Jeonju! The Land of Chocopie Welcomes the World of Teachers

by Wayne Finley, 20/03/2019

What do you know about Jeonju? Ask most people in Korea and they’ll shout ‘chocopie!’ or ‘bibimbap!’ All great, edible attractions for sure, but on May 25, 2019 Jeonju becomes known for something much bigger. Something that would melt any chocopie and throw any bowl of bibimbap straight out of the window! No, it’s not another BTS concert. On May 25, Jeonju proudly welcomes Korea TESOL to host the educational event like no other: the KOTESOL National Conference.

Teachers from far and wide jump on the KTX, hop on the bus or even soar through the skies to share their knowledge, skills and wisdom. It’s mutual learning in overdrive! We’re talking workshops, lectures, poster presentations and some of that networking stuff. It doesn’t matter if they’re new to Korea teaching in a hagwon, or seasoned professionals who have spent more than a lifetime here, all are welcome. It’s the day marked on every teacher’s free office calendar: National Conference day!

All conferences have themes. The theme for this year’s National Conference is something all teachers struggle with: student motivation. You can be English teaching’s answer to Steve Jobs, delivering charismatic, engaging student-centered classes week-after-week, but you will always have those hard-to-reach students. You might’ve tried juggling eight multicolored tennis balls while standing on your head reciting Hamlet… and they were still on their phones, Kakaoing. This conference solves that problem and more, so drop the tennis balls and put on your tennis shoes for a trip to Jeonju.

Sometimes you go to a conference and you look at who’s doing the plenary speech. ‘Who the bibimbap is that?’ Not so here. Far from it. The plenary is being delivered by the one and only Jack C. Richards, who some consider to be the Elvis Presley of the teaching world…and that’s not because of his skills in the singing room. He’s written over 150 books (wow!) and two of them are staples of the classroom: Interchange and Four Corners. This guy is a bonafide superstar and he’s talking about teacher identity. Good choice since we all know exactly who he is!

The time? 09:00 – 17:00. The place? Jeonju University Star Center. The catch? Your classes will never be the same again. Students will be leaping out of bed to attend your morning classes and running home to do your homework. A wave of motivation will rush through all of your students. Generations to come will still be chanting your name as they erect another statue in your honor. All it takes is a trip to Jeonju on May 25 and life will never be the same again!

About the author: Wayne Finley is a passionate educator who loves to share ideas at Korea TESOL conferences all throughout the peninsula. 

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