Atlanta native Stephen Campbell has been awarded the Native Speaking English Teacher (NSET) award for 2010 by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) last December.The short profile covers some of his approach and attitude.
Teaching English Conversation has proved to be a bit of a challenge as Campbell has confronted many obstacles, especially student interactions.
“The subject I teach is English Conversation. My classes are 36 to 40 students, which provides a challenge in itself, never mind the fact that students are quite shy about practicing their spoken English. So having a lot of open-ended conversation exercises, the kind of thing you'll find in so many resources, like ‘Discuss three current news events with your partner,’ or ‘With your partner, choose and describe three favorite foods in your country,’ ― that kind of thing is hopeless.
“So I try to use activities that are task-based, where students must use English with each other in order to accomplish some other task. Having groups compete works nicely, sometimes; but I don't give out candy to high school students! I tell them their reward is the respect and admiration of their peers; when that stops being funny, I tell them it's the satisfaction of a job well done. I do sometimes take photos of the winning teams, and post them on my bulletin board. The photo gallery is a popular feature of my classroom.”
. . .
“One week during the year, students come to class only to find it transformed into a crime scene ― there's crime scene tape and body outline in the hallway right outside. In pairs, they are a famous consulting detective and his friend, and they have to solve the crime rather like those choose-your-own-adventure books. After you get information from one station, you have to choose where to go next.”
Nice to see not only the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education recognizing the extraordinary efforts of some of its foreign English teachers, but also an article praising an award-winning one in a newspaper that frequently disparages and underminese them. I refer to the teachers in the plural because, in spite of finding no more details on the ceremony after several searches, a poster on Dave's ESL Cafe writes:
The article was a bit misleading, however, as more than fifty teachers received the exact same award from the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (minimum two teachers per district with twenty-five districts).
It was nice to be acknowledged, but it's not quite as exclusive as I first thought.