Tuesday, December 22, 2009

SMOE Workshop Covers Same Old Ground

sign of how signs wold go for me today
So, someone thought this sign would be helpful ...

Firstly, Korea University's campus, on the northeast side of Seoul (a short walk from 안암 AnAm station on Line 6, exit 2), is very much like the US land grant colleges I've seen--open plazas, a mix of Gothic-style and contemporary architecture, appropriate statuary ...

The only thing missing was the continuous stream of cars prowling the roads looking for an open parking space.

There was considerable confusion surrounding our meeting places--well, let me back up; there was considerable confusion surrounding the whole workshop. My school was notified late Thursday, and I found out Friday AM. Again, the conference was Monday and today. I asked Miss Lee where and when, and she said, "They will tell us later."

I gave her that certain look. She thought for a moment. "Oh, yah, that is problem; today is Friday. You must be there on Monday. I will call to find out."

Well, it eventually got sorted out, in the broadest possible sense of the term, and I joined 200 other SMOE high school teachers for a two-day seminar junket (Andy's post from yesterday is titled "Seminars are Stupid".) Once again, the topic was Co-teaching. This is at least the third workshop I've been to with this topic--at only one of which were the co-teachers included. Enough is enough!

So much so, that when we had a breakout session on Tuesday morning--today--with good ol' Max as our Fearless Leader (you will remember him as my roomie back at Yong-In in aught-eight) (photo below, fearlessly leadering), I told my group I didn't want to talk about co-teaching no more! Let's just share ideas that have worked in our classrooms and gotten the students speaking English. So we did.

I was able to get three ideas that I will try to use next year (two general lesson ideas, one management technique) so it was, in relative terms, a successful seminar for me.
(UPDATE: Here is my report on one lesson I have used in the classroom: Playing ESL Clue.)

This afternoon was different. In a good way! First of all, after a totally unnecessary "Closing Ceremony", everyone received a 4 GB USB drive. Nice!

Secondly, we were treated to a very delicious lunch buffet at a place called Panorama in Jongro-ga--alas, I was near the end of a single-serve line of about 200 people.

But the food was plentiful and well-prepared, though the pork ribs were badly cut, so that each one had hidden lumps of cartilage. A good mix of Korean and Western foods--but it's no Sky Onn Food ...

Thirdly, our main afternoon activity was a trip (well, a short walk from the restaurant) to see the long-running theatrical production, Jump, described in the brochure as an "extravaganza of feet fists and fun". The stairwells down to the performance space were decorated with numerous murals:

They have two performances a day, and our four o'clock included SMOE, a Filipino tour group, and some Korean high school students. I sat in the front row, which was part of the SMOE block. The center seat in the front row.

Signage outside indicated that *flash* photography was forbidden, so I was going to give you, the Teeming Dozens, a real close-up of what is an acclaimed show. It was all going fine for the first 20 minutes, until some staffer crept over and told me photos were forbidden. I wanted to hammer him--there is a universal sign for No photos: a camera with a slash through it. There is also a universal sign for No flash photos: a camera with a flash going off with a slash through it. They clearly had (I double-checked on the way out) the No flash photos sign. My morals are such that I cannot continue shooting after this, even though I know there are chunks of video on YouTube.

I did manage to get a few decent photos beforehand, which are unrepentantly reproduced below. I can recommend the show--well, certainly if it's free, but paying W35,000 for 1 1/2 hours seems a bit steep--since it is very entertaining, easy to follow (practically the only words spoken are Okay, Yes and No), fast-moving and almost error-free in execution. Jump is not Great Art: it's a "comic martial arts performance" with a tenuous but reasonable storyline to showcase acrobatics, physical prowess and well-timed fighting moves that should be pleasing to an audience.

Factoid: the most commonly-understood word throughout the world is Okay.

Factoid: -oid is is a suffix which means "resembling, like, a poor imitation".

So, is a factoid true or just sort of true? Let me know what you think at the "Comments" link below. Okay?


Jason said...


I'm curious what you thought about Monday's sessions...


Foreigner Joy said...

Thanks for the coverage. I wonder what goes through the minds of those who put these things together. Sigh~

Olive said...

I think that since "okay" is not completely known by everyone, then factoid is correct in being only partially true.