Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Tuesday's Korean class: a postmortem

Tuesday evening saw the debut of my "Veteran Beginners" Korean class. There were seven students, all colleagues—fellow DCU profs interested in continuing to learn Korean. Three of the students were repeats from last semester; the rest of the students were newbies to the college who nevertheless had some familiarity with Korean: they could read and write the alphabet, and already had some vocabulary knowledge. One or two students worried me because I thought they might be too advanced for the level I was teaching, but they assured me that they would still learn something from the course.

With very little preamble, I plunged us into the Sogang University textbook that is to be our bible for nine weeks. I rushed us through a review of the basics: the Korean alphabet, the formation of syllables, choral repetition of vocabulary, and so on. The students gamely performed all the oral exercises; they even did a bit of writing for me, and by the end of class, most of them had sent me text messages in Korean. After the review modules, we then moved into the junbi (preparation) sections, which are something like "pre-chapters" before the true work begins in earnest. I got us through the first junbi chapter before we had to stop. This puts me slightly behind schedule, but it's not a big problem; I can move more quickly through the three remaining junbi sections next week.

All in all, the mood was light and fun, all thanks to a group of students who were pleasant to work with—probably because they already understood the ins and outs of language learning, thanks to both their teaching experience and their experience in learning other foreign languages (several of my colleagues already know two or three other languages). I don't know whether my students thought the class was as fun as I thought it had been, but I hope to see them all next week. And the week after that. And after that. For nine weeks.

ADDENDUM: I have my first "Absolute Beginners" class on Wednesday, starting at 5:30PM. The Absolutes meet on Mondays and Wednesdays, but only 90 minutes per session. We didn't start this past Monday because it was still March: I had told everyone that we would start in April, so Wednesday, April 2, was the first available April date for the Absolutes.


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