Sunday, 01 February 2009

The Questionnaire

Just before the school year ended I was asked to complete this amusing survey. I studies in the social sciences and one of the things they hammer in to your hear is the importance of research methodology. You have to be very particular about your questions and the options you give as answers. If you confuse the participant, or you don’t have relevant answers, then your research is basically useless. It is because it is so easy to have just that in your questionnaire that people have their research accepted in to research journals so rarely.

I went though this one and I will add the thought I had in blue.

Questionnaire for Native Teachers of English

* Questions related to Personal background

In this section, questions about your background will be asked.

Please read the questions and mark or enter appropriate answers.


1. Present School Type:

  • Elementary School
  • Middle School
  • Academic High School
  • Vocational High School
  • Other (Foreign Language or Science…)


2. Nationality:

  • American
  • Canadian
  • British
  • Australian
  • New Zealander
  • Irish
  • South African
  • Other (Korean American, Chinese American, etc.)

(“This is MY United states of Korean America/Chinese America!” What is wrong with these people? How, in their minds, is Chinese American relevant?)


3-1. What other teaching experience have you had in Korea?

  • Other schools in Korea
  • Private institutes(Hakwon), Private kindergartens
  • Universities in Korea
  • Private or Public companies in Korea
  • Schools or Institutes in other country

(An option for NONE, maybe? How many of use are here for our first year?)


3-2. How long have you taught in other countries (Except Korea)?

  • More than 5 years
  • 3-5 years
  • 2-3 years
  • 1 month- less than two years
  • None

(“Well, you see, I worked at one place for two weeks before I was fired for having a local girlfriend, so, now, there is no option. What should I do”)


3-3 What qualification do you have for teaching English?

  • TESL
  • TEFL
  • Qualification of teaching
  • Other certificate

(Does the unmentioned DEGREE count as Other?)

* Profession related questions

In this section, questions about your profession will be asked.

Please read the questions and mark appropriate answers.


4-1. Are you satisfied with the training courses for native assistant teachers you received in Korea?

  • Very satisfied
  • Satisfied
  • Average(acceptable)
  • Not satisfied
  • Very dissatisfied

(What training courses?)


4-2. If you have not been satisfied with pre- or in- service teacher training courses you have received in Korea, what could be the reasons

  • Insufficient relevant information on my role and expectations of me.
  • Inadequate explanations on contract implication.
  • Lack of preparation time
  • Teaching methods/demonstrations
  • Others (ie: lecturing facilities, reaching material, practicum, food, time schedule…)

(Again, what training?)


5. What would you suggest be included in future training workshops?

The Korean teaching/education context and education system

  • Korean Culture
  • Explanation of contract
  • About Korean Students
  • The role of native English Teachers



6-1. What problems do you experience in your school work besides teaching? (you can select more than one)

  • Conflicts between supervisors and native teachers
  • Conflicts with Korean English teachers
  • Lack of relationship between other Korean teachers and native teachers
  • The role and status of native English teacher
  • Housing conditions and means of communication

(A few of these, but nothing abnormal. My main concern here was confidentiality. I am looking at the way this things is put together, not very professional looking and without a load of thought, and I have to wonder who is going to read it.)


6-2. What do you think about the payment system and your payment?

  • Very satisfied
  • Satisfied
  • Average
  • Not satisfied
  • Very dissatisfied

(Irrelevant. I agreed to the system when I signed my contract.)


7. Total number of classes you teach in a week?

  • Less than 16 hours
  • 16-18 hrs.
  • 19-21 hrs.
  • 22-24 hrs.
  • More than 25 hrs.

(25! I teach 25! Help me! I don’t know what to answer. Obviously it is not a difficult question to work out, but small details like this tell me that this was a rush job and that no one double checked it for them.)


8. Is the contact time you have with your students (regular class and frequency) sufficient to develop conversational English?

  • Very appropriate
  • Appropriate
  • Average (acceptable)
  • Not inappropriate
  • Very inappropriate

(You are kidding, right? 45 minutes a week with up to 40 students? Sure, other schools have smaller classes, but still, once a week for a language they don’t care about?)


9. Do you think that the contents of the English textbook of your school fit the needs (level, suitability of content and English conversation objectives) of the students?

  • Absolutely (100%)
  • Generally (~ 70%)
  • Sometimes (~ 50%)
  • Never
  • I don’t know

(Does it matter? The system does not truly care about the levels of the students. Age is their first concern. If you are not good enough then never mind, we will still put you through so you can be with students of your own age.)


10. How do you and the Korean co-teacher prepare and teach your lessons?

  • Prepare and teach together
  • Prepare together and teach alone
  • Prepare alone and teach alone
  • Prepare alone and teach together
  • Depending on the situation


11. What’s the ratio between your teaching hours and that of the Korean co-teacher?

  • Native 100%
  • Native 80%
  • Native 50%
  • Native 20%
  • Native 0%


12. How often do you receive feedback about your teaching in the lesson from your Korean co-teacher?

  • Always
  • Usually
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • Never


13. If you have chosen ‘Sometimes, Rarely’ or ‘Never’, in the above question what do you think are the reasons?

  • Language difficulty between Korean and Native
  • Cultural differences
  • Personal differences
  • Too much school work
  • Other (ie: indifference, time limitation, much task of KT, lack of intimate terms…)

(Note how they first leave “Teacher” out and then becomes just KT Someone was getting tired of writing this, were they?)


14. Which is the most difficult thing when you teach in your school?

  • Inappropriate textbook and curriculum
  • Difference in philosophy to what is effective conversation teaching
  • Insufficient communication between K + N Teachers
  • Indifference of the students to learning conversation English
  • Exam focused education policy

(“Time to go home, but I HAVE to finish this. If only I wasn’t told about this two hours before the end of work!”)


15-1. Which role do you think you are supposed to play?

  • As a bystander
  • As a model for target language
  • As a co-teacher
  • As assistant teacher
  • As dominant teacher

(Who knows?!)


15-2. What kind of changes do you think are needed to improve English communicative competence in the team teaching? (you can select as many as you want to)

  • Class size
  • More suitable textbooks
  • English educational policy
  • The attitudes of Korean teachers
  • Extra time available to develop communicative competence

(Korean Culture! Korean Culture says English is a status symbol, not a language that can actually be useful. It is good for getting in to a good Uni, and it is good for putting useless English on products so you can sell more, but otherwise, why do it?)


I appreciate your voluntary participation. Just to reassure you again; the information gathered for this research will be kept confidential. Data will be stored securely and will be available only to the researchers. Thank you.

Do take note of the last bit. As soon as I handed over the paper, my co-teacher opened the questionnaire and started recording the answers on sheet that they can use for data collection. In other word, had I said anything bad about the school or my teachers, she would have known IMMEDIATELY! So much for confidential.

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