My name is Jared Way. I was born in California, and became an "adoptive" Minnesotan. Now I'm contentedly expatriated in South Korea.
For many years I was a database programmer, with a background in Linguistics and Spanish Literature.
I quit my well-paying job and starting in September, 2007, I spent 2 years teaching EFL to elementary kids in Ilsan (suburban Seoul), South Korea. From April, 2010, until April, 2011, I worked a public school position in rural southwestern Korea (Yeonggwang County). I have since returned to Ilsan and continue to work there.
As of June, 2013, I remain in Ilsan in South Korea, but I was diagnosed with cancer, and have been undergoing treatment. As a consequence, the focus and tone of this blog has changed somewhat.
I started this blog before I even had the idea of coming to Korea (first entry: Caveat: And lo...). So this is not meant to be a blog about Korea, by any stretch of the imagination. But life in Korea, and Korean language and culture, inevitably play a central role in this blog's current incarnation. Let's just say... it's a blog about whatever I happen to be thinking, that currently takes place in Korea.
Basically, this blog is a newsletter for the voices in my head. It keeps everyone on the same page: it has become a sort of aide-mémoire.
If you're curious about me, there is a great deal of me here. I believe in what I call "opaque transparency" - you can learn almost everything about me if you want, but it's not immediately easy to find. I also maintain a work-related blog on the Korean portal Naver: jaredway.com.
A distillation of my personal philosophy (at least on good days):
I have made the realization that happiness is not a mental state. It is not something that is given to you, or that you find, or that you can lose, or that can be taken from you. Happiness is something that you do. And like most things that you do, it is volitional. You can choose to do happiness, or not. You have complete freedom with respect to the matter.
"Ethical joy is the correlate of speculative affirmation." - Gilles Deleuze (writing about Spinoza).
Geofiction - this has evolved into a significant "hobby" for me. I like to draw imaginary maps, and these sites enable this vice.
I have, in fact, been working as a volunteer administrator for OpenGeofiction for about half a year
now. I enjoy it, and I've learned a lot. I created and maintain the site's main wiki page: OGF
The above work has required my becoming an expert in the Openstreetmap system. Openstreetmap is an attempt do for online maps what wikipedia has done for encyclopedias. I have considered becoming an openstreetmap contributor, but I feel that my current location in Korea hinders that, since I don't have a good grasp Korean cartographic naming conventions.
I originally discovered the above site when exploring this site Urban Geofiction.
Another geofiction site Norscand. They recently linked to OGF, too.
TEFL - my "profession," such as it is.
Online English Grammar reference Grammarist. Useful for settling disputes over grammar.
Think about it. We could have built a high speed rail network for the whole country for that price - if you assume $100 million per mile construction cost (very generous), you could get more than 10000 miles of high speed rail.
We are basically finished with our current Speaking class textbook. We can't bother ordering a new book, since in December they'll be transitioning to the next year-level (i.e. HS3), which will involve a new book - getting a new book for just a month and a half is impractical. Obviously, I didn't do very well budgeting out the progress in the book, which was meant to last a full year.
"So, what are we going to do?" I asked.
Most classes of 8th graders would desultorily propose something in the vein of "play" or"nothing" - and it would be left up to me to come up with something more academic.
These kids, however, proposed, "Let's have debate class." Most them had me for debate in prior years, but the 8th grade curriculum as currently defined doesn't include much debate.
"Wow, so you guys like debate?" I asked.
"So what should we debate about?" I asked.
Most classes of 8th graders, presented with this choice, would immediately suggest debating something pretty banal: who is the best current pop idol on the k-pop scene, or something in the vein of my absurd debate topics.
One girl, however, proposed, "Let's debate about president Park and the Choi Soon-sil thing." I was, in fact, pretty ignorant about this. I was vaguely aware that some new scandal was exploding around the South Korean President, but I didn't know the details. So we spent some time with them filling me in on what was going on.
Once I understood what was going on, I offered some possible debate propositions.
The one we settled on was: "President Park's recently revealed behavior is impeachable." We had to make a digression while I tried to explain the concept of impeachment, but, to my surprise, they knew what this was - I guess it's something they cover in civics class in their public school.
They're pretty sharp 8th graders - I already knew this. But what I like most about those kids is that they are so interested in learning stuff and thinking about their world. This is what I strive for when I talk about student-driven learning.
Of course, once we'd settled the debate proposition and I assigned some speeches for the next speaking class, they wanted to play. So I let them do that for the last 15 minutes. They're clever - they know if they please me with showing interest in academic topics, they'll get latitude on free time during class, too.
My boss and friend Curt has been on a bit of a tear about a concept known as "flipped learning." He keeps asking me my opinion about it, but frankly I'm not sure what to say. I started writing this several months ago and never reached any feeling of conclusion about it. I've decided to just post it "as is."
If, by flipped learning, one is referring to the principle of "new material at home, review during class," then I think it is hardly a new concept. Indeed, I think teachers of every age going back to Ancient Greece would use this model at least sometimes - what is the Socratic Method, after all, if not a kind of flipped learning?
On the other hand, I suppose the concept's current vogue is due to the technological component. "Traditional teachers" - which as I suggest are no more traditional than flipped teachers, simply more authoritarian - can offload their teacher-centered lecturing to some video and then spend class time practicing. But what, exactly, is the value of "lecturing"? If it's really well done, then sure, make a video. But personally I would rather read a book than watch a video if I'm seeking new knowledge, and although I might be a minority, there is nothing inherently easier about learning from a lecture, whether in person or in a video. It's easier for some, harder for others. In fact, if you count books as a way to present new material to students outside of class, then flipped learning is nothing knew at all, and has been going on since Socrates asked his students to read some Sophists before coming to talk to him.
In the domain of foreign languages, specifically, I have not, personally, ever had (attended) a class that was NOT flipped, in this broader, fundamental sense. Good foreign language pedagogy is grounded in the principle of "practice, not lecture." I strive for this in my own classrooms, although I don't always succeed, being a somewhat compulsive lecturer. Having said that, the "flipped" classroom is definitely a novelty in the Korean context, where the teacher-centered, passive-reception classroom model is king.
So on the one hand, I support Curt's idea of "flipping" his classrooms. But I would urge him to take it a step further - rather than wasting a lot of time and effort making or finding "videos" as if that were somehow the most essential aspect of the flipped classroom, I would suggest instead trying to dispense with the lecture altogether, and move toward a classroom where language topics are taught implicitly and through practice. This can still be structured to focus on the skills of accuracy and grammar-translation that are essential to mastering the Korean test system.
EXO, "너를 위해(For you)" - this is from the soundtrack for a historical drama ("달의연인 - 보보경심려") I haven't actually ever watched - I don't really get into the extremely popular Korean historical dramas - their revisionism is too annoying. But my student told me I must listen to this song. Normally, when it comes to pop culture, I do what they say if it's relatively painless. It seems the best way to keep up to date. It's just a sappy love song.
다른 공간의 다른 시간이지만 내 사랑이 맞을거야 바람에 스치는 너의 향기로도 난 너인걸 알수 있어
but I don't know 내 맘속에 언제부터 니가 산건지 I don't know 너를 보면 설레는 이유
나를 스쳐 지나가도 돼 니가 날 다 잊었으니까 니가 기억할 때까지 나는 너를 기다릴테니까 그대여 나를 바라봐줘요 여전히 그대도 나를 사랑하나요 그대여 내눈을 보고 얘기해줘요 사랑하는 맘은 숨겨지지 않아요
너에겐 내가 곁에 있었단 사실을 절대로 잊지는 마 널 위해 모든걸 바칠 수 있었던 내 마음을 지우지마
but I don't know 내맘속에 언제부터 니가 산건지 I don't know 너를 보면 설레는 이유
나를 스쳐 지나가도 돼 니가 날 다 잊었으니까 니가 기억할 때까지 나는 너를 기다릴테니까
같은 공간 같은 시간 함께 있잖아 언제라도 내 곁에 와 너의 자리로
라라라라라라라 With you 너를 위해서 그대여 나를 바라봐줘요 여전히 그대도 나를 사랑하나요
A strange madness took hold of his mind. He believed he was made of glass. "Please, do not touch me," he begged. He made the best of it, though, declaring that transparency was more pure; the soul, clear.