So, what are school visits?
School visits are a program in which a native English teacher attends a Korean school for a period of two weeks in order to instruct students, provide workshops for teachers, and possibly more. The aims of the program are as follows:
- To provide students an opportunity to learn English from a native speaking English teacher
- To enhance students’ cultural understanding of English speaking countries
- To create an environment where Korean teacher(s) and GIFLE instructor collaboratively develop creative and effective lessons for students (either online or in-person)
- To generate interest for professional development opportunities through the teacher workshops
Okay, that sounds great! When are they?
Our 2022 School Visit Program has eight rounds, which will last from April to November.
Who’s in charge of this thing? Am I eligible to register my school? How can I sign up?
Any teacher at an elementary, middle, or high school in Gyeonggi Province can register via GIFLE’s Korean website (click here.)
This information is all useful, but it’s drier than a whole box of Saltine crackers. Could you give us some juicier details, please?
Sure! Here’s a write-up from me, Autumn, (I’m an instructor at GIFLE) about my experience working with school visits.
“When I first began doing school visits, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I knew that I’d be working for two weeks at an elementary school, but beyond that, the details seemed fuzzy at first. I didn’t know what the school expected of me, nor what I could best offer them. All I knew was that I’d be teaching fifth and sixth grade elementary school.
“I met with my Korean co-teacher via Zoom for an online consultation, to see what she was interested in. We both decided we liked the idea of content-based learning, and we decided that we could incorporate what students were learning in their Social Studies class to the English room. As students were completely on Zoom due to COVID, we agreed that it might pique the students’ interest to complete a project about their topics, rather than just engage with another PowerPoint or lecture.
“The fifth-grade class was learning about Korea – its culture, history, geography, politics, and more. I came up with the idea that students, in small groups of four, could collaborate to make an English book (using an online tool called Book Creator) introducing Korea to foreigners. I knew that students probably wouldn’t be able to write full pages on their own, so I created a scaffolded book where students could fill in pictures, words, and more, using what they knew to make the book their own.
“The sixth-grade class was learning about government and politics – types of government, voting, rights, citizenship, and more. At first, this seemed like a dry topic, but after doing some research online I came across an idea for a project in which students could create their own country. They’d have to come up with a name, capital city, form of government, and more – it seemed like the perfect blend of content and project-based learning. After brainstorming with my fellow GIFLE instructors, I decided to use Padlet as an online tool for students to build and show off their countries.
“I had two, eighty minute block classes with each grade to complete the projects. I asked my co-teacher to pre-teach vocabulary to the classes before school visits, so that everything would work out smoothly. After doing a brief review PowerPoint over the topics (which was doubly easy, as students were already familiar with the content from their social studies class), I taught the students how to use the online tools that they’d need to complete their project. My Korean co-teacher provided Korean language support as well as classroom management. Honestly, she was super great, and I really enjoyed working with her!
“The students loved completing their projects, and I could tell that they were proud to show off not only their English skills, but to use what they’d already learned in Social Studies. Students also liked the chance to be creative in the classroom, and show off their individuality. I think projects are a great teaching tool for students of all ages, and even on Zoom, with the right tools they can work out perfectly.
“I still have four more rounds of school visits to prepare for, and I can only hope that they go as smoothly as this first one. I know I learned a lot from doing this visit, and I think my co-teacher learned a lot about online tools she can use in the future, project-based learning, and how to incorporate other classes into her classroom. Overall, I think school visits are beneficial to everyone involved – and they’re pretty fun, too.”