What Do Students Learn through Practical and Academic English Classes?
What Do Students Learn through Practical and Academic English Classes?
  • Observer
  • 승인 2014.04.02 19:47
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Many students strive to learn English in this global era where all things are changing fast. Hence YUassigned English communication courses as compulsory to highlight the importance of having goodEnglish abilities. Despite this good purpose, there are some problems and students are voicing theirdiscontent loudly. The Observer took a look at the current state of the courses, several representative problemsand solutions.

The required English courses of the other universities in Daegu and GyeongbukLike YU, other universities are assigning English communication or basic English courses as compulsory forfreshmen. There are some unique systems. The Catholic University of Daegu set up a ‘Practical English 1’ as alistening and grammar course and ‘Practical English 2’ as a speaking and writing course. Unlike others, it letsstudents earn credits when they get a TOEIC score of 700 for ‘Practical English 1’ and 800 for ‘Practical English 2’ bytheir graduation date. Daegu University set up both ‘English Reading 1’ and ‘English Communication 1.’ Students ofthis university have to take another one foreign language course such as English, Chinese, Japanese, and so on.

The current state of the required English courses at YUYU has a ‘Practical English’ class in the spring semester and an ‘Academic English’ class in the fall for thefreshmen. They were set up to help students improve their English abilities through the integrated learning ofreading, listening, writing, and speaking using separate levels based on majors. As the required courses, allfreshmen have to take these courses. There are 54 foreign and 19 Korean professors for these courses.Furthermore, there are speaking, writing, reading, and listening exams.

→ The Observer took a look at students’ criticisms and asked the opinion of an YU official.

First, students do not think it is efficient to require the courses for all freshmen.
Students : Actually Korean university students need toobtain standardized English score such as TOEIC intheir third or fourth year for employment reasons. Alsofreshmen who are not interested in English do notrecognize the necessity and importance of Englishlessons. Therefore, these students do not have themotivation to participate in classes. They said therequired English courses may be more helpful to thethird and fourth year students.
Official : Studying English in your third or fourth year istoo late. Students should make resolution when theyenter the university. Actually those who are good atEnglish will want to learn English more, so they canachieve other things too. If freshmen students have basic English abilities, it is easier to study it when they are in higher grades. It is important to have the attitude and attention to learn rather than simply improving their practical English abilities through these courses.

Second, students are discontent with the class organization.
Students: It is not efficient to assign students for a specified class level by only considering their majors’ average KSAT English scores. For instance, students who major in Engineering are assigned to low level classes and those whose major is connected with English are assigned to high level classes. Therefore students who are not in the appropriate level classes are not interested in the course.
Official: Until last year, the students who were admitted to YU using their high school scores should take a mock TOEIC test to assign them to specific levels for the required English courses. However from this year, freshmen were eligible to take the test. Then, YU let the freshmen with advanced English proficiency levels get exempted from the courses this spring semester. Despite these efforts, it is difficult to satisfy all the students, so YU is trying to solve these problems.

Third, the textbook is creating an issue.
Students: Our professors said that the textbook was needed, so the student bought it. However the degree of utilization was low. There was not enough time to use the textbook, so the activity time was also not enough. Then students thought that these courses were not different from other boring English classes. Also some students thought the level of textbook was difficult or others thought it was very easy. Therefore they lost interest in the class. They also said the textbook was not related to the exam.
Official: To select the textbook, all the professors discussed together. From this year, instead of the textbook which was used for 7 years, they selected a new textbook series. They now use two textbooks. One is for speaking and listening while the other is utilized for reading and writing. Students should buy both textbooks but the professor will better use the entire books in class. Also, student will use the same textbook for both practical (unit 1-5) and academic (unit 6-10) English classes.

Fourth, there is a problem with the way professors teach.
Students: The way all the professors do the lectures are so different. Of course it is up to their teaching style, but students said there should be a basic formula. As the required courses, students cannot choose their professors. Some professors focus on the activities but they usually do not use the textbook well. Also students are not content with the assignments. Some professors gave them few assignments, but others gave them every class. Students cannot see the plans of course like other courses, so they think it is unfair.
Official: Most Korean professors usually use PPT for the lectures. Also, there are foreign teacher coordinators who evaluate all professor once a year to standardize and give feedback. Also, while there is different teaching style, professors should follow a basic formula to prepare their students for the standardized tests.
To succeed in these lectures, YU should listen to students’ opinions and the students should participate in classes actively. YU should consider these problems deeply and students should have good attitude to master all the phrases in the textbook. Both of them should interact with each other and find ways to solve these problems. By raising globally competitive people, I hope YU will grow into a global university.

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