There are probably a few new titles now in my teaching library that need to be added, but I think that the most useful titles are here. I will try to write a new post some time in the near future with a much more updated list of books . . . I've been thinking of trying to create a list of books that new teachers can buy for less than 50,00won that would cover all of their needs . . . look for that post some time in the near future.
And again, if you copy this and use it please cite the source: Jason Ryan.
1. How to Teach English, Jeremy Harmer
Longman, 199822, 000 won
Summary: #1 is almost mandatory, no, it IS mandatory reading for all new native English teachers coming to Korea. It is not a huge book, and will help any new teacher. Foreign teachers with experience teaching in their home countries will generally find the Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) classroom a very different learning environment. This book will offer a lot of great ideas, techniques, and theory to help you adjust to the Korean classroom. New teachers with no teaching experience, and especially those who don’t have a TEFL or TESL certification, will be able to use this book on a daily basis.
2. The Practice of Teaching English, Third Edition. Jeremy Harmer
Longman, 200124, 000 won
Summary: #2 is for teachers interested in learning more TEFL and TESL theory. It is a book that will take time and energy to get through, but is one of the few teaching theory books that I’ve seen that is worth the time it took to get through. It is also extremely well organized, and the table of contents can be used for reading bits and pieces, instead of reading page 1 to the end. As a reference book for specific problems, issues, and topics in the classroom, it is a fantastic resource to have on your desk. (Chapter 9, Problem Behaviours in the classroom, for example, is a must read for all of us.)
3. Teaching English Through English, Jane Willis
Longman, 198120, 000 won
Summary: #3 gives a different approach to teaching English as a foreign language, when compared with Harmer’s ideas. It gives great examples of how to do board work, and how to use word charts to teach grammar points in a conversation context.
A note on TESL vs. TEFL -- when shopping for books, and looking at lesson plans on the Internet: In my own personal experience I have found that teaching books using TESL (Teach English as a SECOND Language) methodology generally not to be useful in the Korean classroom (I can imagine right now all the TESL certified instructors raising their eyebrows, and growling at me, lol). From what I understand about TESL theory and methodology, it assumes the language learner is in an everyday environment that provides access to English living conditions, and native English speakers. Korea, and Korean classrooms, do not meet this definition.
The basic and fundamental presupposition of TESL alters the methods and levels of the language in its lessons, and resource books. I have found that with almost every single TESL lesson on the Internet, or in a TESL based teaching book, that I have had to spend time simplifying the language, how it is presented, and how it is taught. TEFL (Teach English as a FOREIGN Language) assumes that the language learner will NOT have frequent access to a native English living environment, or native speakers, and in my opinion this has a noticeable impact on how the lesson plans and teaching methods are practiced in the Korean classroom.
If you agree with the opinion I’ve presented bear it in mind when shopping for teaching books. It will save you some time by avoiding the TESL books. The same also applies for Internet sites with lessons for downloading. All of this being said there is the rare exception for some TESL books, and if someone recommends a teaching manual or resource book that they have successfully used in a Korean classroom go for it.
Atlas of Korea,
Sung Ji Mun Hwa Co., Ltd. Seoul, Korea
30,000won at Young Poong Bookstore inside Jonggak Subway Station, Seoul.
This was an invaluable find when I first moved to Korea. It has maps of Korea, of the provinces in Korea, the different regions, neighbourhoods in Korea, street maps of those regions with landmarks, shopping malls, subway stations, major industrial and factory places, and the list goes on. I found that this book really helped me get a sense of where I was in Korea, and where I was within Incheon city, and Korea in general.