What’s In What’s Out 2014

Taking some inspiration from the above video as well as the following two links, I’ve decided to create our own list of “What’s In What’s Out” for learning Korean in 2014.

In: Essay and Journal Writing

Out: Workbooks

Have you ever noticed that doing fill-in-the-blank stuff in workbooks is relatively easy so long as you’ve read and studied the chapter prior to that point? But then going out and freely reproducing what you’ve JUST studied IN DIFFERENT CONTEXTS is relatively impossible? That’s because it’s easy to complete puzzles and answers when your brain is already “primed” for that particular kind of work and when that particular grammar pattern is fresh in your memory.

For more effective writing practice:

  1. Study your grammar in the morning.
  2. Jot down the grammar patterns you learned in the top margin of your notebook.
  3. Wait a few hours, or until evening.
  4. Freely write out 10 sentences PER PATTERN based on the events of the day.

In: Korean Speech contests

Out: Day-to-day survival speech

You’re studying Korean daily. Your vocabulary is improving and you’re picking up more and more of the grammar in TV shows you watch. Life is good! But then, you never actually USE much of that grammar you’re studying. Daily life Korean consists of the same repetitive conversations, and you often even slip back into your old grammatically INcorrect usage of the language because it’s comfortable. And when you go out with your friends, you can only seem to recall a handful of the grammar patterns you drilled.

Reasons Korean Speech contests are more effective than what you’re doing right now:

  1. Speech CONTESTS require a formal voice – something you probably haven’t practiced much of with your friends.
  2. You get the opportunity to solidify your thoughts IN WRITING first – so there are no “on-the-spot” brain freezes.
  3. MEMORIZING your speech will train your brain to remember and THINK in grammatically correct Korean.
  4. PERFORMING your speech in front of an audience requires you to focus on your pronunciation and other verbal communication skills that probably don’t get a lot of practice in daily use.

In: Video Logs (in Korean) SHOWING OFF your progress

Out: Blogs (in English) EXPLAINING your progress

People everywhere with any kind of goal like to be able to keep track of their progress. People who want to lose weight record their calories and kilograms (or pounds). People who want to get stronger record their reps and max lifts. People who want to learn a skill keep track of it in their workbooks or in their personal practice. But all the numbers written on paper are minimal when compared with (1) walking into a party in a new slim dress, (2) flexing those muscles at the beach, or (3) performing your new skill in front of a crowd.

Suggestions for showing off:

  1. You have a smart phone. Record a video of you speaking Korean – anywhere, anytime. Upload it to YouTube and share it.
  2. As you study a book, record videos of yourself progressing through the material and upload those with the dates of completion.
  3. Record videos of yourself reading books out loud. (Or read a storybook out loud to a group of Korean kids!)
  4. Memorize, perform, and record yourself (1) singing a K-Pop song, (2) singing Pansori, or (3) reciting a famous fairy tale, speech, or poem.

What’s Really IN in 2014?

The above advice really focuses on three key things:

  1. Grammar study that leads into Free Writing.
  2. Free Writing that encourages higher-level grammar and vocabulary and leads into Longer Speeches and memorization.
  3. Free Speaking that encourages regular practice, reading, memorization, and showing off.

So, as a result of these three Challenges, here are three New Initiatives we are looking forward to leading in 2014:

1. KTK Writing Critiques

Within the next few weeks (and/or months) we will prepare to start accepting any and ALL Korean writing samples to evaluate them on:

  1. Grammar
  2. Spelling and vocabulary
  3. Content and organization

The goal is to help you improve your written fluency. We will accept ALL submissions, from the most basic Beginner spelling list up to Advanced level academic Korean. Stay tuned!

2. KTK Quarterly Speech Contest

We are currently planning a Quarterly (every 3 months) Korean Speech Contest in Jeonju. Stay tuned for more information on the date and time, venue, submission guidelines, and PRIZES!

But in the meantime, if you’re interested in the NATIONAL Korean Speech Contest, here’s the link to their website: Speech in Korean. Last year’s National event was held on May 15, 2013. I’m sure we can probably assume a similar date this year.

3. KTK VLog Contest(s)

We are also currently planning a contest (or two) based on submissions we receive for Korean speaking YouTube videos. We all like to see how other people study and how well other people speak Korean. Get started recording your own videos now and save or upload them for the contest (TBA) later in the year. I can’t currently guarantee prizes, but I can guarantee at least one category:

  1. MOST IMPROVED

Are you IN in 2014?