We have received a lot of questions about teaching English in public schools. If we don’t speak Korean, how do we communicate with our students? What do we teach them? What do the classes look like?

We decided to start taping some of our classes to show everyone what they’re like. This video here is of Simon’s Middle School classes. Here you’ll see the students come into class, sit down, Simon instruct for a bit, and then the students play the game. Finally, a lot of your questions will have been answered!

Simon’s situation is a bit unique, though, so don’t assume that all classes are this way. For starters, Simon teaches half of his class one week, and the other half the other week, meaning, out of a class of 40, he teaches 20 while his co-teacher deals with the other 20 in another class. As well, some schools expect their teachers to be teaching for the entire class. Simon’s school – thankfully – believes that students should be given as much opportunity to speak in class. Less lecturing, more participation. And so, Simon usually explains the rules for some English speaking activity for the first few minutes of class and gives the remaining time for the students to partake in that activity. There’s more facilitation than dictation.

If you like the lesson, and want to teach it yourself, Preview the Handout or Presentation; Download for Mac or PC.

If you do decide to use it, please let us know how it works! Oh, and if you really liked this lesson, and it totally made your job and life easier, then – by all means – feel free to click this button here:

  1. Wow..It’s such a great game and the video is really good. I got a lot of new knowledge from it. I am wondering whether all of Korean middle school use the Battleship game as a technique in teaching English. Thank you.

  2. I am going to Seoul soon and am so nervous to teach English when I know little Korean, so hoping I can follow this example of teaching. Does anyone have ay tips for moving to South Korea on your own and meeting other teachers like yourself? Thanks :)

  3. Hey guys, liked it a lot. I did one based on yours, but instead of Korean references I used Chinese ones… it worked pretty well. Thank you!

  4. Awesome lesson Simon :D
    I use this so often haha

  5. Get more info about smart Korean school here.
    Discovery Channel


  6. I love how the girl woke up when you mentioned winning lollipops XD

  7. Came across your site by accident but I’ve already watched a lot of your videos, they’re so educational…and funny! I wish that I would have traveled outside of the US when I was younger. Do all that you can, live it up!

  8. Dear Simon! I am still working on my undergrad studies. I was wondering if you and Martina went through a program to teach in korea? If you did, what program did you use? I’m studying to be a teacher and I would love to know how it works! THANKS!!! :)

  9. These are really helpful.  At my school they already have Korean teachers teaching English grammar classes and the foreign teachers teach English Live! during the day, kind of like lab class.  There are books to go out of, but you’re not required to do it.  In fact, you can pretty much do whatever you want.  There are four graded assignments on speaking and writing during the semester, but other than that, literally ANYTHING is fair game.  One could spend the entire 45 minute class period just straight out talking to the students about whatever they like, as long as they are speaking in English.  So I’m taking some of your games and adapting it to the different levels of English expertise that each of my kids has.

  10. he was eating out of the palm of your hand!!

    lol that made me laugh

    but they had fun so that cool. wish i was there be owning them!! bring out my pimp cane

  11. Ok, my advanced students LC and LD (JLS hagwon) students loved this and told me “teacher… genius” so a job well done! One problem however is the powerpoint appears to be corrupted for us PC users (cough) ;-) Anyways I would love the ppt if you could send it to me?

  12. I love the font used on the battleship handout/game board. Is that a Mac font? I'm wondering if there's any way I can find something similar for the PC, so if you have a chance to let me know the font name, I'll see if I can search for it with Google. Of course the .pdf maintains the font, but it disappears when I open the Word doc, and it'd be cool to change around a few words using the fun font. I especially like that all the dots on the "i" letters are hearts. ^_^

  13. Hey Simon! Great class ideas! I have a quick question: do you conduct all your classes in the form of interactive games or are those on a weekly or even rare basis? Do you also lecture occasionally or is it like an activity class?

    • Thanks! Back when I did teach, it was all in the form of interactive games. I believe people learn more by being active and doing than by being passive and listening, especially when you're dealing with kids, who would rather not sit down and listen.

  14. i love it! thanks for sharing. will definitely use it with my students. =]

  15. do you have a girlfriend?

  16. Hi, I used this one in my own winter camp this year, with a couple of small changes, I just used regular pencils and had the students write 'x' and 'o'. Also, instead of one handout I used two – one with ships and one without – to simulate the traditional battleship layout. I didn't have the luxury of ppt or keynote, so I did a demo with a student a few times to help the students get the gist. Anyways, it went great! Thanks for providing so many excellent materials to work from. (I included my changes and such to give other teachers lacking computer resources an idea of how things can be adapted in different situations).

  17. Simon thats amazing!!!! Im so excited to become a teacher now!! ><

  18. also… don't know if you will respond to this or if you check these comments very often but im really curious to know what kind of program you are using for these lessons on your MAC. I have a MAC and want to become a little more computer savvy before I head out to Korea (Im almost finished with my undergrad). If you get this let me know :)


    -by the way your lesson plans are very impressive Simon, they remind me of my college French classes-where there is minimal lecturing, and creative ways of making the language useful and fun :)

  19. HAHA-Amaze your students with a MAC
    I have to admit im kinda PC retarded now and i LOVE MY MACBOOK!!!!!

  20. Sweet idea, and Crystal Castles! awesome

  21. seems to be a problemn with the PowerPoint – windows is telling me it wants to repair stuff inside the PPT. any ideas?

  22. This lesson looks like a lot of fun but I can't get it to open… Am I doing something wrong? I have a PC not Mac.

    • When you download the PC version it comes in a zipped folder. Inside the folder are three files: two game sheets (one editable Word file and one non-editable PDF) and a Powerpoint. Which one of these are you having difficulty with?

  23. Hey,

    Thanks for posting this. I love this game but have been struggling for a good way to explain it to my students. I'm using battleship for my open class and was wondering if you minded me using the template for teaching the rules of the game?

  24. The game is really great! I'll try it out in sunday school for our hebrew and greek lessons.

  25. Ok, so my question my seem plain stupid, but do you have permission to film your students? And posting the footage online?
    (I just have to ask. I'm such a media geek.)

    I think what you're doing is awesome and I really like your videos. It's a whole new world to me.

  26. This is good game defo very flexible with words you could change the words to s ok courseuit the students level

  27. What's fifa? Never heard of it and I've been into Korean culture for a little bit now. Hmm. Maybe I've heard of it and didn't know it lol. The class room looks nice and updated technology wise. Are all the classrooms like that? What type of school is this? Public, private etc? On the lollipops you should give away Blowpops lol if they're in Korea that is. Good idea with how you did that lesson day. 100% lectures all day can get boring. I remember falling asleep a few times in U.S. History with a boring lecture class in a hot room right after lunch (and I wasn't the only one either lol) so it's fun to interact with your classmates. You're sorta resting your brain but not really.

  28. My gal and I are off to Korea in a week.

    Inbetween packing and saying goodbye I found your site and it is ace, thanks so much.

    Will and Sam.

  29. This is so creative! I've been taught by Korean teachers, and if the students' other teachers lecture in the old fashioned way of all talk, no action, these kids must ABSOLUTELY love you! Great job. =)))

    PS – Compared to all of the other teachers' blogs that I've read, this is much more inspiring. Thanks!

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