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Cross-Cultural Issues

Some on the Teaching

One day I swore I heard a kid say the f-word, and I immediately yell at him "WHAT DID YOU SAY!?!?!" and he just looks at me confused, everyone's quiet and confused, and he's just looking around like "what? what did i say? what?"
The previous teacher would play Uno with the kids but with extra rules to allow a player to play a long stream of cards in a single turn. I was first like "No! You can't do that! One card only!" But I soon realized that she added those rules to get the games to play quickly in a few minutes. I've compromised and allow the kids to do a single stream but don't let them change streams in one turn. The kids at first are like "Noo..." but they soon just go along with my rules. Well, most of them get used to playing by my rules. Some, though, never get used to it.
I taught one of my classes "yadda yadda yadda"... That was fun :) "He went to visit the city, yadda yadda yadda, he ended up in jail." They probably didn't fully understand, but they thought it was silly/funny.
I realised yesterday, we Americans take "silly" to mean playful, childish and use it in a fun, flirty, playful way with someone we like, but the Oxford dictionary has a harsher definition to mean "foolish, unintelligent", something along those lines. So I wondered if the Korean 바보 ("babo", idiot) is like that, the formal definition is bad, but maybe the kids use it amongst their friends in a more playful sense... At least I hope so as some girls may use on me...
I was playing a game in one class this evening and a crowd of students was gathering outside looking it to see what the excitement was. Well, one kid in the class decided to give the middle finger to those outside... So yeah, I had to get him to stand with his hands on his head, but only until his turn came.
It's interesting (at least to me), timetables in Korea will often go from 9:00 to 25:00... And I'm just like "uh... what's wrong with the international standard 1:00?"
I have observed that Koreans do hit each other, primarily amongst friends, mainly like a hard smack on the back, sometimes even between girls. Whenever my students do it in my class or my view, I yell "Don't Hit!"
Whether the Koreans realise it or not, all these foreigners who've come to teach English also come to teach our cultural values and customs. Korean children may be dismissive of much of it and act like we're here just to entertain them, but we are altering the Korean culture. It's unavoidable when you open your society to the global community.
<< 20 Jun 2009
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25 Jun 2009