Hello Friends - See the Country and Meet the Children!

by SeungheePark-Cha, Hello Friends Chair, 25/08/2009

Sponsored by the Chosun Daily Korea and supported by volunteers mainly from the American Women’s Club of Korea, the Hello Friends program runs twice a year. One time in the fall from October to December and goes on break until March and then, stars up again in the spring, April to Early June. We have our break in the winter due to Korean school holiday and our volunteer schedule. We also have the break in the summer due to our Volunteers schedule.

Swiss Replica Watches

Hello Friends supports the Korean government’s efforts to promote early English language training nation-wide. Understanding that children outside of the capital city have little or no exposure to authentic English, we bring native English speakers into provincial school classrooms to:
-Expose beginning students to native English speech
-Give children a meaningful opportunity to speak and interact in English
-Motivate them to speak English through games, songs and positive reinforcement
-Review correct pronunciation of difficult sounds
-Encourage learning English to open up a world of new ‘friends’, giving the children confidence to interact with foreigners.
-Increase mutual understanding between English speakers and rural Koreans who would otherwise have little chance to meet one another.
-Help encourage a new generation to feel positive toward American visitors.

We have for each volunteers the Color pencils, clocks, puzzles, puppets, it’s a surprise grab bags.

The Program: What will your day be like?
Translator and Volunteers will depart from one of train stations (Seoul or Yong San) or by chartered bus from the Grand ballroom entrance of the Grand Hyatt Hotel,  depending on the destination We generally leave around 7 AM (sometimes earlier) and return to Seoul around 6 or 7 PM.

On arrival at the school, the translator and volunteers will meet with the principal in his (occasioanlly her) office. Often tea and a small snack will be served. Then, we move to the classroom. The translator greets the class, tells them where we are from, why we are here, that we hope they will enjoy meeting English speaking foreigners and have fun speaking English. We hope to help them with their pronunciation through songs, games and conversation in small groups. This is when the children are ‘visually’ taking you in: they are listening to your voice; they see your excitement! SMILE and fun starts!!!

All the volunteer 'teachers' introduce themselves and then, the translator explains to the children that we will be singing some songs. It is now 'ice breaking' time. For example, each volunteer may pick a different part of the room and point to someone’s head and repeats “head.” (The kids will giggle and have fun, and get to see you up close.) Volunteers should stay in their area of the room for the rest of the body parts. Then, we divide into small groups.

For small group work there are at most 10 children in each group. Usually the groups will just form into circles in the classroom. (It may be noisy, but there is a lot of learning and good fun going on!!!)-You may sit on the floor, at children’s desks, or wherever…-In good weather you might be able to take your group into the hallways. After about 40 min. of small group, you’ll be back in large group for the last 5 minutes

Saying good bye
After the school session, we will have lunch together and do a bit of sightseeing in the area.

If you have free time during the week (school days),  I hope you'll consider joining the Hello Friends program. I know that if you do, your live will be enriched by the joy of all the kids you meet in the schools you visit just as mine has been. For more information on Hello Friends, contact me at hf_chair@hotmail.com.

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