One Step Closer to English
One Step Closer to English
  • 변은비 기자
  • 승인 2018.06.11 09:00
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Professor Lee Young-eun

-A brief self- introduction

I've been teaching a wide range of English courses from English Reading, Media English, TOEIC and ESL job interview classes at Seowon University since Fall 2013. Prior to joining Seowon University, I was a television news anchor and a politics reporter in the U.S.

Q. We understand that you were a reporter before? Can you share why you changed your career?

A. I really enjoyed reporting, telling stories and sharing my knowledge with others. I witnessed a lot of social inequality around me in terms of gender, wealth and race. Henceforth, I always wanted a career where I could have a purpose. I feel that is essentially what I am doing every day. I am teaching English for the most part but at the same time, I am inspiring and guiding my students to be better human beings and contribute to the society in which we live in.

Q. How can students become more English friendly?

A. It is hard to generalize but often my students are too afraid of making mistakes. Many students think they have to be really good at the language before they utter any words. Students often trap themselves in their shell because they do not speak fluent English. However, students need not to apologize or feel shy about their competency level.

There is no one magical secret to becoming fluent in English. You've just got to start somewhere. Start speaking, start practicing and start today. As the saying goes, “If you are not making mistakes, you are not trying hard enough.” Start small. Consistency is important. Memorize 2-5 words daily if you don’t have time. As small as it sounds, that is really how you get started.

Q. Could you please recommend your courses?

A. For beginners, I would recommend my reading 1 class where I employ diverse methods to read texts. Although there is one guiding book in the class, I employ news articles, movies, pop songs and a wide range of informative texts to expand the vocabulary horizon, so that my students could become avid readers.

For students who have taken the Reading 1 class, I strongly recommend the Reading 2 class where I primarily use movies to teach English. We analyze movie scripts, learn idioms, vocabulary and interpret the movies. This is a very effective class where students really enjoy the learning process while building a strong foundational base.

For intermediate students, I highly recommend my Practical English 1 class. Students spend the semester preparing the answers to the top 10 most frequently asked questions on an English job interview. Employing a peer learning strategy, students work in groups to devise their respective answers. They really enjoy the learning process as they feel it is directly related to the real world and the practical element of the course content.

Q. A lot of students are having difficulty improving their TOEIC scores. Could you recommend some strategies?

A. I would like to suggest a 5 step approach. First and foremost, memorize vocabulary pertinent to TOEIC. Select one vocabulary book and memorize it perfectly by reviewing it multiple times.

Second, study grammar. With a vocabulary foundation, you should be able to roughly comprehend a text but in order to fully understand, a sentence you should thoroughly understand the sentence structure first and the role of the noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition and conjunction.

Third, in order to improve your listening skills, practice dictation. Select a chapter and repeat the dictation as many times as possible until you can write the sentences perfectly. Don’t aim to study many chapters; rather aim for repetition and perfection with a limited section. You will feel a sense of accomplishment when you set a realistic goal and achieve it, rather than trying to set a big goal and never reaching it.

Fourth, make English reading and listening a part of your daily routine. Read a simple newspaper article on your way to school, the lyrics of a song, watch English documentaries, comedies, TV shows or movies.

Fifth, practice taking a mock TOEIC test. From the test taken, analyze and understand your mistakes and re-take the same TOEIC test. Do these until you get a perfect score. Repetition, practice and again repetition will really help you improve your TOEIC scores.

Q. Can you give some advice to students who are studying English?

A. First, I would like to really encourage every student to take opportunity of the enormous resources that the University has to offer in terms of overseas language learning opportunities and exchange programs. If you want to speak another language, you’ve got to experience it. If you want to study English to pass a test, then rely on your books, but if you want to study English as a life-learning goal, then step out of your desks and immerse into the culture.

Second, ask questions. You have wonderful resources at the University with many knowledgeable caring professors who want to guide you and see you grow. Approach them, ask questions and seek their guidance and recommendations. I love it when students approach me at the end of class to share their challenges, goals and dreams and ask me for advice.

Third, have confidence. It feels like many students have almost a uniform goal of wanting to enhance their English skills. As I always tell all my students, you each have your own unique talents. Have confidence in who you are, know what you are good at, and work really hard at building your skill sets. And when you are ever lost along the journey, believe in yourself, listen to what your heart tells you and follow your heart.

“Give the world the best you have, and the best will come to you.” – Madeline Bridge

I wish you all a very successful journey in your learning and a prosperous future ahead.

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