Experience the Unexpected
I just couldn’t imagine how the trainers would accomplish so challenging a task to handle such a diversified class in which the trainees’ levels vary from university teachers to kindergarten teachers and their ages range from 21 to 49. Quite beyond our imagination, it turned out to be a big success — they made it go more smoothly than we had expected. Everything and even more than we could imagine had been taken into consideration and well-prepared in advance before our arrival. All the instructors had various ways to demonstrate how to introduce oneself to new students and how to group students of different backgrounds properly. Their skills to call students’ attention in class were so impressive that most of the trainees could copy from their instructors while doing presentations. And all of the instructors just integrated one course with another fluently and appropriately to construct a harmonious core for all the trainees.
Adam instructed us so skillfully in the course of Second Language Acquisition that he was considered as a middle-aged teacher full of teaching experience. But the truth is that he is only 31 years old and just started teaching 4 years ago. After Tom’s and Liddy’s specific instructions, I realized what a misunderstanding I had had about task-based teaching, content-based teaching and multi-intelligence. In Liddy’s class, a comparison of the 1-dollar bill, 1000-won bill and 1-yuan bill vividly demonstrated us how to conduct TPS effectively in class and on the other hand it reminded us of several more things about our Chinese currency. To everyone’s joy, Tom’s drama workshops, Croner’s literature workshops and Steven’s TPR workshops did work for us adult learners. In Corine’s ICC class, I really appreciated the way she explained the two abstract terms of ‘big C’and ‘small C’to us clearly enough with typical examples. I admire Terri so much for her most impressive communicative activities as well as her consideration and generosity to us teacher students. She is a good instructor and actress while I was not a qualified observer then because I went farther away from her original idea when creating a story based on her acting in class, which made both of us laugh to death.
A visit to theEnglishVillagemade up for the missing of life experience in an English-speaking country for us to some extent. I was inspired quite a lot when catching sight of the special sign “Please be considerate. Class in progress.” which well matches its Chinese version“正在上课，请勿打扰”.The most tasty lunch we enjoyed was the one at theInstituteofKorean Food, where we practiced making Kimchi, Neobiani, Bibimbap and ate up what we cooked by ourselves. A 3-hour campus tour led to a conclusion that SMU is really small in size but amazingly well-equipped within a long history of 106 years. When our performance of China Night was praised by our trainers and classmates, we felt so proud of being Chinese and had a sense of achievement to highlight Chinese culture in another country.
TESOL challenge did challenge us a lot to cooperate with Korean teachers of English on our posters, scripts, video clips, presentations and peer evaluation. After such a short period of studying abroad, I reconsider myself as an independent person and good team worker. I feel surprised to notice I can outdo Koreans of my age in both speaking and writing in English. I also see in person that more and more young Koreans speak English almost the way native speakers do. So we English teachers ofChinamust try our best to motivate our students to outdo their teachers in expressing themselves in English. Definitely we can start with changing their habit of learning English just as Liddy instructed us. I really admire the Koreans’ attitude to their work, most of whom work diligently from 8:30 am to 9:00 pm. Natalie dealt with every detail of 23 days well for us while Dr. Yeum held and recorded a 20-minute feedback interview with all of us individually.
I’ve experienced much more than expected from my 23-day survival and exploration inKorea. On the campus, I succeeded in making myself understood and getting information from the faculty and staff members as well as my Korean classmates. Outside the campus, it was more challenging for me to survive in a totally different world where I often failed to get what I wanted and needed because I didn’t know a single word of Korean. Without any knowledge of the Korean language, we explored as much as possible in and aroundSeoul, inJejuIslandand in theSuncheonBayEco-park south ofKoreaby making the most of body language and a tour map. When thinking back, what’s in my mind now about my 23 days inKoreais exactly: experience the unexperienced