As a blogger for Aclipse, I'm here to help as Chungdahm applicants have questions about their future job. For all the questions I get about money and life in Korea, the majority of questions center around what you're actually doing in the classroom. To help break it down some for all of you who are interested in applying, here are some of the more common inquiries about the curriculum at Chungdahm...
Quick note before you start reading: I'm including links to previous blog entries from my peers along with my answers. Definitely check out these blog entries for even more information that will be useful as you begin teaching at Chungdahm.
What are the classes actually like?
Chungdahm's classes aim to give the students a far more interactive and creative learning environment than the one they typically encounter each day in their regular schools. You'll always have a certain amount of "lecturing" in class, such as when you're explaining a topic or a concept to the class, but ideally, you should be encouraging discussion whenever possible. When the students don't know something, you ask questions to lead them to the answer. Find ways to help them apply the topic to their own experiences, and encourage them to speak up and share this information with the class.
Am I making my own lesson plans?
Nope! One of the wonderful things about working for Chungdahm is that everything is all put together for you. Of course, you need to spend time reviewing each lesson and adding any supplementary material.
Do you teach grammar?
I get this question from potential teachers quite a lot, which I think comes from a reluctance to have to explain the convoluted grammar system that is the English language. Overall, no, you aren't expected to teach grammar to the kids. (Cue sighs of relief.) However, it can't hurt, and I can guarantee that students will ask you grammar-related questions. Some Chungdahm locations do offer grammar classes, but in most cases, the lessons and the exposure to conversations with you will be grammar lessons in themselves.
What are the skills that the Chungdahm curriculum focuses on?
Largely, Chungdahm's classes are concerned with preparing students for English proficiency exams, such as the iBT TOEFL. This specifically includes working on their reading comprehension, listening comprehension (including note-taking), writing, and speaking. In my experience, the last two are often the most difficult for the kids, since production and expression in a foreign language are generally more challenging than comprehension. Since speaking and writing are important, Chungdahm's lessons include a lot of discussion, group work, and project presentation, allowing the students to utilize what they've learned and practice expressing themselves.
For a breakdown of the different programs, check out this entry from last month.
Does the curriculum differ between elementary school students and middle school students?
For nearly all the classes you'll teach at Chungdahm, the curriculum will be the same for both the elementary and the middle schoolers. The levels are divided by proficiency level rather than age, so it's possible that over the course of a week, you'll be teaching the same class to both a group of elementary schoolers at 4pm and a group of middle schoolers at 7pm. Of course, these age groups can differ dramatically, so part of your job will be finding ways to tailor the lessons to fit their level. From the videos you show to just the discussions you initiate, you can easily find ways to keep the different ages engaged with the same lesson.
If you have any additional questions, leave a comment below or fill in the "Chat with a Chungdahm Teacher" form to the right of this blog entry! We're here to help you prepare for and feel comfortable with your move to Korea!
Between studying Japanese and Asian culture in university and setting her sights on a teaching career, it came as no surprise when Zannah Smreker announced that she was moving to South Korea to teach for Chungdahm Learning. In November 2011, Zannah accepted a position through Aclipse with the Songdo branch in Incheon, just southwest of Seoul. When she's not teaching, she keeps herself busy with exploring Korea, eating all the street food, and hunting down strange Engrish shirts. Check out her blog and her Instagram for more of her adventures!