Friday, February 11, 2011

The 10 Worst Dialogues of the Public Elementary School English Curriculum

If you have ever taught the elementary level in a public school in South Korea, then you are probably familiar with the textbook characters Jinho, Nami, Mrs. Smith, Peter, Joon, and Ann.  Millions of South Korean children over the last decade have been learning English from this text book series and it is finally being changed this year to an updated version designed for three hours of English instruction a week instead of two hours a week.

The expressions, vocab, and 98% of all the grammar is acceptable.  The problem with these books was the production value and quality of the videos.  There were also some awkward cultural moments and just bizarre choices made for settings and situations.  The accompanying CD-ROM for the books looked like it was best designed to run on Windows 98, and here it is still being used in 2011.  It is not even worth mentioning the role plays, chants, or suggested games and activities, which were all mostly unusable.  The main dialogues were pretty good and had nice animation (see here and here), but all the live action scenes were worthless.

South Korea prides itself on how much of a priority they have on investment in education.  The teachers here are excellent, classrooms have no shortages of supplies, lots of useful technology available, new English classrooms and language learning facilities, etc.  The problem was that everything revolved around these horrible textbooks.  These books really should have been scrapped for something better the second after they were printed.

The videos below are the worst 10 dialogues (Look and Listen 2) of the 5th and 6th grade curriculums.  If you want to see the worst 10 songs/chants/role plays/ and story time activities then (click here).

#10 - Grade 6, Lesson 7, Movie 1 - "Your mom is a cook at Popeyes Fried Chicken?"

#9 Grade 5, Lesson 7, Movie 2 - "He has a long hair... and is an animated character."

#8 - Grade 6, Lesson 12, Movie 1 - "Uh-oh, dad just got possessed again."

#7 - Grade 6, Lesson 9, Movie 2 - "Whut dead cho doo dhear?"

#6 - Grade 5, Lesson 9, Movie 2 - "Joon, quit stuffing my socks in your trunks to make it look bigger."

#5 - Grade 6, Lesson 3, Movie 2 - "Peter likes Spring because helium canisters are 20% off at Home Plus."

#4 - Grade 6, Lesson 16, Movie 2 - "I can totally tell that you love me so much."

#3 - Grade 6, Lesson 4, Movie 2 - "YOU can't play the violin, and YOU just can't act."

#2 - Grade 6, Lesson 14, Movie 2 - "Don't take off your shoes, we wear our shoes in the shower and in bed."

#1 - Grade 5, Lesson 11, Movie 1 - "Oh yeah, gurl... that's right, keep polishing dady's shoes."


aprilantipodal said...

#7 and #1 are two that make me cringe every time.
My students kill themselves laughing at ch 16, Look and Speak B, because the lighting is so bad that Anne looks like a ghost. Also, she apparently spent all winter vacation in her house listening to music. Nami just purses her lips and nods as if to say, I wish I didn't have to be friends with this chick but she's the only other girl in this school, fml.

JustUsLosers said...

Oh my goodness, this is SO indicative of what we have to work with that I had to laugh at watching one video after another.. I shudder when I think that these are the videos that I have to use to teach my students!

#3 with Kevin clapping like a mentally challenged child in front of Anne's face gets to me EVERY time. And even my students laughed uproariously at #4. But seriously, "He has A long hair, and "What did CHEW do DARE"? Sigh. And the fact that all of their lips NEVER match up with their words does not help my kids with pronunciation. What were the thinking? ...WERE they thinking???

Ky Nam said...

It's a Japanese conspiracy.
Honestly, the videos are not so bad. I've seen much worst in my french secondaire... The kids are pretty good actors too, considering the lines they had...

bingbing said...

What about that grade 5 lesson, and Nami's dad leans back in a power pose, folds his arms, and deeply intones, "Now it's time to do the dishes."

And Kevin's face is a cracker almost every time you pause the video.

shotgunkorea said...

Oh God. I can't stop laughing about the long hair.

At least my school only uses a CD-- but it's so nasal and monotone it's not worth listening to either.

havediplomawilltravel said...

I lost it on #5 when the kids started talking. I also laughed at #10's "freckled" kid and #3 painfully awkward silence at the end.
A+++ would watch again

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