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20 years overseas! Read about Leon's life
...to help English teacher applicants to succeed
in passing the English Teacher's Interview-style Oral Exam. [How to
prepared for an interview].
...to help teaching candidates in Korea prepare
for their interview exam.
Firstly, one should be aware
that there are "styles"
of and "registers" of speaking.
narrative, and artistic.
include: formal & informal; technical & non-technical; and academic
The English Interview Exam is a formal situation,
therefore formal register should be used.
register, no slang is used. Idioms are to be used only when
no other form is known to express the same idea. Therefore, idiomatic
expressions should be kept to a minimum. Idioms include phrasal verbs.
for formal register:
1. As mentioned
above, do not use slang & avoid idioms as much as possible.
linguistic slurs, such as: wanna & gonna.
3. Never say,
"You". Instead, use "One".
X--non-example: You should teach well.
O--bona fide example: One
should teach well.
4. Speak slowly
& fluently. [Some people seem to think that those words
("slowly" & "fluently") are
opposites. They are not. "Fluently" means
"flowing", "non-stop", like a river flows. Think of the
Hahn Gahng (i.e., Han Gang). It is fluent & slow. A mighty
speaker (like a mighty river) does not speak quickly, because the audience needs time to process
Some other suggestions
1. The style
of your answer will depend on the style of
question. Some questions elicit information, and therefore the style will
be informative. Some questions ask for anecdotes,
and therefore the style will be narrative.
Some questions ask for opinions, and therefore your style will be persuasive.
2. Act like a
professional. Body language is important in an interview. It is not
proper to use your hands when you speak in an interview. For teaching, it
is fine, but teaching students is an entirely different register. Sit up
straight. If your interviewer is a native English speaker, then you should
look at your interviewer's face when you speak. In native-English-speaking
culture, to look away signifies possible dishonesty. If you want to appear
honest, you should look directly at your interviewer during the interview.
3. If you cannot
hear and comprehend the interviewer's words, politely ask the interviewer to
repeat. [Key word here is "ask"]. For example, "Could
you repeat the question please?"
4. If you hear
the question and yet there is some vocabulary that you do not understand, ask
the interview to explain the meaning of the word or words that you do not
If you have any
questions for me, you may contact
(I, Leon, used to teach
Interview Preparation class at Haeng Jeong Goshi Hagweon in Noryangjin, Seoul,
Korea for six years).
Sample Questions and Answers
All Content Here Written by Leon
2002 Questions & Sample Answers:
1. Who is the teacher that you have respected most in
your life (from your middle school or high school experience)? And Why?
A: The teacher that I have respected most was my
Geometry teacher in tenth grade. He was enthusiastic about his subject. He
made us students excited about the subject. He had a good sense of humor.
It seemed that all the students really respected him. I made up my mind in
his classroom to be a teacher just like him, if I could.
2. What can a teacher do in order to be a successful
teacher? (Name at least three things)
A: First of all, let me say that if one wants to become
a teacher, he or she really should want to be a successful teacher. I want
to be a successful teacher, with all my heart. Second of all, it is
important to define "success in teaching". Success means
different things to different teachers. In my case, success means doing
one's best to educate the students. In order to do this, a teacher can do
three things: (1) care about ALL the students, (2) show the students that
they are cared about, and (3) prepare lessons well. Let me talk about the
last one. I believe that preparing lessons well includes making them as
exciting as possible. I want my students to like English, not hate it. If
the lessons are exciting, the students will like English; and if they like
English, they will try harder to learn it. Yeah... Also, a truly
successful teacher tries to make students like learning.
3. Nowadays, destruction of the ozone layer is a big
issue. Tell me about the cause and effect of it.
A: Wow! That's a very serious question. Honestly, I know
only a little about this subject, because I am not a meteorologist. As I
know, pollution is causing the depletion of the ozone layer. And, as I
know this could cause global warming. Global warming will cause the polar
ice to melt and the seas will rise. People will lose their property and
their homes. I remember seeing a movie entitled, "Water World".
In that movie, this precise thing had happened, and people lived on the
4. These days, students don't respect their teachers as
much as in the past. What do you think of this situation?
A: In my generation, we respected our teachers. Yet, I
have heard about the disrespect that students have nowadays. It saddens
me. I believe that it is the fault of the parents. If a child disrespects
his/her teacher, his/her parents may not respect public school teachers.
Of course, I will talk with the parents of my disrespectful students and
try to find a solution. But, if the disrespectful behavior continues after
that, it is obvious that the parents of the child just don't care. Then,
it becomes my burden to EARN the respect of that student. I will do my
best to gain his/her respect. That's all I can do.
5. Correct the sentence on the board, please.
Figures of Speech
Writing for Exams
2002 Questions & Sample Answers:
1. Whom do you respect most and why?
A: I respect my god most. I respect my god because of
the way I feel when I worship him or her. I also respect my god, because
of the awesome power that he/she has. I am nothing compared to him/her. It
is a healthy respect, I think. I also respect all persons in authority
over me. I will respect my principal and senior teachers in my school. I
believe that as a Rookie teacher, I have a lot to learn from them, for
they have much more experience than I.
2. Tell me about your family.
A: I have two families. One family is composed of a
mother, a father, three younger brothers and two younger sisters. Yes, I
am the oldest child. As such, I have learned to be responsible and
dependable. My second family is composed of myself and my son. Yes, I am
divorced. My son's mother abandoned us. I am not ashamed to admit it,
because I did nothing wrong. My son is three by Korean age, two by Western
age. He is the apple of my eye. He is learning to speak both Korean and
English. I am teaching him both.
3. If you were granted three wishes, what would you wish
A: I would wish for peace in this god-forsaken world.
When I watch or read the news each day, I am dismayed at the senseless
violence in this world. I wish we humans could all just get along
peacefully. Secondly, I would wish for the absence of poverty. When I walk
down the street, it saddens me to see people begging for money. I give
what I can, but it isn't much. Thirdly, I would wish for my son to have a
new mommy. He needs a woman's touch in his life. I can see the pain in his
eyes, regarding his mother's absence.
4. What is your favorite movie? And please tell me about
A: My favorite movie is probably "The Princess
Bride". It is a fictional account of true love, lost and regained. A
young man and a young woman fall in love. But, the young man is a pauper.
So, he goes off to seek his fortune in order to seek his true love's hand
in marriage. It has all the components of a truly great movie. There is
sword fighting, hand-to-hand combat, a battle of the wits, dangers,
adventure, romance, and best of all: a happy ending. I love that movie. I
have watched it a hundred times. I never get tired of watching it.
5. Which was the happiest day of your life?
A: Oh, that is easy. The happiest day of my life is each
and everyday that I spend with my son. As I told you, he is the apple of
my eye. I can't imagine life without him. He is the first person I see in
the morning and that last person I see at night. I was going to say,
"The day my son was born," but it wouldn't be true. Because,
each new day brings an added joy and compounds that joy a hundred fold.
Well, except, of course when he drives me crazy... he is in the
"terrible two's" stage of his life. He seems to get some kind of
pleasure out of doing the opposite of everything I tell him to do. So, he
is as the Koreans say, "A tree frog".
6. If students don't listen to you, what will you do?
A: If students don't listen to me, I will immediately
stop and demand their attention. I mean I am there to educate and they are
there to be educated by me. If I allow them to sleep or talk during the
lesson, then I would not be doing my job, now would I? If students persist
in not listening to me, they will be punished. Punishment will depend upon
how many times I have had to punish them in the past. Punishment will get
worse and worse each time. Furthermore, not listening is rude. A teacher
is not only to teach subject matter, but manners as well. Students need to
learn proper manners.
7. If students cannot hear you, what will you do?
A: If students cannot hear me, it is most likely because
they are sitting in the back of the classroom. I will of course suggest
that they move up to the front, but if they refuse, I will endeavor to
speak up. AND, I will move about the classroom during my lectures. This
will give all students the chance to hear me equally well.
Figures of Speech
Writing for Exams
2002 Questions & Sample Answers:
1. What is the general aim of a middle school English
A: The general aim of a middle school English teacher is
three-fold. The aim is (1) to make students gain basic knowledge of
English, (2) to make students enjoy English, (3) to make students
self-learners of English. I accept the challenge fully. I love English,
and hope to share my love of English with the students.
2. How can you overcome the difficulties of TETE
(Teaching English Through English)?
A: This is an important issue in Korea nowadays, for as
I know there is a trend for Korean schools to use the TETE approach. I am
glad you asked me this question, because I have thought about it a lot. I
have come to the conclusion that using the Silent Way Method will be quite
exciting and effective. Students will be curious to understand what I am
saying to them. Their natural curiosity will motivate them to study
harder. Besides, studies have shown (and experience has shown me) that the
Grammar-Translation Method has little effect in helping students acquire
the audio-lingual aspects of a foreign language, which are so important in
the 21st century. Students need to hear the language as much as possible.
The only difficulty will be keeping the students from falling asleep. That
can be solved by minimizing my lecture time and maximizing student
Educational Nomenclature Q & A
Q: Between the process-oriented / learner-centered
philosophy and the product-oriented / curriculum-centered philosophy,
which one do you subscribe to?
A: I subscribe to process-oriented or student-centered
education. In the ideal learning situation, the teacher helps each student
individually at the students level. In this way the teacher can help
individual students to realize what they must do to improve. Also,
teachers can inspire students better when they have close, personal
experiences with them. Too often in modern classrooms students have almost
no contact with the teacher. In student-centered education, teachers
should strive to have as much contact with individual students as is
possible, so I prefer this philosophy.
Q: Which is better "Bottom-Up" (Deductive)
Learning or "Top-Down" (Inductive / Holistic) Learning?
A: In my opinion, the most natural way to learn a
language is to follow the "Bottom-Up" or Deductive approach.
Beginning with phonics, vocabulary and grammar provides a good foundation
for students to build upon. These three basic, yet, essential areas
provide students with the necessary skills for them to become active
participants in the process. With out these essential skills they are
handicapped and dependant. For these reasons, I prefer the
"Bottom-Up" approach for teaching a language.
Q: Which theory of language do you agree with?
A: I hold to the view that education requires various
approaches and theories to effectively teach students. The structural view
is useful for beginning learners of a foreign language. It helps students
to compare what they presently know, from their own language, to the
target language, which they are trying to learn. The functional view is a
useful concept for those who are at higher levels in language learning.
These students must focus more on abstractions in the language, which are
much more difficult for beginning level students to understand. The
interactional view focuses much more on the community of language users.
It may be used successfully in teaching intermediate level students to
expand their second language usage. It focuses on interpersonal
interaction and can help students to push the barriers of their second
language expressions to higher more meaningful social transactions. It is
important that teachers remember that at different periods of the
students' development, appropriate models are needed, which will help the
students to progress to higher levels of language use.
Q: Which theory of language learning do you prefer?
A: Of the various theories of language learning, I
prefer the Theory of Transformational Grammar, by Noam Chomsky. In his
view of language learning, humans are born with an innate mental ability
to put language together in meaningful ways. We call that ability encoding
and decoding language. From my experience with children, it appears that
children have an instinctive ability to recognize language and its
fundamental usage. With this innate ability they are able to build more
complex structures through the process of deduction. Adults have moved
from lower levels, to much higher levels of language abstraction. Thus,
adults have become dependant upon their experience to process meaning
instead of their innate language sense that they were born with. However,
if adults were to return to a pre-knowledge state, they would be able to
regain, very quickly, through their innate cognitive-code learning skills
a new language much more easily.
Q: Which General Pedagogical Technique (method) do you
A: In my opinion, students cannot learn a second
language through one procedure. Since language is a complex system, which
allows complex interactions between humans, it makes sense that the
process of learning a language is somewhat complex and very dynamic. For
these reasons, it is important for teachers of a second language to be
familiar with a variety of teaching procedures. Not any one technique can
be held up as being far superior to any other technique. Using a
combination of various techniques and activities, however, may arguably be
the most effective way of teaching languages.
Q: What is your take on Classroom management /
A1: Because children are all so different, it is my
opinion that not one discipline strategy can be successfully employed all
the time. Unfortunately, teachers sometimes have a favorite method for
disciplining, such as beating their students silly, or kicking them out of
class. However, just as a teacher should use a variety of teaching
methods, they should also apply various methods of discipline depending on
the situation and the character of the student being disciplined. One
student might effectively be disciplined by having a private conversation
with him or her, whereas another student may need to have some privileges
taken away. Finding a suitable method is one of the responsibilities a
teacher has to deal with in their profession.
A2: I think that creativity is the most important thing
to successful classroom management. Creativity takes time and effort, so
it is important for the teacher to take time each day to consider what
activities will be held and what method will best work to manage the class
with that activity. Sometimes, rewards work well for activities that are
competitive. Other activities may simply require verbal praise or written
praise. In any case, it is essential for teachers to consider carefully
what the learning objective is and which strategy will work best to manage
the students while performing that learning activity.
Q: What is your position on Corporal Punishment in the
A: In America teachers are not allowed to touch
students. However, it wasn't always that way. It use to be when a student
got out of line in class the teacher gave that student a swat on the hands
using a wooden stick. That has all changed nowadays, but perhaps that
change is unfortunate. Students are less respectful of adults than they
were fifty years ago. Also, juvenile delinquency is a rising problem in
the United States. I believe that part of this is a result of not showing
a stronger form of discipline in their public education system and at
home. So, I think that wise use of corporal punishment is necessary and
Q: Should games be a part of foreign language education?
A: Games are great ways to assess the progress of the
students. In my opinion, good language educational games have the
1. Be Fun: Language educational games should be fun.
2. Involve All: Lang. Ed. games should involve all of
the students simultaneously, not just one person at a time.
3. Be Slightly Competitive: Lang. Ed. games should not
be overly competitive, because sometimes some students are turned off to
English if the game is too competitive.
4. Be Content-related: Lang. Ed. games should cover the
content learned in class that day or on a previous day.
5. Be Challenging: Lang. Ed. games should be slightly
challenging, because if they are too easy, the students might lose
interest in the game.
6. Be Oral-based: Lang. Ed. games should involve oral
communication as much as possible.
7. Use Target Language: Lang. Ed. games should give
participants an opportunity to use the target language without
embarrassment from making mistakes. We want accuracy, but students ought
to feel comfortable in making a few mistakes.
Figures of Speech
Writing for Exams
Figures of Speech
Writing for Exams
Teaching Questions: Teaching Methods
1. How would you describe your teaching style?
I would describe my teaching style as strict and
comfortable. I believe in having rules and strictly enforcing those rules.
I believe that strict adherence to rules is necessary to permit learning.
But on the other hand, my teaching style is comfortable. I try to make the
atmosphere in my classroom comfortable. That is, I let the students know
that it's Okay to make mistakes. I want them to talk without fear of
making mistakes. So, in short, my teaching style is strict AND
2. Please elaborate on the kinds of resources you'll use
in your classroom.
I will use various resources. One resource that I will
use is multi-media, such as newspapers, magazines, audio, and video. The
second resource that I will use is Native speakers of English. As much as
possible, I will invite Native speakers to come and give presentations in
my classroom. If that is impossible, I will use cassettes of native
speaker voices. The third resource that I will use is the students.
Sometimes, students can be great resources, especially ones who may have
studied abroad, or who may have studied in private institutes and are
quite advanced in ability. Lastly, I will use veteran teachers as a
resource. They may have a lot of great ideas for teaching.
3. Explain how you'll use music in your classroom.
I will use music as much as possible in my classroom. I
believe that music is very useful to help children remember what they've
learned. Since I don't sing well, and I don't play a musical instrument, I
will play various cassettes with English songs and make the students
follow the cassettes.
4. In what way do you intend to elicit oral fluency in
I will elicit oral fluency in various ways. One way is
by one-to-one interaction with myself. Another way is by pairing the
students up and making them memorize little dialogues. Another way is by
making the students memorize lines for a play, and perform the play for
parents or other students. Another way is putting the students into
cooperative learning groups and giving them a task to perform, such as
'information gap' task or 'information transfer' task.
5. What percentage of English vs. Korean will you use in
the classroom? Why?
I think that Teaching English Through English (TETE) is
good, but probably not the most efficient way to learn a language.
Therefore, I will use the mother tongue of the children in order to
explain more abstract concepts. I will never use the mother tongue to
explain concrete objects. Therefore, I will use about fifty percent
Korean, and fifty percent English in my classroom.
6. Tell me about your philosophy of education. (What's
I teach as I would want to be taught. I put myself in
the shoes of my students and try to identify with the weaknesses and
frustrations that they have. I believe in a holistic (data-driven)
approach of teaching, with copious amounts of 'consciousness raising'. My
eclectic methods seem to be well received by my students. I believe that
language has structural, functional, and interactional aspects. I believe
in ESP (English for Specific Purposes), but if a student wishes to
interact with native English speakers, pragmatic competence is just as
important as linguistic competence.
7. Choose your favorite teaching technique, and describe
how you will use it.
My favorite teaching technique is one that I invented.
It's called "competitive cooperative learning method." It works
like this....(bla, bla, bla). I also like making my students memorize
dialogues. In my opinion, students will benefit more from memorizing
sentences than from memorizing words.
8. What special talents do you have to offer as a
I have several special talents to offer as a teacher.
The first is my artistic talent. I can draw and paint well. I can even
draw funny cartoons. I can use this talent to make the learning of English
fun and exciting for my students. My other great talent is my talent to
feel the moods of my students and their reactions to my lesson. This is
helpful, because I can adjust my lessons accordingly. A teacher is not a
machine, and should not act like one. A teacher must take into
consideration the 'affective domain' of the classroom. This is my talent.
Figures of Speech
Writing for Exams
Teaching Questions: Classroom
Note: The term "classroom management" means
controlling the behavior of the students in one's classroom.
1. What techniques will you use to manage your
I will manage my classroom with a healthy combination of
punishments for bad behavior, and rewards for good behavior. For example,
(see answer for number 3)....
2. What controls (rules) do you think are necessary in
I think the following rules are necessary in the
One: No talking when the teacher is talking.
Two: No hitting. (including, NO DDONG CHIM!)
Three: No throwing ANYTHING.
Four: No getting out of one's seat without permission
from the teacher.
Five: No eating or chewing in class.
3. How will you maintain (enforce) these rules?
I will maintain the rules by a system of punishments and
rewards. If a student breaks a rule, I will write his/her name on the
board as a warning. If the same student breaks a rule again, I will put a
check by his/her name. That means 5 min. of detention, which may be served
during recess, or lunch, or after school. Every check is another 5 min. If
a student behaves extraordinarily well I will reward the student with five
minutes of computer play time.
1. What are you going to do to elicit student
participation in class oral activities?
I'm going to make oral participation part of the
students' grades... maybe about thirty percent of their grade. But I'm not
a mean teacher. I will try to make the environment comfortable for the
students. I will tell them that it is Okay to make mistakes. I won't
punish them for making mistakes. But I will dock their grades for not
2. How will you deal with overly shy (timid) students?
If a student is overly shy, I will take the student
aside and tutor him/her individually. That way the student will know the
answers before I ask the questions and he/she will feel confident.
3. How will you motivate students who simply hate
I will try to show them that English is important to
their future. If they are too young or too immature to see the long term
benefits of English, I will have to create some short term benefits, such
as using some popular rap songs with English lyrics, or using some popular
computer games which have English expressions in them. Also, I will use
videos, which don't have Korean subtitles. This will induce their natural
desires to make sense of the world.
4. What is your opinion on extrinsic and intrinsic
motivation in teaching?
I think that students don't have much intrinsic
motivation when it comes to structured classroom study. I will use verbal
and non-verbal praise. I will use physical rewards sparingly. But I will
reduce the frequency of physical rewards over time. Hopefully, this will
make the extrinsic motivation turn into intrinsic motivation.
5. How will you go about handling poor academic
I feel that poor academic performance needs to be
handled immediately, before it becomes a big problem. I will notify the
parents immediately of student failure. I believe that the parents have a
right to know. Also, I will encourage the parents to take an active role
in the student's education. I will have the parents check the child's
homework every night.
6. What is the best way to evaluate (assess) a student's
If we're talking about speaking performance, then the
best way is by oral exam. If we're talking about listening performance,
then the best way is by a kind of TPR test. For example, I would give the
students a blank piece of paper. I will command them to draw pictorial
representations of my English sentences.
7. If you finish the lesson early, what will you do?
I think that it is an important issue in education. So
much valuable time is wasted. I will use "empty time" well. I
will let the students do any of various English activities, such as:
reading an English comic books, playing English board games, doing English
crossword puzzles, and so on.
8. What will you do with students who finish assignment
9. As the teacher, where do you draw the line between
good noise and bad noise?
I think good noise is speaking English. I think that bad
noise is speaking Korean. As long as my students are speaking English,
I'll be happy. That's where I draw the line.
10. Are you afraid of 30 or 40 school children, some of
whom might be as big or bigger than you are? If yes, what will you do
about your fear? If no, why not?
Honestly, yes, I'm a little afraid. I mean, if two big
boys fight in the class, what will I do? What if a child never listens to
me? What if a child gets injured? I will be responsible for the lives of
all my students. The school is their home away from home. I will be like
their parent. It is an awesome responsibility. However, even though I will
be afraid, I will not show it. I will act brave. There is an old saying,
"Act like the lion, become the lion."
Figures of Speech
Writing for Exams
1. Please describe your personality (to me).
a. What is your personality like?
b. If you could sum up your character in one word, what
would it be? Why?
A: I would sum up my character as
"perfectionist". I like everything to be perfect. I like my
lessons to be perfect, my students to be perfect, and my classroom
environment to be perfect. I know that things aren't and verily cannot be
perfect all the time, but that is my aim. Once I heard a proverb, which
says, "Aim for the stars, and you may hit the ceiling; but, aim for
the ceiling and you might never leave the ground." I figure that by
aiming for perfection, I will help the students hit the ceiling at least.
It's better than being a mediocre teacher and helping the students stay on
2. What strengths do you have?
a. Which strengths do you posses?
b. What would you consider to be your strong points?
A: My strong points are my determination and my work
ethic. I am determined to be the best teacher I can be. I am determined to
help my students be the best students they can be. And, I am determined to
make a difference in this world for the better. Furthermore, my work ethic
is good. I believe in working over time, if I have to, in order to prepare
excellent lesson and tutor troubled students. In summary, my strong points
are my determination and my excellent work ethic.
3. What weaknesses do you have? / What is your major
a. In which area(s) could you most improve (as a
b. Which weaknesses do you possess?
A: I have only one weakness. It is that I am slow in my
work. But, the reason that I am slow in my work, is because I am a
perfectionist. I like to prepare my lessons perfectly. I want to be the
perfect teacher. That takes time, but it is worth it. My students are
worth it. I think it is a good weakness.
4. Why would you make a good teacher?
a. What special skills (or abilities, talents) do you
b. What do you have to offer, by way of skills,
abilities, and special talents?
A: I would make a good teacher because I am determined
to be a good teacher. I don't believe in cutting corners. I believe that
any job worth doing, is worth doing right. Moreover, I am dedicated to my
students. I want my students to enjoy English and to succeed at English.
5. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
a. What are your plans ten years down the road?
A: Ten years from now, I expect to be a Master's degree
in English Education, and the head of my school's English department. I
will be involved in KATE (Korean Association of Teachers of English) and
KOTESOL (Korean Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages).
Lastly, I hope to author some books about English Education in Korea.
6. Who(m) do you respect most (from the past)? Why?
a. Who is your hero / idol (from the past)? Why?
b. Of all the people in history, who(m) do you look up
A: I respect John Dewey. He was an amazing educator. I
read his book: "Democracy in Education." It is a classic. His
ideas about educating children are truly inspiring. But, he is not the
person I MOST respect. Perhaps the person I most respect is Jean Piaget.
His studies helped him to form theories, which are truly ingenious. His
'schema theory' is so helpful to all pedagogues. I plan to apply the
principles he has taught to my English lessons. Yes, Piaget is the person
I most respect from the past.
7. Tell me a little bit about yourself.
[Formula for answering this question:
a. talk about your birth place
b. talk about where you grew up
c. talk about your family
d. talk about your university and major
e. talk about your hobbies
8. What is your main ambition in life?
a. What do you want to make of yourself?
b. What are your goals in life?
A: My main ambition is life is to be happy. That
includes being happy in my profession and being happy in my personal life.
I believe that being a teacher will be a rewarding profession for me. I
enjoy teaching very much. Also, I feel an affinity to the younger
generations of Koreans. In my personal life, I aspire to getting married
and having a family of my own some day. Being a teacher will allow me to
achieve both my career ambitions and my personal ambitions.
9. Who is the most important person in your life
a. Who (living) is your hero? Why?
b. Who do you look up to the most? Why?
A: I look up to all the orphans and handicapped people
in the world. Their lives are really tough. And yet, most of them seem to
be successful. They overcome great obstacles in life. We
"normal" people cannot imagine how tough it is for them. We
think our lives are hard. But, theirs are so much more difficult. My hat
is off to all the orphans and handicapped people in the world, especially
10. If you could be anything for a day, what would you
A: If I could be anything for a day, I would be a bird.
It doesn't really matter what kind of bird, as long as it can fly. I want
to feel the wind on my cheeks and my wings. I want to experience the
freedom that birds have. And then, I would fly over my personal enemies,
and drop something on them. Oh, no... better yet... I would be a flying
elephant. Then, I would fly over my personal enemies and drop something on
11. If you had a million dollars, what would you do with
A: If I had a million dollars, I wouldn't be here. I
would be relaxing on a warm beach somewhere in the southern hemisphere.
Australia sounds nice. I hear they have nice beaches in Australia. Then,
after a long vacation, I would open my own academy to teach English. I
really enjoy teaching, and I like English. So, it is the natural thing to
12. If you knew this was your last day on earth, what
would you do?
A: If I knew that this was my last day on earth, I would
say "Goodbye" to all my loved-ones, and make a moment, so that
the world would know that I was here. I would give all my money to
charity. Well, not all of it. I would keep enough for a buffet dinner at a
hotel. I would invite the apple of my eye to eat with me at the hotel. It
would be our last supper together.
13. If you had the power to change anything in your
life, what would you change?
A: If I had the power to change anything in my life, I
would change my marital status. I am single. I wish I were married to a
wonderful spouse. If possible, I would get married today, if I knew I
could trust that person to love and cherish me until I die.
14. If you could do magic, what would you change and
A: If I could do magic, I would cast a spell on you and
make you give me a perfect score on this interview. Also, I would reunify
North and South Korea. Reunification would solve so many problems. For one
thing, we wouldn't need the U.S. military here anymore. For another thing,
we wouldn't have to live in fear anymore.
15. If you were the last person on earth, what would you
A: If I were the last person on earth, I would try to
make a robot to keep me company. I would live in one of those
"penthouse suites". I would find the SETI LAB and send a message
into outer space saying, "Come and rescue me, Please!" And in
the meantime, while I'm waiting for aliens to come and rescue me, I would
read every single book on the whole planet, until I died.
Figures of Speech
Writing for Exams
Figures of Speech
Writing for Exams
1a. What would you do if you should receive a monetary
"gift" of money from one of your student's parents with a note
requesting extra attention for their child?
Well, as you know, it would be illegal for me to receive
monetary or expensive gifts from my students or their parents. So, I will
give the money and note to my principal and ask for his/her advice on how
to deal with the situation. Also, I would tell the parents of the student
not to worry, because I will give all my students equal attention. I think
the parents will appreciate my honesty and candor.
1b. Imagine for a moment that you receive a monetary
gift from one of your student's parents and a request for special
attention. What would you do?
1c. Suppose that one of your student's parents shows up
with a monetary gift and requests some special attention for their child.
How would you handle such a situation?
2a. Let's say that one of your students has studied
abroad and speaks English better than you do? And he complains that your
English is terrible? What would you do?
Well, first of all, it depends on whether the student
complained in front of the class or in private. If the student complained
in front of the whole class, he/she would be rude, and would need to be
taught some manners. If the student complained in private, I would ask the
student for some suggestions about what I should do. Perhaps the student
would be willing to be my "pronunciation assistant". Also, I
would do my best to improve my pronunciation and intonation by listening
to native speakers' on tape or TV as much as possible.
2b. Suppose that one of your students has studied in
America, and speaks English really well. And suppose that this student
complains that your class is too easy for him/her. How would you deal with
such a student?
2c. What would you do if one of your students has
studied in a foreign country, and speaks English very well, so well in
fact that your lessons are much too easy for him/her?
3a. If you should encounter a difference of opinion with
the administration about teaching style (method), how would you resolve
3b. Imagine that you are trying a new method of
teaching, which seems to working very well. But your principal disagrees
with this method and asks you to change your teaching style. What would
Well, as you know, the principal is my boss, and I
should follow my boss. However, I would suggest a test of my method. I
would ask the principal to allow me to teach with my method for one
semester, and at the end of the semester compare my students' ability with
the students' abilities of other classes. If my students are superior, I
would implore that the principal allow me to continue using the method.
3c. Suppose that your students are responding well to a
new teaching method of yours, but your superior dislikes your method and
tells you to discontinue using it. What would you say to your superior?
4a. As you are well aware, the class sizes in Korea are
rather large. How do you plan to teach spoken English in such an
No problem. I will use lots of pair work and group work.
I like the cooperative learning technique and the competitive-cooperative
learning technique. I will monitor my students as they work in pairs and
groups. Also, I plan to have students to memorize and perform role-plays
in front of the class. Furthermore, I will teach my students some English
4b. How do you plan to teach oral English in a classroom
of 40 or 50 students?
4c. In your opinion, what's the best way to teach
conversational English in a classroom of 40 or 50 students?
5a. What will you do if a student is constantly tardy?
What will be your tardy policy?
If the school has a tardy policy, I will enforce that
policy. Otherwise, I will censure tardy students harshly. If tardiness
continues, I will discuss the problem with the principal and parents of
the student. Together I would hope we could find a solution to the
5b. What will you if some students keep getting out of
their seat, even though you told them not to?
5c. What will you do if a student hits another student?
6a. Imagine that one of your students accuses you of
gender discrimination. How do you defend yourself?
First of all, I firmly believe that prevention is the
best medicine. So, I will assure my students from day one that I do not
discriminate. Plus, I will keep excellent records of students' work and
students' participation. If a student accuses me I will invite the class
to vote on the issue. If the vote indicates a general feeling of
discrimination, I will deeply consider my teaching style and try to
resolve the issue peacefully.
6b. One or both parents of a child comes to school and
accuses you in front of the principal of practicing discrimination in your
grading methods. What do you respond?
6c. How will you handle any claims of unfairness or
discrimination by your students against you?
7a. A student asks you the meaning of a word, and you
don't know it. What do you do?
I will suggest that we look it up in a bilingual
dictionary together. At the beginning of the course, I will teach my
students how to use a bilingual dictionary. Sometimes a word has more than
one meaning. A student needs to consider the context of the word, and find
the meaning that best fits the context. I will help the student choose the
correct meaning of the word. Then, I will go home and memorize the word.
7b. If a student were to ask you for the meaning of a
word and you don't know, what would you do?
7c. If a student asks you a grammar question and you're
not quite sure about the answer, how would you respond?
8a. Several students refuse to participate in your
activities, because they can see no use for English. How can you instill
in them a sense of worth of English in their lives?
There are several things I can do. First, I can show
them how important English will be to their future, no matter what they
have planned for the future. I will create many situations where they may
need English in their future and have the students role-play through the
situations. By way of example: "You are walking down the street, and
suddenly a handsome/beautiful foreigner stops you and asks you for
directions to City Hall. What do you say?"
Secondly, I can try to show the students how fun English
can actually be by inducing their natural problem-solving skills through
8b. Let's say you've got several students who refuse to
do the learning activities, because they see no use for English. What
would you do to show them that English is important for everyone?
8c. Suppose a student (or students) won't study. They
say, "We don't need English," What would you do or say to
motivate such students to learn English?
9a. English is ever changing. How do you intend to keep
up with the current trends in the English language?
That's a very interesting question. I never really
thought about it much. I have been so concerned about learning English for
the past ten years. I never thought about "trends" in the
English language. Hmmm. I suppose that every language changes through out
time. Even the Korean language is changing. Well, I suppose that the best
way to keep up with current English is to read current novels, and surf
the internet. I will do my best to keep up with current English.
9b. New words and meanings to words are being added to
the English language all the time. How will you keep yourself up on the
modern trends in English?
9c. Everyday, new words and phrases are being
"coined" by native English speakers. How can you as an educator
keep yourself updated on new and modern English?
10a. If several of your students fail an exam, what
would you do?
10b. You teach something, and then you test the
students, but several of them fail. What would you do?
I would take the failing students aside, give them an
opportunity to receive extra help and allow them to take the test again,
on their own time of course. In other words, I would tutor the failing
students after school, and let them take the test again. Then, I would
average the scores between the two tests. This is called "Mastery
11. How will you handle a classroom full of students of
various ability levels?
I will handle it well. I will use various methods to
deal with such a situation. One method is called "Dyad
Learning". Dyad Learning is taking the advanced students and pairing
them up with lower level students. The advanced students will tutor the
lower level students. Of course, I will give special training to the
"tutors". I am only one person. I cannot give all the students
the individual attention they need. So, I will use my advance students to
Figures of Speech
Writing for Exams
Figures of Speech
Writing for Exams
Please discuss the
cause & effect of:
A.I.D.S. stands for the Acquired Immune-Deficiency Syndrome.
A virus, called H-I-V, causes it.
H.I.V. stands for Human Immune-deficiency Virus.
The virus is transmitted through bodily fluids, but mostly
through the blood. I read
an article about A.I.D.S., and the article read that H.I.V. originated
in African monkeys and then spread to African humans; then, spread to
the rest of the world.
That is the cause. The
effect is most often death. Usually
a person can carry the virus in their bodies for 8 to 10 years without
knowing. Then the symptoms
of A.I.D.S. begin to appear. Then,
after getting A.I.D.S., 100% of individuals are dead within a year.
Global War on Terrorism
The Global War on Terrorism was caused by Al Qaeda’s
attack on September 11, 2001. Al
Qaeda operatives hijacked four American airplanes and crashed two into
the New York World Trade Center Towers and one into the Pentagon.
Thousands of people from hundreds of nations died in that attack.
That was the cause. The
effect is that many nations have joined together in the fight against
global terrorism. It might
not stop the terrorists, but it will definitely make it a lot harder for
the terrorists to accomplish their objectives.
Anti-American sentiment in the ROK nowadays.
Anti-American sentiment has existed for decades in the ROK, yet
recently it has spread to the entire nation.
The cause was two-fold. The
first part of the cause was the acquittal of two American soldiers in
the case of two Korean middle-school girls that were ran-over and killed
by the US tank that they were driving.
The second part of the cause is S.O.F.A. (which is the Status of
Forces Agreement) between the US military and the ROK government.
S.O.F.A. did not allow the soldiers to be tried in a Korean
court. Those two things
were the causes of current anti-American sentiment in the ROK.
The effect will be a change of the S.O.F.A. and possibly strained
relations between the ROK and the USA.
It is generally believed that the world’s
air pollution is the main cause of global warming.
The effect is (and will be) the melting of the polar ice caps.
This will cause the seas to rise.
It also might cause strange and possible dangerous weather
phenomena, such as increased typhoons, cyclones, and hurricanes.
Recession in the ROK (1998-9) i.e., “IMF
The cause of the ROK recession of 1998 to 1999 was quite complex.
There were many things that contributed to the cause.
At that time there was a general recession in all of Asia.
Many Asian countries had to accept loans from the IMF (which is
the International Monetary Fund). But,
specifically in the ROK, there were some banks that made some really
poor decisions. They took
many short-term loans and gave many long-term loans.
That was the cause. There
were so many effects. One
is that many banks had to take loans from the government and the
government had to take a loan from the IMF.
The aftermath was that many banks tried to call their loans from
big businesses that could not pay, and went bankrupt.
For example, Hanbo went bankrupt and the owner was prosecuted for
embezzling company funds. Another
effect is that all government employees had a 10% pay cut.
Another effect is that many companies had to liquidate and lay
off employees in order to survive.
Another effect is that many private English academies went
bankrupt, because most people began “pinching
pennies” (or pinching 10-won pieces).
Another effect is that many bars and entertainment companies
lowered their prices (which I think is a good effect).
Basically, the effects affected every part of the ROK.
Destruction of the rain forest.
The destruction of the rain forest of Central and South America
is cause by the need for food, land, and development in that part of the
world. The effect is that
there is great environmental and ecological damage.
Millions of species of flora and fauna are being destroyed.
The medicinal value of these species has not been fully studied.
Furthermore, some people blame the strange changes in the weather
to the destruction of the rain forest.
North Korea re-starting its nuclear arms program.
Who knows what caused the North Korean government to re-start its
nuclear arms program? The
North Korean government claims that it is the right of every nation to
defend itself, and that includes the right to develop nuclear weapons. Personally, I think North Korea has a point there.
But, the problem is that North Korea agreed not to make nuclear
weapons. It is breaking its
What is your
Error correction in the EFL classroom?
There are many theories regarding error correction.
Basically, a teacher’s
error correction should follow his/her approach to teaching a second
language. If one takes the
structural approach (i.e., that language is structured), one should
correct all ‘form’
If one takes the functional approach (i.e., that language is for
communication), one should correct ‘content’ errors.
However, some applied linguists (like George, 1972) believe that
errors can be prevented in the future by ignoring them in the present.
Unfortunately, studies by others (such as Trahey and White,
reported by Rod Ellis), have proven otherwise.
So, my personal opinion is that error-correction is needed.
However, I find it impossible to correct every single error, so I
focus on the less marked and more global errors.
the 7th curriculum.
In general, the seventh curriculum is idealistic.
Realistically, it is difficult to implement all the requirements
and suggestions of the seventh curriculum.
The Korean government needs to give schools more resources, and
teachers more training in order to comply with the seventh curriculum.
ability grouping in the EFL classroom.
Ability grouping (also called homogeneous grouping) has its good
points and bad points. One
bad point is the stigma that low-level students will feel by ability
grouping. One good point is
filter’ of lower level students will
be reduced, permitting them to learn more. Having to compete against advanced-level students is not
fair. I think the good
points outweigh the bad points.
I think that gender-separated education does our society a great
dis-service. I mean:
how can students gain the social skills of interacting with
members of the opposite sex if they are separated?
Students may develop erroneous ideas about members of the
opposite gender if not given the opportunity to interact.
In short, I hate gender-separated education.
mandatory uniforms (for mid/high school students).
In my opinion, making uniforms mandatory for students is a
communistic action. It is
the goal of the communist philosophy to make everyone equal. It is also called egalitarianism. Don’t
get me wrong; I’m
not saying it’s bad.
decided one way or the other. There
are good points and bad points. One
bad point is students don’t
have the right to express themselves through their apparel. One good point is the poorer students might not feel as
inferior to the rich students. It’s
a trade off.
Cloning of humans?
Cloning of humans has two issues in one. The first part is the actual cloning of a whole human being.
To me, having myself cloned is not a pleasant idea.
I think there are enough Leons in this world.
However, I don’t
believe in restricting other people’s
rights. If they want to
clone themselves, fine, let them. However,
I think there needs to be strict laws and guidelines to keep cloning in
check. For example, there
should be no cloning without a person’s
written permission. The
other part of the cloning issue is using cloning for medicinal purposes,
such as cloning organs for sick people. This
is a wonderful benefit of cloning technology, in my opinion.
the E.P.I.C. program?
The E.P.I.C. program is a government program to hire native
English speakers to supplement English instruction in the middle and
high schools in Korea. I
think, in principle, it is a good idea.
But, practically, it is lacking.
I think it is very difficult to find qualified native speakers at
the low salaries which EPIC offers.
When I say, “Qualified”, I mean having a bachelor’s
degree in TESL/TEFL or having a bachelor’s
degree in anything and a TESL/TEFL certificate.
If the government hires non-qualified native speakers, who don’t know how to teach, then the
native-speaking teachers become little more than babysitters for the
students. So, I agree with
the EPIC program in principle, but in reality it is no good.
Content-based education in first-language (L1) education, and
content-based education in second-language (L2) education are two
different things. In L1
education it is the same as curriculum-centered education.
But, in L2 education it is focusing on content rather than the
target language in order to teach the target language.
I personally think it is a great idea, because a Buddhist author
once taught that the fastest and most efficient way to learn anything is
to not know one is learning.
Whole Language Education?
In Applied Linguistics, the term "Whole Language" refers
to all aspects of language communication, namely (1) listening, (2)
speaking, (3) reading, and (4) writing. My opinion is that whole
language is a "must" in Foreign Language Education. We, as
educators, must prepare our students to become capable communicators in
order to succeed in this information age. All four skills are
necessary as the world becomes more and more globalized.
Reunification of North and South Korea?
Every Korean longs for the reunification of the North and South,
I included. The only
problem is when and how. I
think it needs to be done in a wise way and it needs to be done slow~ly.
If it is done slowly and wisely, it could benefit both countries
in the long-run. But, if it
is done quickly and foolishly, it could destroy both countries. For one thing, the gap in economic levels between the two
countries is too large. The
first step in reunification is FREE TRADE between our two countries.
I believe someday our two countries will be unified peacefully.
_______________ affect(ed) English Education in Korea?
I.T. is Information Technology.
We live in the information age and information technology
permeates our whole society. The
ROK has become an information-based society, because of the lack of
natural resources within its borders. I.T.
has affected English education in the ROK in the following ways:
There is a LAN line in every school.
There is a computer in every classroom.
Much instruction is computer-based.
It saves time and paper and space of materials.
the future, I expect that I.T. will affect English education by
providing every student with a computer and network system in every
The War in Iraq.
Your answer here.
World Cup 2002.
World Cup 2002 has affected English education in several ways.
One way is it has made South Koreans more confident about
themselves. Another way is
it has globalized Korea a bit more and made Koreans realize how
important English is the their future.
Even Hiddink communicated through English, not his native
language. English is the
international language. World
Cup 2002 drove this point home to a lot of South Koreans.
I think it has motivated them to improve their English Foreign
Language skills. Another
way that World Cup 2002 has indirectly affected English education is by
bringing a lot of money and prestige to the ROK.
Perhaps some of that money will be channeled into education.
The globalization movement of the South Korean government has
affected English education. The
government seems more determined than ever to make English a second
language in Korea. Compulsory
English education has been around a long time, but in recent decades the
ministry of English education has been trying to improve the quality of
English education in the ROK. It
seems like every five years (since 1973) there has been a
new-and-improved curriculum. The
trend seems to be toward more oral communication and more Communicative
Language Learning approach.
The Korean S.A.T. (or K.S.A.T.) is not, I repeat: NOT, in
alignment with the seventh curriculum.
Thus, it affects English education adversely.
Students and Parents generally only care about passing the
K.S.A.T. The K.S.A.T.
requires no spoken English and no Listening Comprehension.
It only focuses on grammar and vocabulary.
Therefore, many students disregard or ignore their public-school
English teachers, and enroll in private English academies that teach to
the K.S.A.T. Believe it or
not the K.S.A.T. has a really huge effect on English instruction in the
Figures of Speech
Writing for Exams
Figures of Speech
Writing for Exams