-----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 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:
-----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.
-----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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Master. All rights reserved.
Revised: 25 Jan 2011 21:49:51 -0800 .