Highlighted • Room 101 • 10:00
Talk / Teaching EFL through Korean Culture
Cross-cultural / intercultural communication • Young learners
Background knowledge of a given topic is one of the most important factors for young (and sometimes older) learners. In order to decode a given text, the reader must apply a combination of bottom-up and top-down processes such as word identification and phonetics but also they must bring their own background knowledge and ideas of the world to the text. Yet often in EFL education in Korea students are presented with culturally American centric texts to study. Meaning that not only do they have to decode the text they must also, simultaneously, comprehend an entire history and culture that is alien to them. The act of reading (and learning) cannot happen independently of the world in which the reader exists. I suggest that more effort needs to be put into developing and utilising texts, story books, and other material that focus on local (Korean) culture and history but in English. Removing this unnecessary and possibly imperialistic barrier to learning English as a foreign language.
Ali Safavi has been teaching English as a foreign language in South Korea since 2011. He has taught at both public and private education institutions in that time, primarily teaching elementary aged students from grades 3 to 6. Ali graduated from the University of Derby, England with a 2:1 in Broadcast Media in 2009. After he decided to focus on language education he obtained a CELTA certificate from the Manchester Academy in 2012 and a Master’s in Education with a concentration in TESL from Framingham State University in Massachusetts, America and Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea. He currently works at the Lingua Language Institute in Busan, South Korea teaching debate classes and reading.