Teaching in Schools in South Korea
The EFA Project in South Korea for coaches is a unique mix of delivering academy sessions, classroom-based lessons and P.E lessons in Gyeongsangbuk province. We work with elementary, middle and high schools and deliver a range of different English-speaking sessions.
Elementary School Sessions
Most of our elementary school sessions are based in the sports hall and last approx. 40 minutes each. At my school in Pohang, I teach 4 classes - 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade and 4th grade. These sessions mostly consist of 1 or 2 games with multiple progressions, rather than the standard coaching session format. This is because of the small class size, limited time and space available and also the language barrier. For the younger classes (1st and 2nd grade), I'll usually play Foxes Tails or Red Light Green Light - and then finish off with a short football match. For the older classes, we might play dodgeball, badminton, basketball or football for the whole session - I tend to judge it as they come in and most of the time they will ask to play a specific game so we just do that!
In another school, we have 2 classes for 80 minutes each and are expected to teach outside. They are slightly larger classes with a mix of boys and girls so we try to keep them as active as possible and work on the basic ABC's, rather than do a specific football class. This is because of the age of the students, we don't want them getting disinterested and bored during the session when 1 or 2 more advanced footballers take control of the session. For this reason, we work on agaility, balance and coordination and although we do incorporate a ball, it is not the sole focus of the lesson. There is lots of throwing and catching, changes of direction and single leg work. A typical session here will look like this:
Warm-up - Foxes Tails - this is a favourite in Korea and provides lots of opportunities to change direction which works on their agility.
Technical - this is where we focus on coordination, such as the work above. Moving from one side to the other, throwing and catching, dribbling, turning, it's a simple element but keeps them engaged and working.
Skill - We might play Cannonball or bulldog depending on the skill level. Students will start on one side with a ball each and have to dribble to the other side while one player tried to take their ball off them. If they lose their ball, they become a tagger. Again, a really simple session but they love it!
Game - depending on the weather we might play a very short game of football, but if we can we'll take them inside where we can play dodgeball or netball. This keeps everyone involved and encourage them to utilise the skills they worked on during the session more, as it is possible for most to simply hide during a game of football where the better players take over.
Middle School Sessions
The majority of our school sessions involve Middle School students. These are a mixture of classroom-based and P.E lessons, and this depends on the school and the contract they have with EFA. The length of lessons depends on the school too, so each school is different.
My school in Uiseong on a Thursday starts at 9am and finishes at 3pm, and consists of 3 classes - 2 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. I teach for 30/40 minutes in the classroom, and then finish off with a P.E lesson outside. Here, each class is 80 minutes so we can cover quite a lot in each lesson. My P.E lesson will consist of a short warm-up, a technical practice, a skill-based practice and then a match at the end. We teach in English and most of the class can speak a little bit and understand what we are saying, so we are able to provide basic coaching points at this school which is helpful and we have seen some good improvement throughout the weeks we have been there!
At another school, I have 3 classes for 40 minutes but use the sports hall and have a slightly larger group of students. I normally do a warm-up, technical practice and finish off with a match. The quicker they can progress through the technical practice, the longer the game is at the end.
Our classroom sessions are really simple, and start with an introduction to the topic we are going to work on outside. For example, if our session is focussed on shooting - we will talk through the technique and coaching points in the classroom and also show them videos of what we mean so they get both the auditory learning and the visual learning. The class will then practice repeating the coaching points to us which strengthens their English speaking skills, and we usually finish off with a quiz at the end.
High School Sessions
Currently, EFA only operate in 1 high school in Uiseong and this is only for 1.40 a week. The students are of a slightly higher ability level and their English is good, and we coach on a futsal pitch across from the school. Normally, we get around 14 students who just want to play football - so this is a good session for us as we can actually coach them, provide coaching points and even join in with the match!
The students normally arrive about 15/20 minutes before we do, as we have to get from another school and they only have to walk across the road - so they warm-up themselves and when we arrive, we begin with a technical/skill-based activity. Usually, this will be 1v1 or Attack v Defence, before going into a match for the majority of the session. The communication between the students during the match is in English and they are learning more football-specific phrases.