#KELTchat Slowburn – ELT Megatrends in Korea (Tuesday, April 15th 10 am-10 pm)

UPDATE: Here is the Storify collection of tweets from this chat. 

David Graddol gave talks at both TESOL and IATEFL this year. Here is the link to the talk at IATEFL (he starts talking at the 8:40 mark in the clip)  and here is the link to his talk at TESOL (he starts at about 12:45 in the clip).  The title of the IATEFL talk was “English and Economic Development: Myth or Reality” and the title from TESOL was “Five Megatrends shaping the future of TESOL.” You are not required to have watched the talks to participate in the chat!

Here are some blog posts on the IATEFL talk:

  1. A handy recap of the IATEFL talk
  2. A thoughtful review of the talk 
  3. David Graddol, ‘Trends Analyst’” which is another nice recap that focuses on some key issues from the talk
  4. This persuasive post by Mura Nava talks quite a bit about Graddol
    (along with mentions of and comparisons with Sugata Mitra’s speech)

Update: David Harbinson’s () excellent new post makes connects Graddols IATEFL talk to his learners in Korea.

And here are some posts on the TESOL talk:

  1. Thoughts from IndiaELT on the talk
  2. A short review from Andy Curtis

In case you are wondering, the megatrends he mentioned were demography, economy, technology and politics. Wait, that is only 4? The fifth, was us, teachers.

Some questions to get us thinking and rolling for the chat:

  • Why do students in Korea learn English?
  • How important is English for Korean people working in Korea?
    What levels are required? What do people need to be able to do in English?
  • What are the economic benefits students can derive from learning English?
  • How can we account for the “English Fever” in Korea?
    Are there signs of the “English Fever” waning or increasing?
    What are they?
  • What is the rate of return for the time and money invested in English education in Korea? How is this similar/different to other countries you are familiar with?
  • What does the increase of “non-native speakers” of English worldwide mean for Korean students?
  • How will demographic changes around the world and in Korea impact the field and our job prospects?
  • How do any of the changes and trends figure to impact teaching and pedagogical choices?
  • What predictions do you have for the ELT industry in general and Korea in specific?
  • Any other related questions you have or that arise in the ongoing discussions.

This chat is a  #KELTchat Slowburn™ which means it is the same idea as an hour chat but it is spread out over 12 hours. Participants can feel free to dip in and out of the ongoing conversation as their schedule and interest allows. We are hoping it will be something of an event, but a slow and steady one throughout the day. You can see what is happening by checking out the #KELTchat hashtag throughout the day.

#KELTChat – 6th April 2014 – Too much fluency?

Hello #KELTChatters,

Your favorite Korean online teacher development group (I’d call us an organization but I think it would be a contradiction in terms) offers you the chance to offer advice on a possible problem for teachers in Korea during our one hour chat on Sunday night at 8pm Korea time. We’d point out that you neither need to be involved for the whole hour, nor be in Korea to participate. Any and all contributions are welcome.

The problem is this*:

My classes are heavily fluency focused, with a lot of free talking, conversational tasks and role playing. We use a textbook, but students claim that they already know most of the language that it aims to teach. Therefore I try to focus on getting them to use the language that they already have. I also feel like this is what my administration expects of me. During activities I try to supply language at the point of need, which students appreciate, but if I try to use this to teach grammar or lexis past individual vocabulary words, then I sense attention starting to wane and boredom setting in. I wonder if there is more to be gained from fluency work than just fluency gains and incidental vocabulary.

* This is an imaginary scenario compiled from my experience and that of teachers that I have spoken to. I have left it deliberately vague in order that it can be adapted to different contexts. Feel free to invent or assume anything about this situation that is not given in the description.

Some questions that we might like to answer:

- What other learning oppportunities do conversation and tasks provide?
- How can we take advantage of these for learning?
- Can we structure tasks and conversations differently in order to provide language learning opportunities without explicitly focusing on language?
- How can we help students to achieve or set language goals within tasks?
- How can we create opportunities for students to use target language within freer speaking?

- Do you think that native speaking English teachers in Korea are expected to have more fluency based classes?
- If so, where does this expectation come from? Does it work against native speaking teachers? How can teachers counter it if they wish to?

If you have any answers to these questions, or any comments in general, we would be delighted to hear them during the chat. If this your first time, you can find a how- to guide on the tab above, or simply ask anyone in the Facebook group. We look forward to seeing you on Sunday night.


Alex (@breathyvowel)

#KELTchat (live and) Unplugged at the Seoul KOTESOL Conference

The #KELTchat team invite you to join us LIVE this Saturday, March 29th, at the Seoul KOTESOL conference. The theme of the conference is “Think Global, Teach Local” – a perfect theme for #KELTchat as we reach out to our global PLN in order to become better teachers in our Korean classrooms. In Saturday’s session we hope to give participants a taste of #KELTchat discussion 140 characters at a time. Keep reading for the abstract and a description of what we plan to do and come join us Saturday morning at 11. Of course if any global PLN people want to share some thoughts on #KELTchat or any of the below topics around 11:00 Korea time such thoughts will be read and appreciated.


In Korea, teachers’ access to professional development is often limited by time and distance. In this session, we will introduce an online group aimed at connecting teachers and conducting discussions about English language teaching related topics, especially those relevant to Korea. This introduction will briefly cover the history of #KELTChat, the online structure and the aims. Following this, a flavour of the online discussions will be given in a breakout session, in which three topics will be discussed in small groups. Participants are free to choose a topic of interest to them, and to move between groups. The three topics offered will be solving a specific teaching problem, considering how a certain theory may apply to Korea, and discussing how to teach a certain skill in the Korean context. Each discussion will be moderated by one of the #KELTChat team. Although this is a demonstration of an online discussion group, it will be conducted almost entirely offline, and thus technological expertise or even technology is not required. The session will conclude with information as to how participants can get involved with online discussions.

  1. Introduction

#KELTChat has now been running for two years as a place for teachers of English in Korea to meet online and talk about teaching. It was created to provide a useful source of information on Twitter, specifically for teachers in Korea, and was originally modelled on the global #eltchat hashtag. Similar to #eltchat we also hold regular “chats” on Twitter about a range of topics. #KELTChat now consists of a Facebook group, a blog and regular Twitter activity including hour long “chats” and all day “Slowburn”™ discussions. The purpose of this conference session is to introduce teachers from all teaching contexts in Korea to #KELTChat, enable them to share their views and hear from others on key issues related to teaching in Korea, and to share information on how to get involved with #KELTChat online if they wish.

  1. Structure of the session

We will begin by briefly introducing ourselves and #KELTChat, including the background, goals and style of discussions. We plan for this to take no more than ten minutes. Following this we will break out into three small group discussions, in which participants will be free to move between groups as they wish. The topics for each discussion are given in the section that follows. These sessions will last for around twenty-five minutes, after which there will be time for summing up, information on how to get involved with #KELTChat and questions. We’d like to emphasize again that no part of the session requires participants to have technological skills or even technology.

Breakout group topics

These topics will be the subjects of three concurrent sessions. Participants are free to choose and move groups as they wish. An outline of what we may discuss is given below in order to help participants to choose their session(s). All sessions will be focused on the Korean context, but experience and insight from other countries is very welcome.

1. Solving Problems – Motivating Unwilling Learners (moderated by Anne Hendler)

The topic of this session will surely be something that participants have encountered at some stage of their career, and something that they may well be encountering at the moment. Participants will be asked to share stories of student demotivation and their solutions, and we will look to build these experiences into some helpful suggestions for identifying, explaining and combating unwillingness to learn.

2. Applying Theory – Macro Strategies (moderated by Michael Griffin)

Kumaravadivelu (1993) proposed ten macrostrategies to guide teacher actions in a post-method world. In this session participants will explore what four of these macrostrategies may mean for teachers in Korea, and how they could be applied in various contexts. This session will require some advance knowledge of the macrostrategies. A handout outlining the four strategies to be discussed is included in this programme, and participants are invited to read it before the session.

3. Teaching Skills – (How) Can we teach pronunciation? (moderated by Alex Grevett)        

Pronunciation is often considered the “Cinderella” of pronunciation teaching, sidelined by a focus on grammar, lexis and communication to the extent that some teachers believe that it is impossible or unnecessary to teach pronunciation. This session explores whether this is really the case, and will ask questions of why students make errors, what should be taught, when pronunciation teaching should start and useful techniques for teaching.

  1. Conclusion

This session will benefit anyone who is craving a more interactive conference experience. Participants will experience the benefit of conceptualizing and sharing their own experiences in order to help others as well as hearing and learning from other teachers’ experiences and ways of understanding. Thus participants should come to the session willing to listen to each other and share their experiences, as the bulk of learning will come from group members rather than moderators. This is the way we tend to work during #KELTchat online discussions, and we hope that this live session will be an enjoyable and helpful experience you will want to repeat online.

#KELTchat Slowburn on Student Confidence and Anxiety (Tuesday, March 25th 10 am-10 pm)

It is time for another #KELTchat. The time for another #KELTchat Slowburn™ is upon us. If you are not familiar with the Slowburn™ concept, it is basically the same as an hour chat but it is spread out over 12 hours. Please feel free to dip in and out of the ongoing conversation as your schedule and interest allows. We are hoping it will be something of an event, but a slow and steady one throughout the day. You can see what is happening by checking out the #KELTchat hashtag throughout the day.

This time the topic was brought to us by the benevolent junta high atop #KELTchat towers. We hope and believe it will be an interesting, useful and and important topic for #KELTchat-ters to discuss.


This page on Learner Anxiety might be a good start for those interested in learning more about the topic. And, this (1986) piece seems to be an oft-cited and important one about foreign language anxiety. 

It is no secret that English can be a source of stress and anxiety for many students here in Korea. What do you think are the sources of this anxiety?

How have you seen this anxiety manifested in class?

How do you think most of your students would score on the FLCAS
(Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale)?

Speaking of tests, any thoughts on their impact on anxiety?

Are there ways to make assessments that cause less anxiety?

What are some teaching practices or techniques you think are more likely to cause anxiety? Are there alternatives to these?

Is it our job as English teachers to combat this anxiety? What are some strategies we can use to do so?


A related topic is the issue of student confidence. What are ways, we as teachers, can help promote student confidence?

Have you had any success stories in helping students improve their confidence?
What activities or advice can you suggest for other EFL teachers?

Of course, please feel free to bring along your own questions and thoughts and the above are just some possible starting points.

If you have any suggested links or readings related to this topic please feel free to share them in the comments (or on Facebook or on Twitter).

We are looking forward to chatting with you! 


Miss the chat? Check out the transcript here

#KELTchat is back! Preview for March 9 chat

Happy New Year, Korea ELT chatters! Hope you all had a nice break and are refreshed and ready to resume #KELTchatting.

This week’s chat will be held on Sunday, March 9th at 8pm.
The topic is “Being a Whole Teacher: Personal Development for Teachers”.

Teacher development is a hot topic in ELT these days, from iTDi’s blog series on “The Whole Teacher” published last week to Josette LeBlanc’s #RedThumbForLove project.

We invite you to join us in exploring these ideas and we are excited to announce that Josette LeBlanc has agreed to appear as our guest expert.

Although there’s a K in #KELTchat, this topic is a global issue and we invite our friends around the world to join this chat.

“To be whole as teachers, we must be whole as people – we must love ourselves, forgive ourselves, and accept ourselves.  I don’t believe this notion of wholeness can be taught but I do believe it can come over time and for each teacher the time it takes will vary.” Chris Mares

“Perhaps the best word to describe the lesson is connection. All the components came together. The class atmosphere was warm and supportive. The more I encouraged my students’ enjoyment and involvement, the more I rejoiced in it.” Kate Cory-Wright

“Teaching can be a lonely profession. Often, we don’t have anyone to turn to who understands the challenges we face. Self-care may be the only strategy we can turn to when the job gets too hard.” Josette LeBlanc

In preparation for the chat, we recommend you read the iTDi blog: http://itdi.pro/blog/2014/02/28/the-whole-teacher/

and Josette’s post: http://throwingbacktokens.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/teacher-self-compassion-redthumbforlove-compassion-training-3-2/

Josette would also like to recommend this article: Seeing Student Learning: Teacher Change and the Role of Reflection

We would like to have room for the chat to follow any direction of interest to participants, but here are some questions we think might come up:

- What does it mean to be a “whole teacher”?

- Do we need to try to develop personally as teachers, as well as professionally. If we do, what is the relative importance of personal development compared to professional development?

- According to Chris Mares, being a whole teacher is about being oneself, mindfully and with presence. How can this be done?

- According to Kate Cory-Wright, being a whole teacher means connection with the students. How can this be facilitated?

- According to Hengameh Ghandehari, being a whole teacher means being effective for each group of students. How do we meet these students’ needs?

- And finally, what strategies do we use when in spite of everything, things don’t work out the way we hoped they would? What are ways to offer ourselves the compassion we can get no where else?

If you’d like to join us, but you’re not sure how, check out the how to tab at the top of the page. If you’re still not sure, send me a tweet (@annehendler) or stop by the Facebook page and we’ll be happy to help you.

#KELTchat Slowburn 3 (Tuesday, December 17th 10am-10pm (GMT +9)

The topic for the next #KELTchat Slowburn is:
Some Macro Strategies for Language Teachers
[**info on the Slowburn concept is below]

The 10 macrostrategies suggested by Kumaravadivelu are:  

1. Maximize learning opportunities;
2. facilitate negotiated interaction;
3. minimize perceptual mismatches;
4. activate intuitive heuristics;
5. foster language awareness;
6. contextualize linguistic input;
7. integrate language skills;
8. promote learner autonomy;
9. ensure social relevance; and
10. raise cultural consciousness.
(The suggested topics for this chat are in bold and are explained below)

  • Maximize learning opportunities: This macrostrategy envisages teaching as a process of creating and utilizing learning opportunities, a process in which teachers strike a balance between their role as managers of teaching acts and their role as mediators of learning acts.
  • Foster language awareness: This macrostrategy refers to any attempt to draw learners’ attention to the formal and functional properties of their L2 in order to increase the degree of explicitness required to promote L2 learning.
  • Promote learner autonomy: This macrostrategy involves helping learners learn how to learn, equipping them with the means to self-direct and self-monitor their learning.
  • Ensure social relevance:   This macrostrategy refers to the need for teachers to be sensitive to the societal, political, economic, and educational environment in which L2 learning and teaching take place

A good place to look if you are interested in reading more is Chapter 2 (“Understanding Post-Method Pedagogy”) on this .pdf (which is the first chapters of “Beyond Methods: Macrostrategies for Language Teaching.” Additionally, this 1994 article from TESOL Quarterly also covers much of the same ground. 

Questions to consider:
(and possibly then chat about):

  1. Are these strategies relevant to your teaching context? When might the strategies not be a good match for teaching contexts in Korea? When might they be a good match?
  2. Do these strategies match with the your role as a teacher is perceived by students, yourself, admin and other stakeholders?
  3. Do these strategies already inform your day-to-day teaching? How?
  4. What advice might you give to a teacher that wants to employ these strategies? How might they get started?

The Slowburn concept

The concept of Slowburn is very similar to the original #KELTChat one hour Twitter chats. We will set a topic (above) and encourage people to tweet their thoughts about it using the #KELTChat hashtag. This time, however, the chat will take place over 12 hours rather than one, allowing people to dip in and out, think and the discussion to diverge in more interesting ways. We also hope that this will allow more people in Korea to play a part, as well as taking in most other time zones.

If this sounds like your kind of thing, but you’re not really sure how to go about it, click the “about and how” tab above for a link to a handy guide. There is also a quick guide here. Friendly advice is also always available at the #KELTChat Facebook group, or in the comments section below.

We hope you’ll enjoy the next #KELTChat slowburn. See you on Tuesday before #KELTchat hibernates for winter.


#KELTChat 8th December 2013, 8pm.

Hi team!

Some important #KELTChat related dates for you all. As usual, #KELTChat will be retiring to a Balinese beach to get sunburn and sip pina coladas for the winter.  Thus, this Sunday, the 8th of December, will be our final one hour chat of 2013. Following that, we’ll have a final Slowburn on the 17th December, before we pack our little suitcases and see you all again in early March.

This week we’re trying out a “case study” style topic in a one hour chat. The situation is this:

You are teaching a general English class of twenty university freshmen three times a week. The class is generally conversational and fluency focused, and students are showing good gains in those areas, but you want to try to improve the students’ accuracy too, especially in lexical areas that may cause problems with intelligibility. However, the students, while happy to talk, find focusing on accuracy extremely difficult. Even in controlled practice situations they sometimes seem not to even try to take on board new language. Where gains in accuracy are made, they are often lost again a matter of days or weeks later. The situation is further complicated by the size of the class and students speaking quietly making monitoring difficult.

Some questions:

  • Is this a problem with accuracy, or a problem with motivation to learn?
  • How could we solve either of these problems?
  • How can we help students to retain language for longer?
  • How can we monitor and feedback to a large(ish) class?

The chat takes place on Twitter from 8pm on Sunday 8th December. Just run a search for #keltchat, and add the same hashtag to your own tweets in order to contribute. If you need any help, please send me a tweet or ask on the Facebook group.

See you on Twitter!

Alex G (@breathyvowel)