Tagged: South Korea

“South Korea is an EFL situation”

Since Korea is an EFL situation I cannot use authentic materials. *

Since Korea is an EFL situation I have to use more authentic materials.

Since Korea is an EFL situation I must speak English in class as much as possible because I am the only source of English that students get.

Since Korea is an EFL situation it is imperative that I give grammar explanations in Korean.

Since Korea is an EFL situation I have to focus on mostly grammar.

Since Korea is an EFL situation I should’t focus on grammar.

Since Korea is an EFL situation my students can’t really use English.

That might work in an ESL situation but it wouldn’t work in Korea. Korea is an EFL situation.

I have heard similar statements numerous times from teachers in Korea. When I hear such statements I often can’t help but think that the speaker is showing off their hard-earned TESOL (jargon?) knowledge. I also can’t help but think they are making excuses or justifying the status quo or what they do or want to do.

In my last post we explored terms like ESL, EFL, TESOL, and so on and now I find myself wondering about all the truisms of “EFL” and how true they actually are.  It seems to me sometimes labeling the situation as “EFL” or whatever can sort of circumvent truly thinking about the students and their true  needs and abilities.

With the internet, movies, global travel, and all the Korean students that have experience living abroad as well as a multitude of other factors I am not sure how well all the statements above hold up to scrutiny. While I can agree that Korea meets the criteria usually applied to be an EFL situation I am unsure what that really means in practice, especially when considering the wide range of contexts that ELT professionals in Korea find themselves in.

*Here is the #KELTchat  summary on authentic materials