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GS TESOL Portfolio

The following teaching philosophy was part of a portfolio submitted to the GS TESOL by Kim Seshin:

Marckwardt (1979) claims a cyclical nature of teaching methods in the phrase “the changing

winds and shifting sands,” although Grittner believes in a single unified theory of teaching is his

Bandwagons (Brichbichler, 1990). Within these contending views, I have contemplated what teaching

method I should try to implement in my classroom and what teaching resources and strategies I could

employ to make my classes more successful.

During my high school years in the 1970’s, English classes focused on the accurate translation of

English discourse. The learning process involved comprehensive knowledge of traditional English

grammar, syntactics, and morphology, rather than developing communicative competence or real-life

applications. Students would invest most of their time and energy on reading and grammatical

competence because their aim was to get better scores on their university entrance exams. Speaking

ability was mostly built on repetitious drills of the discourse patterns that were prepared by the teacher,

although they had little relevance to real-life language or context.

However, the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games marked a watershed moment in ELT study as the

national government stipulated that all secondary schools should train their students in the skill of using

daily English expressions. The hope was that the average citizen would eventually be proficient enough

to communicate with tourists and foreigners during the Olympic Games. Subsequently, from this period

until the present, CLT has become the primary pedagogical approach to ELT at all levels of the Korean

EFL profession. Since the new millennium ELT has been increasingly influenced by Internet technology,

and as a result computer-assisted language learning (CALL) has accelerated the development of

interactive teaching methods and resources.

As the national curriculum clarifies, a crucial goal of English education is to cultivate in students

the ability to understand and communicate in English on general topics of daily life (Ministry of

Education, Science & Technology, 2008). In accordance with this trend, Korean EFL education stresses
GS TESOL Portfolio

on promoting students’ communicative competence in the meaningful and interactional process of CLT.

In the interactive CLT framework, it is typical to practice oral communication through the give

and take of actual conversation and to produce language for meaningful communication. But what we

have as another current trend in English education is the whole language approach. Certified English

proficiency tests such as TOEFL, TOEIC, and IELTS are boosting this trend. In doing so, it is necessary to

have grammatical competence as well as discourse and sociolinguistic competence. Thus, as

grammatical competence is being revalued in language teaching, it vindicates the cyclical nature of

teaching method as claimed by Marckwardt (1972).

In such cyclical changes within ELT, I do believe that no known teaching method or approach is

exclusively used for one period or can encapsulate all educational contexts and demands of students.

Indeed, we need a multi-functional teaching method to facilitate change and enhance student learning.

Teachers also have to be aware of students’ learning styles as well as their own learning/teaching styles.

Teachers should see different learning styles as connected and since learners will have more than one

learning style, teachers should also encourage their students to stretch their approach to learning in

order to become more empowered in a variety of learning situations.

As more than one teaching and learning method is described in the national curriculum,

varieties of multimedia skills and ICT resources should be harnessed to motivate students to get

involved in learning activities and to promote a great sense of achievement in their learning (Ministry of

Education, Science & Technology, 2008). Student these days are of a so-called “digital game generation”

and are technology-friendly, so CALL can be easily applied to ELT classes to good effect. CALL can be

used for the development of the four skills in foreign language learning and teaching. Computers can

encourage self-determination which is the key of intrinsic motivation, since they facilitate individualized

learning and provide anxiety-free environments.

GS TESOL Portfolio

TBLT has large potential in integrating CALL into ELT with assorted communicative tasks.

Teachers in TBLT should find their roles in selecting, adapting, and/or creating the tasks themselves and

then preparing learners for tasks and providing partial demonstration of task procedures (Richards &

Rodgers, 2001). Teachers should employ a variety of consciousness-raising techniques in order for the

students to attend to or notice critical features of the language they use and hear. Teachers should act as

a facilitator to help students work well with tasks while monitoring their interactions with computers in

MALL-integrated classes.

Ultimately, aside from the contending views about whether the teaching method is cyclical or

unified, it is most important that the teacher has his or her own belief about the implementation of a

particular method or approach once he or she has the types of tasks and materials tailored to students’

needs and class goals. Ideally, the teacher should ensure they create and facilitate a meaningful and

successful language learning environment. They should be well-organized and prepared, ensuring they

have the most suitable technology for the task in hand combined with the most effective pedagogic

approaches. The teacher should continue to show flexibility in adopting further tasks to ensure that

student needs and learning styles are considered and adapted to.