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Entries tagged with: "jinsollee"

Learning about Teaching!

Jul 15, 2011 by Jinsol Lee in Asia


The first half of my internship at Sookmyung Women’s University (SMU) has passed in a whirlwind of exciting new experiences and learning! Even though I had previous experiences of assistant teaching, tutoring, and classes in education, those all differed from the fun challenge of planning and implementing my own curriculum. In my internship, curriculum development involves many hours outside of class planning lessons that include a balance of reading, writing, listening, and speaking in English in a variety of formats and on different topics that match the students’ needs and interests. Some of the highlights in the classroom so far are the debates, quick writes, one-on-one interviews, presentations, readers’ theater, taboo games, and having guest speakers.

I also enjoy explaining a quick fun fact with the students daily as a warm up. For example, one of the students who watches American TV shows during her free time for more English practice asked me what xoxo meant because she heard it frequently on television. I briefly explained it to her, and the next day I shared with the class the history of why the letter x symbolizes a kiss, which originated in the Middle Ages when people were illiterate. Since I sharing that fact with my class, we all use xoxo for fun together during our email exchanges. In addition, the students in my class love learning about topics on different cultures and colleges in the United States, which I eagerly share with them in exchange for lots of information about Korean culture and colleges as well.

Even though I discovered I enjoy lesson planning, I initially encountered some struggles planning an effective curriculum. For example, I had some difficulty approximating the length of a day's lesson, such as concluding the class too fast with time to spare or not having enough time to finish the lesson. Furthermore, I found a few grammar activities that were too easy or too complex for their English level. However, as the weeks passed, I have developed skills in being able to estimate the length of activities more accurately, adapt lessons for various situations, and anticipate the difficulty of the lesson more effectively.

Overall, I believe the internship is helping me confirm I am on the right track toward a future career in education. Equipped with these additional skills and experience, I look forward to the second half of my internship!

Women Like Me

Jun 21, 2011 by Jinsol Lee in Asia


Only three nights ago, my palms were sweating profusely (a combination of nervousness and the humid summer heat) as I re-reviewed my lesson plans for my first day of teaching English at Sookmyung Women's University (SMU). While I glanced over the folders containing the names and applications of the students in the class, I wondered with slight concern, "What will my relationship with them be for the next two months?" 

My uncertainties stemmed primarily from some of the general cultural differences; though I knew of these differences, I was unsure how they would impact my teaching experience. For example, being in Korea for a couple of weeks before the start of my internship reminded me of the prevalent hierarchy based on age that influences almost every aspect of societal norms in this country. Yet, I had no idea how that might impact the dynamics in the classroom, particularly because I knew that many of the students in my class would be older than me.

Additionally, I had planned a variety of components for my lesson, including partner discussions, group introductions, PowerPoint presentations, video clips, quick writes, and more. Knowing that Korean educational practices differ from American classrooms, I worried slightly about how receptive the students would be toward my teaching style and methods.

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Now, as I finish planning for my third lesson at SMU, I'm thankful to report that the experience so far has been incredibly wonderful and enlightening. Even though I have yet to match all the faces with the correct names on the roster, I can confidently answer that my relationship with these women at SMU will be one of mutual learning and camaraderie. 

In regards to my previous concerns, I discovered that the students were eager to learn, not just English, but also the various methods I would use. I learned that my age allowed them to be comfortable in speaking with me about topics that interested them; many have wanted to have lunch or coffee together as well. As a result, they often enjoyed educating me on pop culture and trends in Korea, using their English, so that we were both learning at the same time. Instead of being a hindrance in my relationship with them, the cultural differences became a supporting bridge that let us share our knowledge to help each other. 

Overall, I developed a deep connection with the students at SMU as I realized that these were women like me, eagerly taking this opportunity provided by our all-women institutions to learn more about a new culture, to gain practice in a field of a study, and to nurture skills that will be useful in future endeavors. 

Off to Seoul, South Korea: Jinsol Lee '12

May 22, 2011 by Jinsol Lee in Asia

Hi, my name's Jinsol Lee from the class of 2012! I'm majoring in psychology and education, with a teaching licensure in elementary education, and minoring in statistics. Probably what most people find most interesting about me is when I'm asked to answer the question: Where are you from? Since I don't really know the answer, I begin to explain my dilemma: "Well, I was born in Korea, but then I moved to Scotland at the age of six, then down to England for about two more years. Then, I lived in the Middle East for about three more years before I went to a boarding school in Kenya for junior high and high school. On top of that, I've visited to France, Singapore, Ethiopia, India, Tanzania, Uganda, etc. Now I'm at Mount Holyoke, one of the most wonderfully diverse colleges ever and I can find a way to connect with pretty much everyone from around the globe!"

This summer, I'm truly excited to return to the place I was born to gain teaching experience in a classroom at an all-woman's institution named Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul. As I teach English, I hope to be able to develop knowledge and skills for my path toward a career in the education field. Even though I have never had a whole classroom and curriculum to myself, I'm excited for this amazing opportunity, equipped with a background in educational theories and practices from our wonderful MHC classrooms.