Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lesson 07 - Prepositions

Lesson 07 - Prepositions is published over at

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lesson 06 - Geography I

Lesson 06 - Geography I is published over at

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lesson 05 - Sports

Lesson 05 - Sports is published over at

Monday, July 23, 2007

Lesson 04 - Adjectives

Lesson 04 - Adjectives is published over at

Friday, July 20, 2007

Lesson 03 - Classroom English

Lesson 03 - Classroom English is published over at

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Escape Mokpo by Bus

Even though it has many names the Mokpo Bus Terminal is the only bus station in Mokpo that you can use for your escape. Sometimes it goes by Distance Terminal, Express Terminal, or Cross-Country Terminal, but everybody (taxis included) recognize it as the Bus Terminal. Here's the contact information:

전라남도 목포시 상동 220
(Jeollanamdo, Mokpo, Sang-dong 220)
☏ Tel : 061-276-0220 or ☏ Tel : 061-276-0221
As usual, trying to find English information about the bus schedule is frustrating, leaving us no option but to try and interpret what exists in Korean. Right away we have two starting points: EasyTicket and The Kumho Asiana Group.

With no surprises EasyTicket turns out to be a ticketing agent for Kumho's bus division and Kumho's bus division (also known as Kumho Express) turns out to be the bus company that seems to run all the buses out of Mokpo. But it's not quite that simple. Kumho operates the (in English) website, but Kumho is also listed on the Express Bus Lines Association's (in English) as well; this page on KumhoExpress lists EasyTicket and Kobus as handling the tickets for different routes. So what site you use depends on where you're going. Now, within this Kumho bus monopoly in Mokpo there are two kinds of buses useful for escape: direct and express buses. The main difference here is based on how far you're going; Mokponians use a direct bus to escape to the neighboring towns and an express bus to escape to the neighboring Seoul. So, in the end, it seems that direct bus users can use KumhoExpress while express bus users should use Kobus. But either way you'll need a Korean credit card to make the purchase and that's something that most foreigners don't have (i.e. cannot legally obtain) leaving the only option of a cash purchase at the ticket counter.

That doesn't mean that the sites themselves aren't useful. The English version of KumhoExpress does provide a timetable but it is outdated and hasn't been touched since 2003; the more recent Korean version does provide a direct bus trip planner that lists the options for short trips like the popular Mokpo to Gwanju route:
On the other hand, the English and Korean versions of Kobus are more polished and relatively in synch with one another, giving us the wonderful English trip planner.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wikimapia's Mokpo

Similar to Flickr's Memory Maps, Wikimapia is a online collaboration that pinpoints locations on Google's Satellite Images and, funny enough, it has an entry for Mokpo.

As previously posted there is no perfect mapping system for the Google Generation in Mokpo. Wikimapia uses Google's outdated satellite images that still hide a quarter of Mokpo under clouds or low resolution images. But the genius comes in the collaboration and completely replaces my own private endeavor albeit without the nice Google icons and whatnot.

More information on Wikimapia is available via the Wikimapia Blog, Matt's Wikimapia Blog and (as always) Wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


As pointed out in another post some people may think that waygook is considered a racial slur. It's not quite that, but after some quick research it turns out that the two words are incredibly related. Both Wikipedia and The Urban Dictionary have a similar explanations; here's a brief description from Wikipedia's definition of gook:

An Asian person, especially an enemy (e.g. Koreans or Vietnamese during the Korean and Vietnam wars). By extension, any Asian person. Probably derived from the Korean words “hanguk” and “miguk”. “Hanguk” refers to Korea and “miguk” is the common word for the United States. American troops thought "miguk" sounded like "me gook" (i.e. "I am a gook"). The word persisted during the Vietnam War, perhaps also because the Vietnamese people have a similar word “quốc”, meaning "country".
So the term gook only derives a derogatory meaning in a North American context. In Korea it's the word for country (국) and since it describes a person's nationality everybody in Korean ends up being a kind of gook.

The Korean word for foreign (외국 aka waygook), or foreigner (외국인 aka waygookin) or even foreign person (외국사람 aka waygook saram), all use 국 as a base word and the use of gook in this context is so far removed from North American meaning that nobody recognizes it as a derogatory term. So when you have a website for foreigners in Korea, seems quite appropriate.

As for spelling, the competing romanization systems create many transcriptions for 국 including gook, guk, kook, kuk, etc. Even the language tools disagree, making no discernible difference between waygook or wayguk.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Lesson 02 - Classroom Rules

Lesson 02 - Classroom Rules is published over at

Friday, July 13, 2007

Lesson 01 - Introductions

Lesson 01 - Introductions is published over at

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Lesson Plans

In some situations, like mine, you are given free reign over what to teach the students. Some people would love this freedom, but for me it’s more of a burden as now I have to plan a 50 minute learning experience for the students. Actually it freaks me out since usually I have no idea what I should be teaching the students.

To the system, I'm not an English Teacher (the school already has a bunch of those). I'm a Native Speaker and I'm supposed to be part of the culture teaching program (not the language teaching program) so I should be teaching something cultural. Of course all that really means is that the students have somebody else to help them memorized some standard dialogues while I have to engage the students in English conversation activities for 50 minutes per week.

I need those activities documented since I'm under threat of having my lessons reviewed. But since my co-teacher hasn't actually reviewed these lessons yet, I (from what I've heard from other native speakers) expect this review to happen on my last day when I hand in all of my lesson plans along with my classroom key. So most of my lessons plans are in Microsoft Word format, using the following template:

The English level of the intended audience and the time length of the lesson.

A brief description of the lesson.

A brief listing of what the lessons results.

This is the short version of the lesson, organized in time segments.

Material Required
A listing of what materials are required and what website you can download them from.

The three part lesson broken into the introduction, the lesson, and the termination.

Assessment/Observations/Teacher Reflection
Suggestions on how the lesson can be modified based on how the students interaction with the lesson

Board Work
When using one or more boards it’s best to use one as your main board and the other as your scratch board. One contains the information you want to keep up for the students during the class, the other is just for doodling.
Now, my actual process of making a plan is really a thought organizing process that results in a collection of categorized information that, in truth, is rarely looked used during class. That said here are some notes about my lesson making process:
  1. I steal other people’s lessons. Other people more intelligent and resourceful and creative and who enjoy making lessons have already done so. People who are lazy can just steal the lessons from the Internet.
  2. I have no master plan. There’s no core curriculum so I teach whatever I want, so my topic searching is really limited by whatever I've stolen already.
  3. I have one official resource book. Officially it’s the JLP Program Resource Book and it contains many of the activities that I use with the lessons that I steal.
  4. I teach in an English lab. I don’t roam from class to class. Instead I stay firmly planted in my own English lab, complete with my 50-something inch TV, a marker board, and my own video projection system with five speaker surround sound. I’m technically literate enough to know how to use them and I usually do; a TV & PowerPoint combo usually substitutes well for one of my boards.
  5. I’d rather create a PowerPoint file than write something on the board. I’m lazy. That and I know enough PowerPoint to make it an interactive blackboard.
  6. I use the concept of Core and Bonus in my lessons. Sometimes I have smart kids who can shave off 9 minutes from a 10 minute activity. For these kids I usually plan a bonus part of the lesson that can be set on continuous loop until the end of class.

Lesson Plan Resources

Here are some websites that I use for various lesson plans:

Here are some English newspaper and magazines dealing with Korea:

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


외달도 (Oedaldo) is Mokpo's tourist island and is often referred to as Love island. It has two beaches, a resort boasting a salt water pool and an indigenous farming community; enough to warrant its own tourist entry and of course some blog posts, (and some with their own spellings).

The ferry schedule is posted (along with other tours) on the Tour Mokpo site and is fairly straight forward if you can read Korean. The translated version clears it up a bit, giving us the following table:

No.Mokpo to Island of Love (Oedaldo)Island of Love (Oedaldo) to MokpoRemarks
There are two notes at the bottom of the table:
  • The 1 ferry runs only in season (when the resort swimming pool is open).
  • Rising and Provisions are the companies operating the ferry during the run.
Tour2Korean provides some more information with the Mokpo Ferry Terminal phone number:
☏ Tel : 061-240-6060~1

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Microsoft Office Viewers and Converters

Microsoft Office has a considerable market share in North America. Same here in South Korea. So chances are that you won't have to rely on another office suite to do your lesson planning.

Unfortunately this doesn't mean that the version of Office you have on your laptop is going to be the same version that you have at your school. Usually this doesn't matter, but for the heavy PowerPoint 2007 user (like me) who creates on an English machine and presents on a Korean machine, converting is an essential way of life.

Microsoft maintains a collection of converters. The same page also has a collection of viewers which are great in the rare case that you get a computer without Office installed. And the new version of Office has a completely different file format (*.docx, *.xlsx, *.pptx, etc) that is still not as readily accepted as the previous file formats (*.doc, *.xls, *.ppt, etc). For these files, Microsoft provides a converter by way of the Compatibility Pack.

And of course if you don't want to download any software, there's always the converters at Zamzar.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Abandoned School

Almost every patch of free soil in Mokpo is converted into a make-shift garden so it's very surprising to find a school that has been closed and left to deteriorate for a good number of years. This school is known to the local foreigners as the abandoned school.

From what I've gathered, the abandoned school was built during the Japanese occupation of Korea and was Japanese exclusive. After the war it was changed to Mokpo Jeil Girls High School (목포 제일 여자 고등 학교 aka Mokpo Jeil Yeoja Godeung Hakkyo), but eventually the school moved over into its current location in Ha-dang and no one has been back since.

The closest land mark is the Mount Yudal Post Office (유달우체국 aka Yudal San Ucheguk) and is useful for unconfusing taxi drivers who insist on taking you to Ha-dang.

Friday, July 6, 2007

The Mokpo Video

In the same way that he has documented his cat, pharflung has documented various tidbits of Mokpo and goes beyond the apartment video or the class room video.

There are the cliche shots, like the view from Mount Yudal and the New New City, but pharflung also gives us brief glimpses into everyday Mokpo:

There are other non-pharflung Mokpo videos, like Gatbawi Rock, Peace Park (again), Yudal Mountain (again), and the odd occasion of Snow in Mokpo.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Mokpo School Map

The Mokpo Office of Education website has a list of schools, complete with listings of the elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools in Mokpo, and more importantly a map dotting their locations. Of course if you haven't master Hangul, these list may be more scary than useful. So what can we do?

The data that we need is all there, and we just need to convert it into a useful format. For example, if we translate the elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools lists via Google's nifty translation button, we get a better understanding of what exactly is being displayed. But since we have more tools at our disposal, we can go further; if we romanize the data via, translate some of the common words, and map the street addresseses, we get ourselves a quick reference table, listing locations of each school in Mokpo, complete with clickable map link.

Elementary Schools
Mokpo Bukgyo Elementary Schoolbukgyo-dong 1
Mokpo Sanjeong Elementary Schoolsanjeong-dong 34
Mokpo Seobu Elementary Schoolsanjeong-dong 1061-2
Mokpo Jungang Elementary Schoolhonam-dong 463
Mokpo Yudal Elementary Schoolyudal-dong 8
Mokpo Yudal Elementary School Dalli Island Branchchungmu-dong 301
Mokpo Yudal Elementary School Yuldo Branchchungmu-dong 161-1
Mokpo Dong Elementary Schoolsanjeong3-dong 270-1
Mokpo Iro Elementary Schoolyonghae-dong 240-2
Mokpo Nam Elementary Schoolhonam-dong 567
Mokpo Seosan Elementary Schoolseosan-dong 22
Mokpo Seosan Elementary School Chungmu Branchchungmu-dong 38
Mokpo Daeseong Elementary Schooldaeseong-dong 212
Mokpo Yongho Elementary Schoolyongdang2-dong 1028-7
Mokpo Samhag Elementary Schoolsanjeong-dong 1367
Mokpo Yeondong Elementary Schoolsanjeong-dong 1080-4
Mokpo Imseong Elementary Schoolseoghyeon-dong 96-1
Mokpo Daeyeon Elementary Schoolyonghae-dong 631
Mokpo Ognam Elementary Schoologam-dong 236
Mokpo Sangdong Elementary Schoolsang-dong 364
Mokpo Buyeong Elementary Schoologam-dong 1024
Mokpo Hadang Elementary Schoolsang-dong 820
Mokpo Yeonsan Elementary Schoolyeonsan-dong 1270
Mokpo Sinheung Elementary Schoolsang-dong 1017
Mokpo Ceongho Elementary Schoologam-dong 966
Mokpo Hanbic Elementary Schoolsang-dong 887
Mokpo Mihang Elementary Schoologam-dong 1102
Mokpo Seohae Elementary Schoolyeonsan-dong 1271
Mokpo Yonghae Elementary Schoolyonghae-dong 974
Mokpo Seoghyeon Elementary Schoolseoghyeon-dong 1172
Mokpo Hangdo Elementary Schoolsang-dong 264
Mokpo Aehyang Elementary Schoologam-dong 56-1
Gwangju Teachers College's
Mokpo Buseor Elementary School
yonghae-dong 289

Middle Schools
Mokpo Jeil Middle Schoolyonghae-dong 170-5
Mokpo Yudal Middle Schoolsanjeong-dong 2-10
Mokpo Ceongho Middle Schoolyongdang1-dong 970-23
Mokpo Girls Middle Schoolgyeong-dong, 2ga 2
Mokpo Jungan Girls Middle Schoolsang-dong 899
Mokpo Hangdo Girls Middle Schoolsang-dong 327
Mokpo Hadang Middle Schoologam-dong 963
Mokpo Ogam Middle Schoologam-dong 1282
Muntae Middle Schoolyongdang-dong 183
Hongil Middle Schooljuggyo-dong 575-1
Yeongheung Middle Schoolsang-dong 55
Deogin Middle Schooljuggyo-dong 30
Mokpo Jeongmyeong Middle Schoolyang-dong 86
Mokpo Hyein Girls Middle Schooljuggyo-dong 30
Mokpo Yeonghwa Middle Schoolsang-dong 525

High Schools Schools
Mokpo High Schoolyongdang1-dong 970-6
Mokpo Girls High Schooldaeseong-dong 40-1
Mokpo Jeil Girls High Schoologam-dong 983
Jeonnam Jeil High Schoolyongdang1-dong 937-1
Mokpo Gongeob High Schoolyongdang2-dong 171-11
Muntae High Schoolyongdang-dong 383
Mokpo Hongil High Schooljuggyo-dong 575-1
Yeongheung High Schoolsang-dong 55
Mokpo Deogin High Schooljuggyo-dong 30
Mokpo Mariahoe High Schoolyongdang-dong 845
Mokpo Jeongmyeong Girls High Schoolyang-dong 86
Mokpo Hyein Girls High Schooljuggyo-dong 30
Mokpo Girls Sangeob High Schoolsang-dong 525
Mokpo Seongsin High Schoolsang-dong 328
Mokpo Jungang High Schooldaeyang-dong 208

Some notes on the directory:
  • There are 53 dots on the map with 63 schools listed.
  • Not all school street address resolved in a map link.
  • There is some disagreement with the Romanization output of
  • Some schools (especialy the Branch schools) are located outside of mainland Mokpo.
  • Just from experience, I suspect that not all data (i.e. names of schools or streets) is up to date.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Korean vs. English

I cannot speak Korean.

(And according to the text books that I've seen, I don't speak English all that well either.)

This isn't really a problem at the school where I work since I have a plethora of English teachers who I can magically summon by walking aimless down the hall. But on the odd occasion when I need to talk one of the school staff and my support team is busy with their students or their smokes, I'm in a bit of a bind.

Fortunately there is Google translate and the other language tools on the Internet. Some are viable alternatives to Google and others not so much, but I have a funny feeling that all translation sites use more or less the same engine, much life duff beer, since the translations from English to Korean and vice versa are all far from perfect.

So the only real difference is in the packaging and in the end I usually use Google since it has the direct Korean to English and English to Korean links, the browser button feature, and of course the trademarked minimalistic interface.

For the Korean speaker there's the dictionary at and if you have the Haansoft's Hangul, you should have an English to Korean dictionary, 한컴 사전, installed.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Class Room Video

Like the Apartment Video, the English teachers here like to show off their schools, class rooms, and English labs.

Others, like Samuel, go all out and document their school, class room, staff room, staff room with their computer, and their chemically addicted students.

And then there are the students themselves; watch their cuteness fade as you travel from kindergarten, through elementary school, and all the way up to middle school, courtesy of Dawne and Dave.

Etc, etc, etc.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Apartment Video

A core part of any living-in-another-culture experience is sending back images of where you're sleeping at night. Some people like photos and flickring (or whatevering) them, but there's also video (and video, and video, etc)

And thanks to the yearly rotation of foreigners armed with cameras and easily searchable video hosts, it's easy to chart the evolution of apartments like a certain oppicetel in 2006 and 2007.

It's like watching time lapse photography of a flower.

Kind of.