The Eiken Foundation of Japan sent acting general manager Yosuke Negami to Korea to observe intensive English teacher training in May. New elementary school curriculum meant going to the neighborhood experts. Since 2009, Gangwon International Language Institute (GILI) had specialized in foreign language retraining to overcome dependence on native speakers. New TEE/TESOL pedagogies are taught over four months of immersion at GILI and two overseas. Teacher Jung You Kyoung had one more month in-country before her intensives at the A.C.E. Language Institutes at Montana State University and at Seattle Pacific Univeristy. In Korea, she shared her methods and lessons with Mr. Negami during his fact-finding mission.
In June she was in under the Rocky Mountains in Methodology for English Teachers, English for Professional Collaboration, and the novel “Holes” by Louis Sachar. After a three-state bus trip, she studied near Puget Sound and started her teaching practicum at The Northwest School. “Jung You was fun and helpful,” said youth ESL teacher Kayla Kitamorn of her assistant for two weeks, “and it was neat to learn how schools teach there versus here.” Under Jung You’s supervision, students went racing through the numbers, sitting in a circle and tagged “out” of the game from over-eager answers. “I’m going to bring these activities into my own classroom,” she said. “Students here are free and not afraid to speak up.”
After the bell Mr. Negami approached her to for an update. He had followed GILI’s footsteps to Seattle with ten Eiken trainees seeking A.C.E.’s expertise in teaching the teaching of English. A.C.E. has a strong partnership with parent organization The Society for the Testing of English Proficiency (STEP-Eiken) as North American headquarters. This is the first group of teachers.
The actual overlap between groups was brief. GILI trainees were soon at the closing ceremony, reminiscing about their time and reading letters from the beginning of their stay, written to themselves and full with commitments and excited feelings. Jung You reviewed hers minutes after receiving her A.C.E. Certificate from President David Woodward, Senior Director Sally Thomas, and Director Tim Healy.
GILI trainees said, “I love tutoring and the tutors in Bozeman were awesome.” and “I liked the lectures from SPU. They were professional. Sharon has many teaching experiences and…a lot of useful information on how to have good relationships with my students.”
Eiken teachers spent another two weeks in Seattle with in methodology classes, running competitive English-only scavenger hunts, and folding origami with eager partners at the Boys and Girls Club. The new curriculum, tests, and games perfected through long warm days of summer at A.C.E. Language Institutes will meet willing faces in Japan and Korea as teachers roll out their remodeled English classrooms this fall.