles in peer-reviewed journals), which websites and blogs to trust (those that have a list of references are quite helpful), and have a network of instructor friends around the world I can speak to. One of them is in Thailand writing her master’s thesis, many are in China and Japan, one moved to Istanbul…and I can contact all of them online.

  • How do you gain new knowledge when you have questions?

I start with peer-reviewed papers, then go to video and blogs to further understand the subject matter. I then discuss my findings with my teacher friends all over the globe, in a blog or via Skype or Kakaotalk. I have had fellow teachers see new avenues of inquiry or points I was missing countless times, so I never leave real people out of the learning process.

  • In what ways does your personal learning network support or refute the central tenets of connectivism?

First, let’s discuss connectivism, then how my personal learning network supports its tenets. The technology used to connect others plays a part in connectivism. Technology becomes an extension of the brain (Prenksy, 2013), and nodes (teachers, videos, blogs, peer-reviewed papers) can be used to extend knowledge out into the world. Learning occurs when the learner has used the node to gather, assimilate, and possibly use new information. Memory is the network itself, remembering far more than individual humans can possibly remember (Siemens, 2004). Technology becomes a part of memory itself (Prensky, 2013). Humans also remember what they have learned, but they choose to remember what is interesting or useful to them. Transfer occurs when the learner figures out what nodes are needed to learn, usually from a variety of sources (peer-reviewed papers, blogs, wikis, videos, podcasts, and the like). Then, the student assesses the information on the nodes for value, and uses only what has value or interest (Prensky, 2013; Siemens, 2004). One must be careful about one’s sources; wikis and blogs are not necessarily accurate. Part of the problem is wading through the information to get to what is really useful.

My personal learning works exactly this way. I seek information from what I believe to be reliable sources. I assimilate that information, often going off on tangents to find out more information about what interests me about the subject. I then read blogs, including comments–one can find some fascinating dialogues there. I may leave a comment, or write in my own blog. I talk to my “teacher network”, and get feedback on what works or doesn’t work in their classrooms or in their real lives. Ideas are like Silly Putty, the claylike moldable children’s toy. No matter how much research has been done about this supposedly great idea, you must mold the idea into something that is useful for you, at this time, in your real classroom. My personal learning network gives me lots of Silly Putty to mold into things I can actually use in my real life. If I can’t use it, then the idea is not going to help me, and I need to seek more feedback, or to find a new idea that does work. The good news is, people are always coming up with and testing new ideas, and the Internet allows the free flow of information so that I may find these ideas quickly and easily. I am a better professor because of this information.

Sputty

References

Prensky, M. (March 2013). Our Brains Extended. Technology-Rich Learning 70(6), 22-27.

Siemens, G. (2004) Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Elearnspace.com. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

Critique of an Instructional Design Blog: Online Learning Insights

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Online Learning Insights is a blog about online education written by Debbie Morrison, an instructional designer. Her blog post entitled ” Course Design and Online Group Collaboration–What’s the Connection?” posted on March 14, 2015 describes the benefits of collaboration such as engagement, gaining communication skills, and fostering deeper learning. She also lists course design strategies to make the assignments meaningful, challenging, structured but also flexible, timed appropriately, and with clear instructions. I have had projects that had confusing instructions, were poorly timed, and did not aid in gaining deeper knowledge. I have also had some highly engaging tasks with clear instructions about what to do, but had a choice of methods to reach the end goal.  As the recipient of both excellent and poor online activity design, I believe this blog post should be read by all instructors designing group activities.

Her blog post entitled “Five Alternatives to the Talking Head Video for MOOCs & Online Courses” that was posted on February 15, 2015 had the interesting factoid that “talking head” lecture videos should be six minutes or less. I was also surprised that personally-created videos rather than professional-looking ones were more desired by students. I knew that tutorials using software on which the lecturer could write and point out items was more engaging. I do think short videos and tutorials are very useful, as the student may replay them to gain understanding. Podcasts do allow one to listen on the go and to take notes, but I find the lack of visuals annoying, allowing me to become distracted. Interviews can be very insightful if a true expert is queried about a topic. I absolutely love simulations. I used a simulation of a manufacturing company to graduate with my master’s degree in business administration. I have never seen or used weekly recaps, so I may want to look into this further. I also agree that the professor for an online course can use YouTube videos and not do any “talking head” instruction at all. I am currently attending a university, getting my degree in education and bilingual education, with no “talking head” videos at all.

Video Telephony On Digital Tablet Pc Stock Photo

Overall, I find her blog insightful, useful, and interesting. The author also takes care to attribute where she has gathered the information, so I may use these for further reading if I choose to do so. I have subscribed via RSS feed to her blog, and plan on reading new entries in the future.

References

Morrison, D. (2015, March 14) Course Design and Online Group Collaboration — What’s the Connection? [Web log comment]. Retrieved from https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/

Morrison, D. (2015, February 15) Five Alternatives to the Talking Head Video for MOOCs & Online Courses .[Web log comment]. Retrieved from https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/five-alternatives-to-the-talking-head-video-for-moocs-online-courses/

Blogs About Instructional Design

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I am a university professor in South Korea. I am taking a course in instructional design online, and I was assigned a blog finding three different blogs helpful to instructional design professionals, I took on the challenge, and here are the results!

I started my Web search at: https://www.google.com/search?q=blogs+about+instructional+design&rlz=1C1CYCH_enKR621KR621&oq=blogs+about+instructional+design&aqs=chrome..69i57l2j69i59j69i65l3.5453j0j7&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8. This will get you started if you want to find more blogs on the subject.

Laptop Computer

Blog link 1: The Rapid eLearning Blog http://feeds.feedburner.com/RapidElearningBlog

This blog is an offshoot of Articulate, makers of educational software. There are articles on visual thinking skills, sharing e-learning courses, and web sites with free stock images. I read a blog post by Tom Kuhlmann about active vs. passive engagement. It explained something I had not thought of in the context of eLearning. The classes I currently teach are face-to-face, and I use strategies to actively engage learners such as intonation, modeling, and having students speak to each other. Learning how to actively engage learners online is an interesting concept, and one I had not considered before. This site has useful techniques for instructional designers, such as being visually appealing to users, and thus is worth a look and, perhaps, a subscription via email or RSS feed.

Kuhlmann, T. (2007, October 23), Create Engaging eLearning Courses You Can Be Proud Of [Web log comment] Retrieved from http://www.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/create-engaging-e-learning-courses-you-can-be-proud-of/

Blog Link 2: The eLearning Coach http://feeds.feedburner.com/theelearningcoach?format=xml

The eLearning Coach website has different areas, such as Podcasts, eLearning Design, eLearning 2.0, and Cognition. The site also has content on best practices for blended learning, books for learning professionals to read, and a podcast on digital badges, otherwise known as micro-credentials, learners earn for showing particular skills in the digital environment. I read a blog post in eLearning Design about the ten qualities of the ideal instructional designer. I had not realized the sheer amount of work it would take to become an instructional designer, and the qualities or quirks needed to do well in this field. One must be skilled at teaching, visualization, writing and video, brainstorming, and be highly interested in learning. I have contemplated this field, and the checklist in this blog is a great place to start. This site has obvious uses for me to learn about instructional design, specifically on things I had not considered, such as digital badges. The design of online coursework involves components I simply had not considered, despite my current pursuit of my second online master’s degree. Any tool in the toolbox is valuable, especially if it means it can make learners more motivated to learn or to be able to use the course easily.

Malamed, C. (2009) 10 Qualities of the Ideal Instructional Designer [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/10-qualities-of-the-ideal-instructional-designer/

IDD Blog http://feeds.feedburner.com/InstructionalDesignAndDevelopmentBlog?format=xml

This blog is a faculty service for Instructional Technology Services at DePaul University in Minnesota. There are articles on discussion prompts, poor online course design, strategies to enhance virtual conversations, and educational games. I read an article by Sharon Guan on Under the Dome, a wildly popular documentary by a Chinese mother, Chai Jing, with millions of views worldwide. Guan says this was more of a TED talk, without a lot of the technological bells and whistles accompanying TED talks. Guan talks about how stories are still important to add meaning to online content, and that simplicity may tell a story much more clearly than a complicated technological gizmo would. IDD Blog has some blogs with lots of links to other sites. It is quite easy to spend hours poking through the blogs, picking up more and more information, tips, and tricks on instructional design.

Guan, S. (2015, March 9). Under the Dome: What a Documentary on Air Pollution Taught Me about Instructional Design [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.iddblog.org/?p=2119

Instructional designers, take a look! I hope this helps!

Teaching in South Korea: The Skinny

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Getting here


First, determine what age group you want to teach. Do you like kindergarteners? Do you find high school students fun and challenging? What about teaching middle school or elementary school? Some schools are all-girls or all-boys schools. You may enjoy teaching in one of those schools.

Next, find an ad online. Check out Seriousteachers.org and Dave’s ESL Cafe.com. Both will help you find a job.

Jobs with a school district are much different than with an academy. After-school academies teach English to kids after school.  Generally, these academies will only give you about a week off a year. They also have very strict interpretations of how you can teach. Since they allow you to teach in the afternoon and evening (my job was from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.), some love this schedule. They also have kindergarten programs during the day. The school districts offer about 18 days paid vacation, and you have a Korean-speaking co-teacher to help you teach. You may, however, be teaching in more than one school, getting from school to school on the subway or a bus, because some school districts “share” teachers.

If you want to teach adults, you must have a master’s degree to teach college. I don’t know the requirements for teaching adults in adult academies, such as at Berlitz. These jobs are split shifts. You teach very early in the morning, have a long break, then start teaching again in the afternoon. People I spoke to generally love it or hate it.

Once you have checked out the job and its qualifications, go ahead and call the recruiter, agency, or the person hiring. Generally, Korean schools hire agents to hire their overseas staff. There are some very good agencies out there. I used GMSC Vancouver in the past.  You will probably have several interviews on Skype.

Be very careful to start to get your paperwork as soon as you can. The FBI background check can take three months! You will, most likely, need to get your bachelor’s degree apostilled as well. That can take a while as well. Make sure you have everything you need, or you can’t get a visa. Visa requirements change. Be sure you check them carefully!

You can live anywhere in Korea you want, depending on whether you want to teach in a school district or an academy. School districts are restricting foreigners in Seoul. I have lived near Seoul, and in a small town near a rice paddy. They all have their pros and cons. I do love Busan!

One more thing…it’s COLD here eight months of the year, unless you live on Jeju Island. It gets cold there for about six months. So, be sure you can stand the snow!

Busan Professor X. Pat

English: Students don Korean Flag Umbrellas to...

English: Students don Korean Flag Umbrellas to mark their team affiliation at School Sports Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)