I believe…


Every now and then, I feel it is necessary to take stock and think about what is important in our lives. It does not matter if you are old or young, studying or working, happy or sad.

Thinking about things that matter, makes us more focused, helps us prepare our journey in life and when we achieve our goals, we feel proud of ourselves and our success. Success usually stems from hard work and hard work is a result of knowing our goals, knowing where we are headed is part of reflection.

Take the time to think of what you believe in, what you live for and how you can adjust the things in your life to make it meaningful and successful.

I believe…by Mrs Misso-Veness

I believe that everyday when I go to school,

   I will make a difference in a student’s life,

             I will inspire a teacher and

                     I will make a small change as a teacher, a wife, a mother and a daughter.

I know many things are possible because ‘I BELIEVE’.

What do you believe you are able to do? Write down your own mantra.

One Word Many Voices


I was inspired by many different and wonderful ESL sites online and decided to run our very own One Word Many Voices competition. There were countless administrative issues in trying to have students logon simultaneously and respond in real time. To cut a long story short, we decided on todaysmeet.com which provided the 140 characters limit that I wanted. And the result….?

Writing fury. Click-clacking keys. Excited boys! Silly responses! Good fun in real time!

I modelled an example. Then, we trialled a few words based on our theme for the term, ‘Health and Beauty’. The first word entered was ‘oil’ and some responses were:

Oil, the currency of the world. Fluctuates though the economy, and fills the fat man’s greed. by Jay

Our once golden beaches become black murky bogs reeking of death and destruction inaccessible to eveyone. by Charlie

Oil is precious. It is also known as Black Gold, and it has been fought for by many countries. It also is a detriment to the environment. by Gyumin

Our next word was ‘science’ and the boys lapped it up…or most boys did.

Science has brought us to the point when you can hold a taco in one hand and you can print it using a 3D printer and printing a taco. by Jay

science can help you a lot but on the other hand it can ruin one’s life. by Bradley

On reflection, I should have laid down stricter ground rules. Experience and research has shown that boys do need a more guided/controlled approach to activities. A few were responsible enough to challenge themselves to devise intelligent responses.  I could put it down to a new activity which caused this frenzy of silly responses. However, I know that it’s classroom management that needs working Overall, I think it was a good start to incorporating a competitive element, technology and the curriculum in a 15-minute time slot. We did lots of scaffolding and recycling of vocabulary before we got online.

Thank you Year 9 boys for that experience.

Curse of Knowledge


Teachers should never stop learning.

This week, I came across a very interesting phrase, the “curse of knowledge”. In their book, Make it Stick: Why some ideas survive and others die, Dan and Chip Heath write about this “curse” in which teachers have loads of knowledge but find it hard to deliver the nuances of their subject area. It made me sit up! It explained a little more about what some teachers have said to me repeatedly, that they  do not understand why a student had not grasped an idea, a grammar rule or a concept despite doing various activities, exercises and talking about it over and over again. BINGO!

You know too much, Mr Teacher. You know lots of background knowledge in your subject area that you are finding it hard to whittle it down to the essential or the core, so students can understand it.

This is the book.

Make it Stick: Why some ideas survive and others die

This is a video on the concept of the curse of knowledge

This lands itself well to the course I’m conducting at the moment – TESMC. The teaching and learning theories that underpin the course talks about the need to deconstruct a concept, a writing task, an outcome so that students understand the components that make up that concept, task or outcome. We need to provide proper scaffolding so that we guide the students in the direction they are suppose to go. Then when they have the necessary tools, we set them off to work on tasks individually, just like our parents letting go off our hands as we learn to walk.

I love learning new things. I hope you do, too.

Fluency in Speaking


Have you felt that once you start teaching pronunciation, intonation and word stress in class, your own goes downhill? It feels stilted at times and suddenly, I am so conscious of my lips, teeth, tongue and how they all work that I trip over my words as well! It can be hilarious but darn painful when you are being observed! I think my observation went well with my 13-year-olds. Bless the boys! They were co-operative, well-behaved and did all the right things 🙂

We tried these out. I revisited the theme of ‘Nature is a friend, not a foe’.

1) Stress Moves – a game of selecting cut-out words that fall into different stress sound categories. For eg. friend- single stress, reuse – primary stress on 2nd syllable, modern – primary stress on the first syllable and disaster – primary stress on the middle syllable. Of course, I modelled this for them.

2) Word Stress in a sentence- “I love the sun”. I highlighted one word to be stressed in each sentence. I love the sun. I love the sun. I love the sun. Each pair read that aloud and I elicited the meaning of each sentence.

3) intonation – We listened to my daughter’s all-time favourite, Eeyore. They loved listening to his droning voice, and we talked about what intonation meant and how important is it. We went into what rising and falling sounded like and when we used them.

4) Dialogue – I gave out a short dialogue for pairs to practice their word stress and intonation. At the bottom of their card was a scenario that read, “talk to each other as a friend visiting another in hospital, as a policeman to a suspected criminal, as a teacher to a student,”. When the pairs read aloud their dialogues, the rest of the class had to guess the scenario and explain their reasons. Oh, we did discuss body language, too, as the boys seemed to depend on it more to express their ideas than using their voices.

5) Idiomatic language – Most of my ELLs struggle with this especially prepositional phrases. I reused vocabulary from our previous sessions. Each pair had a card with some phrases from previous readings. They had to write a paragraph using those phrases.

6) Accuracy – The next stage was to talk about how we can ensure accuracy in our work. Pairs exchanged their word for peer marking of Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation (GSP) as well as the use of the phrases.

7) Fluency – Having had their corrected work back, students had time to practice reading aloud their paragraphs before presenting it to the class.

The lesson flowed well and they had fun with the variety of activities.


“learning a language, learning through that language & learning about that language” MAK, Halliday

This has been a very inspirational quote for me as an ESL teacher teaching ELLs in a mainstream setting. As a teacher, I challenge myself with preparing custom-tailored lessons for each class, working on my methodology and hoping to pass on some some spark of knowledge to my ELLs In this mix, my students are grappling with all these 3 language features! They are an amazing bunch! I take my hat off to you.

All the best in the upcoming exams.

“learning a lan…

The Tree of Hope Project


I feel proud, like a mother would, of her child’s achievement, of the lovely work done by our students.

The Tree of Hope was a project put together by the ESL, English & Art departments to commemorate Children’s Day in Korea as well as remember unfortunate children around the world. There were many heart-felt messages of hope and love, written by Years 7-9, on the leaves they crafted during Art.

In line with the IB philosophy of creating caring, principles and reflective students, ( 3 of the 10 attributes of the learner profile), the students have proven that they are on the right track.

Here’s to growing that tree and building strong characters.

Tree of Hope – look at our gorgeous tree –

The Tree of Hope by reflective, principled and caring individuals

Can we be free of exams?


As a student, I abhorred exams – I detested the whole process of revising, memorising, penning out 45 minutes worth of my supposed understanding of a war or geographical feature, doing it over and over again for years on end and at the end of each, quaking upon receiving my report book. Ah, the bliss of adolescence and the schooling years.

Does any student ever see the value of exams? I certainly didn’t. All I persevered to do was get the best grades possible, which I happily did for all my subjects except dear, old Maths. Not surprising that I ended up an ESL teacher. Now, the Korean Won does my head in with the multitude of zeroes.

As a teacher, and I’ve been one for over 10 years now, I have suddenly crossed over to the ‘dark side’ of the examinations field. Yes, me, a teen hater of the dreaded exams, now see the value of assessments! Traitor! But let me say my piece.

What are assessments? A means to feedback for both teachers and students (oops, parents, too) to ascertain how much of the skills (not necessarily the content or knowledge because you can get that anywhere these days) and thinking processes had gone on in your heads. Yes, THINKING is vital. Everyone can memorise and regurgitate but to be able to use the knowledge in different situations, creatively and intelligently is another thing. That’s why there are those who don’t seem to work all year but manage to score in exams. They are either super intelligent or they are able to apply the necessary skills and think about what needs to be done in exam questions. NLCS Jeju isn’t looking for regurgitating robots. We want thinkers, independent learners who are creative individuals with big big hearts.

As for me, I’m a mugger. But thankfully, my exam days are over…Actually, not. I completed a professional course assessment just a couple of months back. Good news students, you never stop learning and being assessed – school, home, workplace, relationships 🙂 On the bright side, you assess people all the time, too.

Amusing Exam Tales: Click here

Let’s enjoy the rest of the term with Language Lounge fun games and activities.


Literary Device Competition


Read my previous blog  Language Lounge Launch.

Can you identify the literary device used in the title? If you know it, hunt me down, tell me your answer and you’ll get a little prize.

Happy Hunting….

Language Lounge Launch


A place to relax, have a biscuit and put your grey matter to the test.

We challenge you at the Harkness Table with a ‘guest’ speaker each round.

Open up and speak your belief with our Big Question time – Is religion important in the 21st century? Is God a man or a woman? Is it permissible to break the law?

Come, invent and persuade us to your cause through our Inventive Sessions.

Listen to the news, watch controversial new clips and discuss it’s glocal effects (global + local).

Be part of a Game Show, answer a question, win a prize.





Are you a good language learner?


1. I think first and foremost, to be a good language learner, you need to be realistic about your goals and achievements. There will be times when it would seem like you are not making much progress and at others, you would be scaling great heights. Do set aside time to learn, read, write and speak in order to become proficient in English.

2. Do understand how you learn best – do you need visual explanations? Do you learn and remember best by taking notes whilst listening? And most importantly, ask your teachers for help if you do not understand a particular exercise or lesson.

3. As a language learner, you need to be adventurous and take risks. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. We learn from them and we grow.

“It’s okay to not know, but it’s not okay to not try” [click on link]

4. Be an active learner, be independent – do not expect to learn everything about the English language just seated in class. Speak to your friends in English. Grab all the opportunities to communicate English. Do not wait for your teacher to direct your learning.

5. Now that you have made it past the entrance exams and are in NLCS Jeju, you need to challenge yourself and work on communicating accurately at a higher level. When you sit for your IB exams, you are competing against the rest of the world for entrance into a reputable university. Your English needs to be on par with an English-speaker, your essays need to stand out, you need to show balance between academic work and community/school activities.


There are so many other factors that affects your learning of English. Chin up, work hard, seek help.