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How to teach English to Korean students

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Understanding how to teach English to Korean students is essential for success when you are a teacher of ESL or ELL students of Korean background. Whether you choose to teach abroad in South Korea or just happen to receive native Korean speaking children in your English speaking classroom, their success depends largely on you.

Basic Communications. If your Korean speaking students speak little or no English, you’ll need to find a way to teach basic classroom procedures and instructions. Likewise, it is essential for you to help the students express their wants and needs to you. If the students are upper elementary level or higher and read Korean fluently, using Korean - English sentence sheets are one of the most effective ways to get started. For example, a bilingual, Korean - English handout with sentences such as I need to use the bathroom ( 나는 화장실을 사용해야합니다) or I need help (도움이 필요합니다) will be beneficial to both you and your Korean speaking ELL – ESL students. For younger students, you'll need to use picture representations for basic communication.

Build a Connection. One of the best ways to build a connection with ELL Korean students is to make the students feel welcome. Create a multicultural learning environment that includes books and posters that represent South Korea. It is also important to learn to pronounce the students' names correctly. You'd be amazed by the number of teachers who assign nicknames to ESL students because they are too lazy to learn how to pronounce the students’ names. If you want to effectively teach English to Korean students at least show enough respect to learn their names.

Use Flash Cards. Picture flash cards and bilingual flash cards are effective tools to teach basic English vocabulary. Picture flash cards are readily available at department stores, toy stores and dollar stores at a cost of just a few dollars or less. Bilingual flash cards may be more difficult to find, but it's easy to make your own using Korean - English word lists. In addition to using flash cards, ESL students of Korean background will benefit from classroom labels. Put labels on all classroom objects including the door and window. If possible, label the objects in both English and Korean.

Korean - English Dictionary. Make sure you include bilingual, Korean - English dictionaries in your classroom that are written in real Korean script or Hangul, not romanized. These are essential if you are teaching students that already read in Korean. Likewise, give them access to bilingual online dictionaries to further enhance and support the learning process. Finally, consider creating a bilingual word wall which is another practical way to help build vocabulary.

Teaching ESL Korean children can be both challenging and rewarding. Go ahead and give it a try.

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