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Three teachers in a Korean language school: culturally bounded teaching practice but different teach


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Title: Three teachers in a Korean language school: culturally bounded teaching practice but different teach

Three teachers in a Korean language school
culturally bounded teaching practice but
different teaching styles
  • 07P 331
  • Spring 2006
  • Seon H No

Description of Study
  • The purpose of this research study is to find out
    how teachers at the Korean language school teach
    and what are the teaching approaches and methods
    used in the classroom.

Theoretical Framework
  • According to a 1990 U.S census, the
    Korean-American population increased 124 from
    357,000 to 798,849 in the past decade.
  • Although most Korean children understand the
    Korean language in the manner that their parents
    use it at home, few Korean immigrant children
    actually have achieved a high level of
    proficiency in the language.
  • The Korean language school is the place in which
    the formal home language learning takes place to
    improve immigrant childrens language

Research Questions
  • How do teachers in Korean language schools
    develop their own literacy program? Are there
    any culturally specific ways of teaching methods?
  • What are the teachers teaching styles? Is there
    any difference among the teachers in terms of
    teaching styles?

Case Study Design
  • This research was designed as a case study.
  • A case study is an empirical inquiry that
    investigates a phenomenon within its real-life
    context, especially when the boundaries between
    phenomenon and context are not clearly evident
    (Yin, 1994).
  • This case study offered the advantage of a
    detailed investigation of particular individuals
    in a particular setting.
  • Case studies are valuable for contributing to the
    refinement of theory, highlight issues that
    warrant deeper exploration, and mark the limits
    of generalizability (Stake, 1994).
  • In contrast to a positivist perspective, no claim
    is made for the generalizability of case study
    findings to a wide range of settings (Guba
    Lincoln, 1994).

Research site and participants
  • Location The language school was a suitable
    place for investigating a Korean language
    teaching environment in the home language
    learning classroom.
  • Participants The subjects were three teachers at
    the language school located in a Midwest college
    town in the U.S. The teachers are currently
    enrolled in doctoral programs near in the town.
    Each of the teachers has been serving different
    times as a teacher, but they have all worked at
    the school for more than 1 1/2 years.

Data collection
  • Observation
  • For this research study I observed three teachers
    in their classes. Class A has 4 students, Class B
    has 3 students, and class C has 3 students.
  • I observed two times for each class from March 4
    until March 25, 2006.
  • I chose to write a field note for the first time
    of each observation and for the second, I
    recorded an audio tape for each observation,
    which I transcribed later on.
  • Interview
  • Pre-interview About 3 hours with the head
    teacher (to build my background knowledge about
    the school environment).
  • Interviewed with three teachers at Korean
    language school. The length of interview varied
    from 25min to 15min.

  • Only Korean policy
  • Teacher talk vs. students talk
  • Dictation
  • Reading aloud together
  • Using cues ( scaffolding, background knowledge)
  • Rote memorization
  • Emphasis on grammatical analysis
  • Drawing from students recent experience/activiti
  • Discipline
  • Focus on content/class
  • Contradiction between teachers beliefs and
    practices in the classroom
  • Agreement between teachers beliefs and practices
    in the classroom.
  • Teachers teaching experience
  • Teachers area of discipline
  • Teachers teaching philosophy
  • Ability to connect between students background
    knowledge and topics in the classroom

Assertion1 All three teachers practiced
culturally bounded teaching methods.
  • It seems that it was well understood by students
    and whenever a student verbalized in English, a
    teacher or peers commented and reminded that
    Korean is the only medium in class. Do you know
    the name of a butterfly with various colors?,
    and then the teacher said, What butterfly? I
    have no idea. Then the student said in English,
    Butterfly is yellow!, and the teacher said, No
    English, youd better find out what it called in
    Korean. (Class B. March 25, 2006)
  • I noticed that all that class performed dictation
    quizzes after each chapter was finished. In
    class A, as soon as one chapter was finished, the
    teacher said, OK. Its time for dictation.
    One student, I really dont like dictation, wait
    for me (as she opened op her notebook), teacher.
    (Class A, March 11, 2006). Another class was the
    teacher wanted students to write the same
    sentence at the same time in the class she said,
    OK, now I want you to write, Thank you. I will
    eat well with big appetite. Now, you have to
    write down exactly what I said. (Class C, March
    11, 2006).
  • I found that in all the classes I observed
    actually the teachers practiced similar patterns
    dictation, rote memorization, ways of discipline
    and reading aloud together, etc. This similarity
    may appear because the teachers unconsciously
    teach culturally embedded practices in the

Assertion 2 Each teacher revealed different ways
ofteaching approaches.
  • The classes started by teachers saying, Open
    your book. Then the classes proceeded according
    to their main text. However, each class has a
    different beginning in terms of the teachers
    different style. My first class observation was
    low intermediate level of class. The teacher
    began her class by checking that everybody
    brought a pencil and book. This class needed
    around 5 min. to get organized and ready to
    study. The teacher was very patient with students
    and was unhurriedly moved on to the subject they
    were going to study that day (Class C. March 11,
  • I noticed that each teacher has their own
    strategies of building scaffolding and eliciting
    students background knowledge into the class.
    For example, the advanced class profoundly
    emphasized grammatical learning and
    pronunciation. The text is from Korean government
    and the content seems too remote to understand
    for the immigrant children. My observation week,
    the students in advanced class were learning
    lesson 9 Lets read and Think. The objectives
    for the lesson are 1. Student will be able to
    conceptualize cause and effect after the
    reading from a lesson. 2. Student will be able to
    talk fact and opinion. When I was in the class
    first week (March 4, 2006), the students were
    struggling and tried to comprehend these
    concepts. They could not schematize their
    background knowledge related to what they were
    learning in class. The teacher explained
    repeatedly, but there were long struggles in
    order to grasp the concept of cause and effect
    and fact and opinion.

  • My next observation was class A, the advanced
    class. As soon as students opened the text, the
    teacher in the class started right into the class
    subject. She started to read the sentence from
    the book, When the door of castle closed, we
    cannot get in the city. I would like to come
    again. Please wait until that time. Then she
    went on and asked students, what kinds of
    feelings can you think of? All the students in
    the class seemed to know what she meant, but
    could not think of the right words to answer.
    Then the teacher added, (the writer wants to)
    try to soothe ones mind, then what kinds of
    feeling is it? Does it stay longer or not?,
    Dont you think that it wants to stay a little
    longer?, see, try to soothe the minds of little
    star. (Class A. March 11, 2006)
  • The last class, class B, was, OK. Lets see. Now
    we are going to learn chapter 5, the new chapter.
    Do you know what the topic is? The teacher in
    class B started her class by clarifying what they
    are going to learn and asking students whether
    they can come up with their own background
    knowledge. (Class B. March 25, 2006) She was able
    to draw students attention very quickly and
    smoothly into the class and students were soon
    actively engaged in learning.
  • The three teachers I observed were clearly
    approaching different teaching styles in the
    classroom. It may be difficult to comment on
    their teaching style and how effective one was
    over another by just observing two times for each
    class. However, there are some degrees of
    differences to interact between teacher and
    students, and among the students. I noticed that
    the flow of learning development related to the
    topic that they studied showed some difference
    among the classes.

  • This study finds that the three teachers in a
    Korean language school managed systematically
    Korean cultural bounded teaching practices.
    However, each teacher displayed different
    teaching styles in the classroom.
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