Saturday, January 6, 2018

Four Skype Sessions with a Korean High School

From this Tuesday to Friday, we had 4 consecutive Skype sessions with Yooree and her lovely students from Yeouido Middle School of Seoul, Korea. We started off with both teachers introducing some fun facts about Taiwan and Korea to the students, complete with self-introduction and K POP exchange between students from both sides. There were laughter, interaction, singing, and of course, motivation to keep on creating more opportunities for my students to experience the joy and magic of using English.

Four Skype Sessions
1. Me with Korean Students
I had really a good time with these Korean students because the whole session was fun and interactive as well. During the True or False activity, it was amusing to see how they react when they knew how old I really am, how I met my wife online, and I never studied abroad. 
2. Yooree with my Students
She kindly prepared PPT slides and introduced a bit of her school and some famous tourist spots in Seoul. I checked my students' listening comprehension from time to time by asking them questions about what she just said. Also, they asked some interesting questions, such as "Do you hate North Korea?"
3. Student-to-Student: Self-introduction
The foremost topic for any first Skype session is always self-introduction. Students get to talk about their hometowns, hobbies, school life, and of course, their favorite pop stars. With previous sessions on this topic, some of them are getting the hang of it and are able to speak naturally without reading their scripts.  
4. Student-to-Student: K-POP
I specifically asked for this topic from my counterpart because some of the girls in my class have been really into EXO, BTS, TWICE, and so on. It would be a memorable memory for them to exchange their favorite idols with these Korean students in English. With the final exam around the corner, they didn't fully prepare for it, but still they enjoyed it a lot.

The Highlights
Not only did we solve the audio and breaking-up issues, but we really created this opportunity for the students to have fun USING English and getting to experience what it's like to make friends outside of Taiwan.
1. Singing Together with My Students
When one of the Korean students asked about our favorite Taiwanese idol group, my students chose the MAYDAY. After a brief introduction, I shared a famous and touching music video, CHEERS, and sang along with it with my students.
2. The Immediate Crush
Some of the boys in my class kept talking and pointing at the Korean girls during the self-introduction session. The fuss also caught Yooree's attention, so I asked them to identify who exactly they were so attracted to. Of course, everybody's spirit was running really high then after the girl in the second row stood up and the other one in the front sang an English song beautifully.
3. The Interaction
A successful Skype exchange session is not complete without interactive experiences between the participants. With the True or False activity, Q & A sessions, and some facts about each other, students from both schools enjoyed these sessions a lot.

Of course, their communication and presentation skills still have a lot to be desired. Some of them were just so shy that they couldn't even raise their voice nor have eye contact in front of the webcam. However, I absolutely considered it worth the time and effort because a student with low English level came to me and said, "Being able to speak English is really important", not to mention all the positive feedback I got from their little diary.  

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