As for GEPIK we are given a set of books for each grade. There is the teacher's guide (in Korean and English) and the student book, which is full of pictures and writing activities.
But there is one part worth mentioning, and that is the star characters inside the book. I did not take pictures of the books due to fear of copyright blah-blah.
However, we don't just use the books in class. Accompanying our lesson are videos.
To get an understanding of all this let me break down what a typical lesson looks like:
Sample of a Lesson:
- Each lesson is broken down into 4 parts. So day 1 of class goes over the first part, and so on. Here for you are those parts.
- Look and Listen: Children look at the video screen. A cartoon is shown where there is a dialog of the lessons main point. For example: "I Can Swim." Lesson will feature the characters swimming and speaking the lines.
- Listen and Repeat: Students look at a still screen and repeat the dialog. Usually the lines refer to what was said in the the "Look and Listen" section.
- Let's Chant / Sing: There is a chanting session or singing session. Chanting turns out to be more fun than singing due to that songs are very cheesy.
5. Look and Speak: This is where the characters come to life. But often the English that is spoken is not clear and is spoken fast. Also the production of these videos comes out very cheezy. A lot of times the kids and myself laugh at the videos. I found this blog that seems to poke fun at these videos, but I still give the government credit for trying. This part is also the most important because it is where we find our stars.
6. Let's Write: This part is just writing exercises that are usually very quick.
7. Role-play: Here students watch a short cartoon that has a cute story and then are asked comprehension questions afterwards.
The Stars of GEPIK: Taken from the 5th grade book, most of the characters live throughout the whole series.
- Mrs. Smith
- Zeeto (my favorite but is in the 3rd grade book.)
Look and Speak: Live action English at its best!
- You don't have to take off your shoes. This video lesson highlights a cultural difference between Korea and the West. And that is indoor shoe-wearing. It's a big no-no here in Korea. When I went over this lesson with the kidlets, they had shocked faces at the thought we westerners keep our shoes on. Featuring: Nami and Ann.
- Mismatched Voices: What should a kids voice sounds like? High pitched and cute right? But maybe not for all kid's voices, especially if that character is a male. Take a look and see how not only do the high pitched voices sound wrong, but also at the placement of the words. Featuring Peter and Nami.
- Adults using English: Often times you see the characters parents having conversations. They got the voices right, that is they sound like adults. But again the voice over is totally off cue. Hey does anyone think the Dad isn't bad looking? (just kidding) Featuring Jinho's parents.
- Awkward Moments: Speaking a foreign language is awkward enough, but hey let's make it more awkward by creating moments that are strange. In this clip Joon (boy on the left) talks about Peter's sister and there is an awkward feeling between them. Featuring Joon and Peter.
I think you get the gist of it all after watching those videos. As a teacher you end up seeing these clips about 4 times a day and in some cases 8 times a week. Sometimes I go home and I find myself singing the song of the day.
What always leaves me wondering is where they picked of the western actors. Because they shot these videos in Korea, so I wonder what these kids are doing here.
And remember this is Elementary school level. I don't know if Middle or High School kids get the same stuff but with older actors / characters?
There you have it the characters that I get to know here at school. I hope this introduction gave you a light hearted feeling. Sure the government has room to improve with the quality of their material but for the meantime it makes for good culture shock.