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-----Greetings!  My name is Steve Stegeman.  I would like to briefly introduce myself so as to give you an opportunity to get to know, interview if you will, the person whose services you are considering purchasing.  I am presently a Ph.D. student in Philosophy at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.  I have a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu.  I also spent a year in the Master's program in the School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. as well as a year in the Ph.D. program in Philosophy and Religion - Asian and Comparative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.

-----Philosophy of language is surely among my areas of interest, and the formal study of foreign languages is a requirement of my continued studies.  I have been involved in the English Education field since 1993.  I started out somewhat precociously, I like to think, landing my first two jobs while still an undergraduate in Colorado at the University of Denver, where I received my Bachelor of Arts degree This was despite having been a late bloomer, academically.   It took me five years to complete my undergraduate degree.  However, in all fairness, these five years were spent working on/toward a triple major in Russian Language, Philosophy and Political Science as well as a minor in History.  This course of study has greatly contributed to both my personal and professional successes.  My studies in Philosophy and Russian have been particularly instrumental in my life and influential on the development of my paradigm as an educator and pedagogical methods.

-----As I worked toward completing my Bachelor of Arts degree, under very unique circumstances I unexpectedly received a position to teach junior high school Language Arts (English grammar and literature) at Hillel Academy of Denver .  A significant number of students from Russia for whom special curricula had to be designed were enrolled there.  This was also the case in Colorado's Adams County School District No. 1 where there had been an influx of Russian immigrants.  For the most part of that academic calendar year, I was a teachers' aide and special tutor for the Russian students in that district.  At these two places the seeds of the methods I would develop as an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) educator were planted.

-----The next chapter for me, professionally, brought me to South Korea.  I began my career in Korea in the very popular Chongno area of Seoul at one of its largest and most heralded language institutes, YBM's ELS-Chongno.  Besides regular teaching duties, which consisted of teaching conversation, writing, grammar and listening components, I also administered level tests and ran a Philosophy Club.  After teaching only two months, I was promoted to YBM Si-sa-yong-o-sa's head office in Yoksam, Seoul to work in the company's materials production division.  I started by proofreading and editing projects on which I was not a writer, as well as writing items for TOEIC Magazine.  The two publications for which I was acknowledged were Master the TOEIC volumes 1A and 1B, of which I was the Project Head and Main Author, and the Young & Son Media TOEIC Preparation Course book, of which I was a contributing writer.  During this time, my attitudes about EFL teaching were being formed, and my method was conceived and in its infancy stages.

-----I was next employed by the language institute at Kangnam University located in Shingal, a small city south of Seoul.  Since the institute was in its inaugural year, besides normal teaching duties, I was instrumental in choosing the books to be used.  I also developed and directed the implementation of the level test.  Next, I accepted a position with Hanshin University in Osan, not too distant from where I was before, to teach classes for their General Cultural Studies program and English Language and Literature Department.  All materials to be used for the classes were chosen solely by me.  In the same manner the syllabus for each class was designed.  I was also responsible for creating a grading system which, in my classes, included mid-term and final examinations.  These years represent the primary formative period of my methodology.  After working at Hanshin University for two years, I proceeded on to Hoseo University in Asan, a good two and a half hours south of Seoul.  There I taught on the university level in the English Language and Literature Department for another year and a half.  During this time, I was fine-tuning the particulars and discovering the nuances of my methods, as most of the underlying fundamental development was behind me.

-----More recently I had been in the States doing a little teaching at Manhattan Language in New York, New York.  During this period, I  took on the challenges of adjusting and adapting my EFL teaching methods to an English as a Second Language (ESL) environment.  I also returned to South Korea for one year and taught  EFL as part of the staff of the Department of Hotel Management and Tourism at Catholic Sangji College in Andong.  This was a great opportunity as I was the only foreign professor at the school.

-----Regarding my methodology, it is based on an in-depth analysis of structure, grammar and meaning and has the goal of furthering the understanding of the relationship of the declarative (sentences) and interrogative (questions), true "language" functions, e.g. the formation of a question for an adverb or adjective phrase or clause via strict, logical usage of structure, grammar and meaning, and getting students to a communicative level as quickly as possible by focusing on and having them master the Active Voice, the Present, Past and Future Tenses and the Simple and Progressive Aspects , starting with mastering "Be" as a main verb in all tenses.

-----When answering a student's question, I avoid replying with the often hackneyed, usually semantical, typical, textbook response.  When speaking about language, grammatical terms are virtually unavoidable.  The terms expedite the conveyance of the explanation.  However, the terms are not to become the explanations themselves. When they do, the language seems to be randomly constructed and is seen as a nebula of exceptions.  Right now, you may be saying, "This is all Greek to me," so let me give an example of an answer I would give to an EFL student and did, in fact, formulate and give to a colleague of mine to pass on to one of his English majors.

-----The question asked by my colleague was "Why isn't 'myself' used instead of
-----'me', for example, when making the sentence 'I brought my books with me.'?"
-----I realize to a native speaker the answer seems ostensible or self-evident;
-----however, this is exactly the type of question a student of a foreign language
-----has.  In response, one could simply state that the meaning of "with me," "on
-----my person," does not exhibit a grammatically "reflexive" idea.  Albeit true,
-----this answer does not really give the student a point from which to proceed
-----and come to a real understanding, i.e., or in my terms, a tool.  At first, I did
-----not know the answer either.  Having enough grammar under my belt, I knew
-----I could figure out a useful answer, which would give the student a tool with
-----which to work, if I just broke it down logically.  After doing so, the answer
-----revealed itself, as it always does, and could be explained without getting
-----into the abstruseness of "reflexion" which would surely baffle the average 
-----EFL student and just about anybody else.  In short, we tend to use the 
-----reflexive when there is referential ambiguity.  I can better illustrate it with a 
-----concrete example.  I will give my example in the third person so as to avoid 
-----the confusion that usually comes with giving examples in the first and 
-----second persons.  Consider these two sentences:  "She is talking about  
-----'herself.'" or "He is sitting by 'himself.'"  In these two sentences, the reflexive  
-----must be used.  If the objective personal pronouns, "her" and "him", were 
-----used instead, there would be ambiguity and, thus, confusion regarding to   
-----whom the pronouns refer.  In these cases, the reflexive is used to refer back   
-----to the subject, and the objective is used when referring to a "third person."    
-----In the sentence, "She is talking about 'her,'" "her" is referring to another  
-----person, not the subject.  Patterns and rules are usually established in the third
-----person.  Apparent or ostensible exceptions arise when experimenting with
-----this dynamic in the first and second persons or with idiomatic expressions,
-----like "by oneself" which means "alone."  However, after more thorough
-----contemplation, you come to realize that they are not as much exceptions as
-----they are sub-rules!

-----The relationship of phrases and clauses in a sentence to their corresponding questions in accordance with grammar and meaning underlies my aforementioned EFL teaching methodology.  Simply put, all phrases and clauses in a sentence are answers to, implied, if not spoken, questions, and when I teach, I exploit this simple fact to facilitate both verbalization and understanding of the language.  Let's take the following "Present Progressive" sentence and break it down thusly:

---- Tom is meeting Sandy at the Chinese restaurant on First Street on Friday
---- night at eight o' clock.
---- Answer: "Tom"
-----Question: "Who" is meeting Sandy at the Chinese restaurant...?
-----Answer: "meeting"
-----Question: "What" is Tom "doing" on Friday night...?
---- Answer: "Sandy"
-----Question: "Who(m)" is Tom meeting at the Chinese restaurant...?
-----Answer: "at (the Chinese) restaurant (on First Street)"
-----Question: "Where" is Tom meeting Sandy on Friday night...?
-----Answer: "(the) Chinese..."
-----Question: "At which restaurant (on First Street)" is Tom meeting Sandy...?
-----Answer: "...on First Street "
-----Question: "At which (Chinese) restaurant" is Tom meeting Sandy...?
-----Answer: "on Friday night"
-----Question: "When" is Tom meeting Sandy...?
-----Answer: "(on) Friday (night)..."
-----Question: "(On) What day/(night)" is Tom meeting Sandy...?
-----Answer: "...(at) night"
-----Question: "When" is Tom meeting Sandy...on Friday?
-----Answer: "at eight o'clock"
-----Question: "When/(At) What time" is Tom meeting Sandy...on Friday (night)?

-----Phrases may be altered, moved or altogether deleted depending on the actual circumstances of the conversation.  Nevertheless, this repetitive method is very useful to the EFL student.  This method also has an explanatory function which could prove valuable to the native speaker of English.  In this, my last illustration, I will exemplify this function.

-----I once saw a saying which went as follows:  "Awake at dawn with a winged
-----heart, and spend the rest of the day for loving."  Unfortunately, I must admit
-----this little ditty exists in a frame on my mother's bathroom wall.  I am sorry I
-----am telling the whole world, mom, but....  I knew for a long time that "for
-----loving" did not sound right and finally decided to figure out why.  First, I
-----changed the subject to "I" rather than the implied imperative subject, "you,"
-----and I put it in the past tense in order to make the clause easier to analyze.  I
-----next tried making the question which would conduce the answer "for 
-----loving."  According to grammar and meaning, the question for that answer 
-----would have to be "For what did you spend the day?" or "What did you 
-----spend the day for?" or, since "For what" is a branch of the "Why" family, 
-----"Why did you spend the day?"  Obviously, the "reason or purpose 'you' spend
-----the day" is not what is in question.  It is the "manner in which 'you' spend the
-----day" that is important, thus, proving the use of "for loving" in this way   
-----incorrect or at least awkward.  Either "In what manner did you spend the  
-----day?" or the more common equivalent , "How did you spend the day?" would
-----be the correct question according to meaning.  The latter of those two would  
-----be one of the most common ways, if not the most common way, of expressing 
-----this question among native English speakers.  The correct way of answering 
-----these questions would be "I spent the day loving."  Now, in accordance with 
-----the grammatical nature of the sentence, another question becomes possible, 
-----"What did you spend the day doing?," which would be another common way
-----of asking this question among native speakers.  Also, the verb "spend" is 
-----typically used with the preposition, "on," making possible, though much less 
-----probable, the questions "On what did you spend the day?" or "What did you 
-----spend the day on?," according to the specific "grammar" of the word "spend." 
-----The specific answer to those questions would be "I spent the day on loving," 
-----but the best way to say this declarative statement would be the 
-----aforementioned "I spent the day loving."  From here, you should be able to
-----correct the saying yourself and understand why.

-----My way of teaching and conveying the elements of the language is a balanced one.  It is sufficiently rudimentary, in principle, for non-native speakers wanting to communicate in English, yet thorough enough for native speakers to analyze the intricacies of the language while avoiding the excessive and frivolous use of technical, grammatical terminology.  My primary goal is to help my students and clients understand language and learn transferable skills and not just provide them with a list of terms that are trivial in every sense of the word.


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Revised: 08 Oct 2014 11:57:02 -0700 .