Most common Korean language commands, expressions, and questions for use in EFL ESL classrooms

How can I control Korean students in my classroom? Should I use Korean language classroom expressions? Why won’t my Korean students listen to me when I speak English? Why don’t my students understand me? Help! My classes are out of control and I’m going crazy!

If you are asking any of these questions as a teacher in Korea–this post will help you.

A common issue in teaching EFL/ESL is whether or not to use L1 (first language of students) in the classroom. Some teachers adopt an ‘English only’ policy, and others are more pragmatic and allow strategic use of L1 when necessary. The real world realities of teaching in Korea will sometimes decide for you which approach to use, lol.

Since most native English teachers will likely have to teach alone without a Korean English co-teacher (summer and winter English camps, after school program classes, and sometimes regular classes where you’re ‘supposed’ to have a co-teacher) I thought it’d be useful to write a post about the most common Korean language classroom commands, expressions, and questions.

I am writing them out phonetically in a way that new to Korea native English teachers can easily read and try pronouncing without being able to read or speak any Korean language at all. I realize that there are already Romanized English spellings of these expressions but I am writing them out in a way that I think might be easier to understand, in my own opinion.

Some of the expressions below are self-explanatory so I won’t comment on them. Others, however, may not be clear on how to use them and when and why in Korea. For these I’ll write some suggestions and explanations.

1. Be quiet, please = cho yong ee ay ju say yo Probably one of the most common, if not the number one command, used by English teachers. I would add here that when I say this (and I only say it once) I put my hand up in the air and count down from 5-1. This gives students time to finish whatever they were talking about, and realize that some or many of the other students have stopped talking and are now looking at the teacher.

Continue reading