Using Korean to teach English

I'm certainly not here to engage in a developmentally appropriate argument of whether to use L1 or L2 when teaching a foreign language. I could care less because both are appropriate in my opinion. Both have their place and both can be effective. Both can also lead to no progress whatsoever.

In my current situation, I teach English (L2) to Korean (L1) students in Seoul. I usually have a coteacher who is a native Koren speaker. Ideally (and I use that term loosely) clear and efficient coteaching occurs. Therefore, the foreign teacher such as myself needs no L1 knowledge to effectively teach L2. Theoretically. In practice though, most of my coteachers' English is barely acceptable; perhaps since it is an elementary school or perhaps I just got unlucky. Either way, I find knowing Korean immensely helps me do my job; not to mention it's great practice. Something about speaking in front of kids is humbling because although they don't intimate me, if I make a mistake, they show no pause in correcting me.

Here are a few words and phrases that help me do what I do. If you teach Korean students, these words might help you, too. I also realize that these phrases might be a bit too polite for some people's tastes. I certainly don't always talk to my students in 높임말 but the phrases below are a starting place. If you can think of anymore (or I've made a mistake) please leave a comment below!

Basic Expressions
애들아 hey (to students)
여러분 hey everyone (more polite)
질문 있어요? any questions?
답을 알면 손을 드세요. raise your hand if you know the answer
기억 안나요? you don't remember?
좋은 질문이에요! good question!
손을 내리세요. put down your hands
질문있는 사람, 질문 하세요 if you have a question, you can ask me
한국말이나 영어 다 괜찮아요 Korean or English is okay

책을 펴세요 open your books
쓰세요 please write
읽으세요 please read
읽어 해주세요 please read (for me)
책을 덮으세요 close your books
칠판 을 보세요 look at the blackboard [whiteboard]
여기 보세요 look here, please
앞으로 보세요 look forward, please
잘 들으세요 listen well
조용히 하세요 please be quiet
자, 좀 조용히 해 주시겠어요? could you please be more quiet?

일어서세요 stand up please
앉으세요 sit down please
대답 하세요 answer me please
따라 하세요 repeat after me
다시 한 번 말해 주세요 please say that again
크게 말해주세요 speak louder please
천천히 말해 주세요 please speak slowly
안에 들어가세요 please go inside (the classroom [if you are outside of it])
들어오세요 please come inside (the classroom [if you are inside of it])

More Classroom Instructions
투표할거예요 we're going to take a vote
순서대로 만드로보세요 make it in order
짝하고 대화 연습하세요. if already in pairs, practice together
짝을 지어서 대화를 연습하세요. find a partner and practice
나에게 질문할 것을 만들어 보세요 I want you to make some questions to ask me
상상해 보세요 pretend, imagine
늦지마! don't be late!
먼저 설명을 잘 읽고 문제를 푸세요. First of all, read the explanation well, and then solve the problem.
문제를 잘 읽고 답하세요. Read the problem well, and then give answers.
문 제부터 먼저 잘 읽고 시작하세요. Read the problems well first, and then start.
여 러분 먼저 설명을 잘 읽고 문제를 푸세요. Everyone, please read the explanation first and then solve the problems.

Classroom Management (handle with care)
잘 했어! good job!
자신 있어요? (do you) feel confident?
제가 말할때는 좀 조용히 해 주세요. Please be quiet when I am talking.
조용히 하라고 했죠? 그쵸? I told you to be quiet, didn’t I?
조용히 하라고 했잖아! I told you to be quiet, didn’t I?!
떠들지 마세요! don’t make a sound! (noise)
그거 되게 무례 한 거야 that's really rude
예의 없어 you have no manners
이 엄살쟁이 sore loser

말하기 speaking
듣기 listening
읽기 reading
쓰기 writing
어휘 vocabulary
글씨 handwriting
수학 math
과학 science
역사 history
마술 art
음악 music
특수 교육 special education

Test-related phrases
시험지에서 손 떼세요, 펜 놓고. since it's a test, don't touch your paper, and put your pens down
얼마나 공부 했어? how much did you study?
시험이 어려울까요? do you think the test will be hard?
시험이 어땟어? how was the test?
좀 어려웠어 it was a little difficult
합격 축하해 congratulations on passing the exam!

Various Terms
자기펑가 self-assessment
제4과 lesson four
연 습 문제 exercises
방학 school vacation
교장님 principal
교 감님 vice-principal
부장님 supervisor
원어민 native speaker

2 Responses to “Using Korean to teach English”

Marc Hogi said...

Hi Matt,

Three more useful words, although probably more appropriate for students older than elementary school:

preview + 예습
review + 복습
make-up class + 보강

Many Koreans I've spoken to (most of them adults) don't know these words in English, especially the last two. And although personally I don't use the English word "preview" very often, my students are very familiar with the Korean word "예습하다" fact a Korean friend taught it to me. Koreans seem to make quite a sharp distinction between "review" and "preview."

Just discovered your blog tonight, BTW...great content.

Matthew Smith said...

Marc - This post might be helpful:

I was surprised at some of the students of English who didn't know these words, too. Although the linked post is aimed at students of Korean, these are still quite essential words.

Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to comment anytime ^^