Thursday, October 14, 2010

Notes from a Talking Recorder

I try to make it a point to talk to my students outside of class. Sometimes I can tell if it's working; sometimes, I can't. I hear Korean students were shy about talking and I know from experience that it takes a lot of courage to talk to your teachers- foreign teacher or not. Saying Hi to me in the hallways is one thing... it's automatic and an expression out of respect. But if they come up to me at lunch while I'm eating amongst the other teachers to say Hi, that's a different level entirely.

If they do initiate a greeting to me while I'm eating lunch, I do what's probably impolite to the teacher who's talking to me or the group at the moment; I turn around and tell the student Hi and answer their questions if they have any. I've not asked my co-teachers if this is rude or annoying to them, I probably should. But getting my kids familiar or confident with using English outside the classroom on a casual basis is one of my priorities.

... Even though it's been a little over 8 months, some of them are still shy.

What happens when the words run out?
Good question. Sometimes, I get tired of the monotonous Q & A routine-

Student: Hello Teacher.
Me: Hello,...Good Morning,... Morning,...

Student: How are you, teacher?
Me: I'm Fine, Great, Fantastic, So-So, Okay, Awesome, Tired, Not bad

...I've used them all. Now what? Anyone know of any more?...

I know my vocabulary is larger than that (I think,..) and I can't stand that I'm sounding like a broken record.

Solution: Why not ask them a question back?
Or maybe not... I've tried it. My students are great at initiating a question but responding to one is a different story.

Me: How are you?
Student: (deer caught in the headlights look, embarassed, shy... giggle and runs away)

Me: How's your lunch?
Student: (stunned, shy, looks around at other students, doesn't know what to do...)  Uh, mollayo. (aka: the Korean "I don't know")

I haven't found ways to deal with that yet, so I lead them with:

Me: Good? Delicious? Great?
Me again:... Chowayo? (Korean: You Like?) Mashisoyo? (Korean: Tasty?)

It's on the last two words, I get that  Ding! Idea is now registered. They laugh and nod, embarassed. But they still ...don't answer. We practice Hello, How are you today? (Lesson #1) at the beginning of each class, but outside of class they either don't know or are still too shy to apply it!  A bit frustrating and I'm not sure what to do to get them to feel more comfortable with using English outside the class in other situations.

Help! If anyone knows of any solutions or anymore responses I can give them, please let me know...

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