Sunday, March 28, 2010

7th Annual KOTESOL Conference

On Saturday I headed over to the Soongsil University in Seoul to attend the KOTESOL Seoul Chapter Conference.  KOTESOL is:

Korea Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages is a professional organization for teachers of English. Our main goals are to assist members in their self-development, and improve ELT in Korea. KOTESOL allows teachers to connect with others in the ELT community and find teaching resources in Korea and abroad through KOTESOL publications, conferences and symposia, and chapter meetings and workshops.
I have heard about their major conference that happened last year and so wanted to get in on the deal. The thing started at 9am but I knew I wasn't going to make it till the after-lunch lectures.

There were several choices to make amongst the lectures, one including a fun Cooking Survival class by Joe McPherson of ZenKimchi and others on the teaching level. I chose to go to "Team Teaching in the Korean Public School English Program" by Leonie Overbeek. I thought this would be a good one for me since team teaching is what I struggle with most.

Team Teaching Insights:
 The lecture was pretty insightful and every now and then she stopped talking to let us answer, in a group, a few questions on a handout. I am going to highlight for you those questions and the answers that she showed us.

  1. Do you know or think you know what team teaching really means - define it in one sentence: Supporting each other in the classroom. Each teacher fulfills a role. Two teachers teaching in an unselfish way. 
  2. Are there problems in team teaching in Korea? Culture, public presence, different teaching styles
  3. Which type of team pattern models presented do you think should be the model of team teaching? Tennis Doubles because you need flexibility and rapport. There should be no leader but to pass the ball to each other.
  4.  Why do you team teach: For the students, KT can show that kids can learn English. 
  5. How do you team teach: Start w/ planning. Review plan with the coteacher. Remain aware of your partner. Communicate, Nag to get information. Handing off (Step back, say something to tell them it's your turn during teaching). Active support.
 Really what I got out of this lecture is to realize that I am part of a team, and of course if I am going to just fight for myself then things will not work. I also realized that I am not the only one figuring out all this crap. A lot of people in the room seemed to have ah-ha moments just like me.

She talked about how if you are rude, selfish and obnoxious in your interaction that the only results you are going to get is that people will treat you like the enemy. I liked that she pointed out you don't really need to kiss everyone's ass but rather be sensitive to their position and share yourself in a warm manner. I think sometimes some of us feel that we can't express our opinions with our coteachers but that really isn't true. The thing is you have to change your game plan. Instead of coming at it with a sharp edge, rather lean into and get them on your side. Example: "Today's class was pretty good." "But maybe we spent too much time on this..." "Next time let's try...." "What do you think about this?"

To sum up coteaching means you are both in the classroom and should play your role together and not separately.

Needless to say, this meeting gave me a real confidence boost and some ground rules to run by while at work. Also it gave me a lot of ideas on how to communicate with my coteachers and things to improve upon together in the classroom.

Another workshop I went to after this one was "Classroom Rotation Games" by Gerlad de la Salle. It was alright but a little rushed and I think short on input. He let us play the games and showed us how it was done. But I think after the first round he could have stopped and figured something else out to do. Anyways it presented some good ideas for speaking exercises in the classroom.

I was getting really hungry, and headed to the snack and mingle area on the 2nd floor. There I saw some familiar faces and organizations.
10 Magazine was there and were having a raffle prize. I didn't win...didn't make it in time to put my name in.
Afterward I met up with my friend Stephanie and her pal Stephen to go to Itaewon. I forgot to mention that JH dropped me off at the conference and went over to a PC Bang to wait for me. I got his butt out of there and me and my friends all headed over to Itaewon for dinner.

On the way to Itaewon we were behind a Chicken roasting truck, which also went to Itaewon and parked right in front of Gecko's, all of which was really amusing. Why? The chickens were actively being roasted in the truck while it was being driven to Itaewon.

Yep...that's Taco Bell..and it is indeed coming to Korea. They better have Double Decker tacos or else it won't be worth it for me.
We went inside Gecko's, as some folks wanted a drink before dinner. Since I have spent so little time inside bars my adult life sometimes when I do end up in one I feel like a school girl being let into somewhere restricted. I sit down and look around and think, "Oh, this is what adults do." 

Well JH ordered lemonade and Stephan and I had ourselves hot tea. ;)
After drinks we headed over to a nearby Mexican place for talk and good grub. (The other ladies had Margaritas)
Altogether a really wonderful fun Saturday that helped me make new friends and gain new tools for teaching in Korea.


  1. So it really is true? I haven't been to Itaewon recently to see the coming soon sign...

  2. YEAH!!!
    Good goin' Joy!
    You need more & more conferences like is where you'll learn, network & gain soooo much confidence in your teaching ability!
    Plug into that organization & stay plugged!
    Try to get the proceedings (transcript)...they usually have keynote speakers that you missed in the morning session.

  3. I just stumbled upon your blog and saw this Mexican food goodness and want to know where I can get it! :)

    Please tell!

  4. Mexi - location: Let's see get out of the Itaewon station the one where the exit takes you where the Gecko's bar is. Go up that street heading away from the subway station. It is a small mexi joint and is on the right. I think you will see it :)

    ~Thanks far it is really helping me out.

  5. nachos bell grande no meat. that's all i want. and a chalupa. and cheesy potatoes. and maybe some of those cinnamon sticks. with a doctor pepper. yes. that's all i want. :)

  6. We have a Taco Bell on the Army Post and I joked that the only way I would move to Korea is if there was a Taco Bell near me. :)

    I look foward to trying out the Itaewon Taco Bell and seeing if there are differences!

    Perhaps I'll do a little compare and contract article! Haha!

  7. Dear Joy,

    I must share a thought. Please take it well. First of all, you are an ARTIST! I would buy one of your paintings and gladly spend a lot of money for the opportunity. Go back to school. Does not have to be in the USA, there are many avenues here, Japan..just name it. It will take a bit of work on your part, but you should look into it. Scholarships too.
    If that is not your mindset, research ART academies in Korea. I know they exist because some of my students attend.
    Bottom line, I think a person is best teaching what they really know and I am not writing this to put you down or make you feel bad. I feel bad reading your blog knowing you could make such a huge difference in some persons life with your knowledge and apparent expertise in art. Teach art...which is not an easy thing to do.
    With high regards,


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