Saturday, May 14, 2011

What did you do in South Korea?....and a teaser

So, since I didn't start my blog until after my trips to Korea, I haven't blogged about them at all. But they are interesting, and I think worth relating to you. I wish I had been blogging when I was there, but, as they say, hindsight is 20/20. 

I was invited by the illustrious and brilliant Dr. Clara Lee Brown of the University of Tennessee (where I completed my MS) to travel to Busan, S. Korea, to work as part of a team of ESL teachers conducting a workshop for Busan public school teachers on Content Based English Instruction Curriculum (CBEIC) in both January 2010 and January 2011. The workshop was two weeks long, and consisted of four parts: a lecture series by Dr. Brown on CEBIC, demonstration CBEIC lessons, a Reading with ELLs workshop, and the teachers constructing and presenting their own thematic unit lesson plans (TULPS) following the principles of CBEIC. Each time there were two other teachers on the team in addition to Dr. Brown and myself, all graduates of UTK's ESL Master's program.

In order to prepare for the trip, the other teachers and I each constructed one 12 page TULP, one 14 page extension TULP, and a manuscript on either pre, during, or post reading for English language learners. In addition, we each had to plan the two demo lessons that we would teach. During the workshop, the 100 or so teachers were divided into four groups. We taught each lesson four times; once to each group of teachers. You can see some of the pictures from my trips in the slideshow at the right side of the screen----------->

Before going in 2010, I was very nervous. I was only half way through my second year of teaching, but my students were showing great results. I knew that in Asian cultures, it is believed that with age comes wisdom, and so age is highly valued and respected. I wondered how these teachers, some of them very experienced, would feel about a 25 year-old, 2nd year teacher coming to tell them how to do their jobs. Even more terrifying, what if I disappointed or embarrassed my mentor?

However, I was very well received by the teachers. They had lots of questions and they loved my sessions, especially my demonstration lessons. At the end of the two weeks, the teachers evaluated my sessions so highly, that I was asked to return again this past January. We really enjoyed teaching the content that we taught (in 2010 my TULP and demo lessons were on the solar system, this year they were about weather- both are available at my TpT store). 

I learned as much from the Korean teachers as I hope that I taught them. I was inspired by their creativity and their artistry when making new materials for their classrooms. I was also impressed that they each gave up more than half of their winter vacation to be at our workshop- unpaid!! That shows true dedication to one's students, and they should be applauded. 

Some of you may be thinking- that's great, but tell me more about this CBEIC. What is it? CBEIC, as I mentioned before, stands for Content Based English Instruction Curriculum. It is based on the idea that academic content, such as math, science, or social studies, can be used to drive language instruction. This way, students are not only acquiring language, but academic language and content too!

In my regular ESL classroom here in the states, I use CBEIC almost exclusively. If I am doing a novel unit with my students, we're still tying in math and science content, and working hard on our academic language. The thing to remember when using CBEIC in the classroom is that language is the primary focus, and the content is secondary. In my opinion, the ideal ESL program would consist of SIOP trained teachers teaching SIOP lessons in the mainstream classroom, while the ESOL teacher uses CBEIC in the ESOL classroom. SIOP is all about making mainstream content comprehensible and accessible in for ELLs, while CBEIC is about language acquisition. 

Some of the driving principles of CBEIC are:

Text connected to content at appropriate language levels (reading levels) for students

Reading and writing activities are connected and require the use of content language

Visual materials for students to refer to (posters, sentence walls, word walls)

Thematic Unit Lesson Planning

Explicit vocabulary instruction

Frequent modeling repetition, and use of desired content language

Dynamic Priming & Hands-on, meaningful activities
If you'd like to know more about my trip or what we did there, please feel free to leave a comment. 
Now to switch gears for a minute and give you what you want....FREE STUFF!!

1 comment:

  1. I would love to go to them! I am currently in NJ and see that your working in Maryland. Do you have any workshops coming up?