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  • timothyhampson 8:44 am on December 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    The three most fun things I did in class this year. Part one: Betty Botter 

    It’s Christmas season and it’s the sort of time for having lots of activities in class and doing some things just for fun. Given that it’s my last week at my job, I’ve been going through the folder where I keep my old lesson plans and handouts. I found the three activities that were most fun.

    The first one is based on a tongue twister that my mum taught me. I’m actually not that good at this one but my mum is pretty masterful when she does it. The important thing with this kind of lesson is to keep it fun. Lots of students are really worried about their pronunciation and it’s important to not damage their confidence. Explaining how it’s really hard for even foreigners to say some things is helpful. I also made a point of performing this and messed up a few times while doing it. My classes got quite good at doing it and so I think if anything it boosted their confidence because they could show off how they could do something hard.

    How to use it

    1. Download and print the handout

    pdf: Betty Botter

    docx: Betty Botter

    2. Go though the tongue twister line by line with the translation. It’s much easier to say something when you know what it means. For a class who could handle it, getting them to rephrase the poem in other words would be better, but the focus should be on the pronunciation more than anything else.

    3. Drill the poem line by line chorally with the class.

    4. Give them some time (as long as it takes, mine took about ten minutes) to work on their pronunciation in pairs.

    5. At the end we had a mini competition (I hyped up the special prize all class and then pulled out a pack of M&M’s which they thought was a good gag). Taking part was optional but almost all of the students did.

    Hope you have fun with this one. If you use it let me know how it goes in the comments.

  • timothyhampson 9:31 am on December 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Korea Moves 

    This Tuesday was my one year anniversary of moving to Korea. It’s been a fascinating year and one that’s changed me more than most of the other years I’ve had. With the end of the year comes the end of my contract. I’ve decided to make a move both geographically and with age groups. I’m going to be working in a Kindergarden in Guri City at the beginning of next year.

    It’s shocked me how excited I am for it. When I first came to Korea I had my mind set on getting some experience under my belt and then finding a university job. Recently I’ve come to realise that my favourite classes at my school are the younger ones. It’s really nice not having to teach to test and the teaching style is much more activity based. It’s going to be interesting to learn a new set of skills that I can (blog about and) apply wherever I teach in the future. When I went for my interview I saw a ukelele lesson being taught in English, so expect new and interesting things coming up soon.

    At the same time I’m quite sad to be leaving my current job, I’ve built up some really good relationships with students and I’m going to have a tough time saying bye to them next week. The other thing that’s made me sad is some ‘oh you’re taking a step down’ remarks. There is a perception that kindergarten is at the bottom of the totem pole for Korean EFL jobs (which is bullshit). It makes me really sad that I actually put off thinking that I’d like to work in a kindergarten for a while because of peoples perceptions of it. All I can really say about that is I’m going to work really hard to be good at it, I’m going to gain a new skill set, and that I’m going to have a lot of fun. I’m not sure that anything else really matters.

    • ketaninkorea 11:38 am on December 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Congrats on your one-year abroad! It’s crazy how the time flies. I start year six now, and sometimes it doesn’t feel that long. Other times it feels longer. Well I hope you have an enjoyable second year here in Korea. Cheers!


  • timothyhampson 2:01 am on December 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    English Expo 2014: Questioning Towards Learner Autonomy 

    Today I presented at English Expo on the theme of questions. Here you can find the slides and the question card sheet from that presentation here.

    If you want to continue the conversation on twitter see the #KOTESOL hashtag on twitter, I’ll be posting some questions up there from my account.

    Question cards

    Questioning presentation

  • timothyhampson 12:14 pm on December 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Pronounciation,   

    Teaching pronunciation 

    Dan Evans’ talk at KOTESOL was one of my favourites and it got me thinking about spending more time on pronunciation rather than hoping that my students would pick it up. I wanted to write a little bit about what I’ve found useful and make a few observations about pronunciation in Korea.


    The stereotype of Seoul/Gyeonngi accents in Korean is that there is much less intonation than other areas of the country. I teach in Gyeonngi and so I’ve spent a little time on this. I’ve been working a lot with encouraging question asking recently and so building ten minutes of intonation into these classes is really useful. The students seemed to find it really interesting to look at sentences that have a different meaning with different intonations. For example with ‘can you buy some food?’ you can tell how close the speakers are by looking at the intonation. If they’re close, it’s likely to go down at the end because it’s not really a question, close friends might buy food for each other all the time like this. If they’re not that close, it’s likely to go up because there’s a genuine question.

    I’ve found it a bit more difficult to get intonation to ‘stick’ when it comes to rise-fall or fall-rise intonation. This doesn’t seem to happen as much when people speak Korean. A lot of the students seem to think it sounds really funny when they speak that way.

    Stress and tone groups

    I taught an extra class that was preparing pupils for public speaking. The idea was that they’d do some creative writing and then practice presenting it. By the end they actually got really good at using stress and tone groups when they read. I usually annotated for these and got them to practice these features and then peer correct each other. You can see what one of these looks like below (sadly it’s an early draft). Annotating like this was actually much harder than I’d thought it would be. Hopefully with practice I can get better at it.



    Syllables are possibly one of the biggest problems for Koreans pronouncing English words. In Korean a syllable can’t have more than three sounds and can only have one sound before and one sound after the vowel (I.e. the most complicated Korean syllable goes consonant-vowel-constonant).  There’s also a problem in that in Korean a ㅅ (‘s’-sound) at the end of a syllable becomes a ‘t’ sound. In English syllables can be really weird (hello ‘schmaltzed’) and so problems arise.

    A variation on snap where students have to shout snap when the two cards have the same number of syllables works really well with this. The students got really competitive and really enjoyed it. It works well as a ten minute activity if you have spare time. There’s a set of cards below to download/print/modify/use as you wish.

    Syllable Snap cards

    • livinglearning 1:49 pm on December 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for this! It’s going to be really useful. I have been trying to make up a unit on story telling (as the performance art, rather than just the creative writing) for my high school class and I want to spend a lot of time on pronunciation with them to support the two or three who still are uncomfortable speaking up. I’d love to pick your brain sometime later, if you’re willing.


      • timothyhampson 10:37 am on December 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I’m not sure how picking worthy my brain is but you’re welcome to try. Feel free to give me an email at t@tjhampson.com whenever you have questions and I’ll get right back to you.


  • timothyhampson 10:34 am on December 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply

    Honey Butter Chips 


    This is apparently a really big deal at the moment. I adapted this sheet from this article of great import in the WSJ. I’m hoping to use it as a lead in to a discussion about fads which might be an interesting topic. Feel free to print it out and use it in class.

    Honey Butter chips

  • timothyhampson 10:30 am on December 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    English Expo 2014 Preview 

    I’m really sure that I read somewhere that starting a blog post with a bunch of excuses about why you haven’t blogged in ages is really boring. That said I’m sorry for not blogging in ages, this time it is sort of interesting why (to me at least).

    Next Saturday (the 13th) KOTESOL are having a conference at the English Expo in COEX. I’m going to be giving my very first conference workshop there. The theme of the conference is all about questions. It’s a really good topic and I was very interested to see all of the different directions the presenters have taken on it.

    Just before my talk, Mike Griffin will be looking at Scott Thornbury’s ‘Big Questions in ELT’. Mike is one of my favourite ELT bloggers and it seems he’s gathered an Avengersesque team of other ELT superbloggers to help him out. I’m really excited for it.

    I’m going to be looking at how to encourage autonomous questioning. It’s been quite difficult to do. I had a plan but I’ve rewritten it; A talk on autonomous questioning probably ought to have lots of chances for people to ask lots of autonomous questions in it. I’ve tried to work in lots of opportunities for that to happen and will try and organise a twitter chat for afterwards so people can continue to ask and answer questions.

    This is a preview so I’ve attached one of the resources from the workshop below. It’s a set of question frame cards that can be used for conversations in the classroom. There are a few different ways to use them but I’ll leave it to you to, if you’re interested and you have some free class time, see what you can do with them.

    Question cards

    • mikecorea 8:30 am on December 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I am looking forward to your presentation, Tim.
      Thanks for the kind words! It should be a fun day.

      Best of luck and I am sure you will not need it. 🙂


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