Tuesday, August 10, 2010

If there's a quiz on this, I'm screwed.

I've just finished the 15-hour EPIK Online Pre-Orientation Course, a mandatory training supplement.  With no cheating it took about 4 hours.  It seems customary for the designers of these things to seriously overestimate the amount of time their courses demand.  I'm reminded of the 20-hour Grammar Awareness Course I completed for my TEFL certificate in perhaps 5 hours (no cheating).

This EPIK course is mostly irrelevant, frequently bizarre and occasionally incomprehensible.  The first two characteristics are evident right from the start:  the course begins with a series of bullet-point lectures on developmental psychology delivered by a guy with an accent I can't place (South Africa?).  He began with Freud's psychoanalytic pseudoscience and I subsequently enjoyed watching him try to look professional and relevant while describing each stage's associated erogenous zone.  Yes, that anal stage is a doozy!  How does this apply to teaching English in a Korean public school?  It doesn't.  In fact, it doesn't apply to teaching anything anywhere unless you're teaching a class on the history of psychology, in which case it is a grotesque antiquity of some historical value.  Thanks, South African guy, for the superficial, unnecessary review of intro psych.

The text for each lesson is riddled with clumsy language and grammatical errors but still somewhat useful because each lesson ends with a quiz featuring questions and answers lifted verbatim from the text.  This leads to serious comprehension problems due to the text's high level of grammar fail, but don't worry if it's impenetrable:  the quizzes are unscored and allow you to guess until you arrive at the correct answer.  But the lesson isn't complete until it's been open in your browser for 15 minutes, so don't learn too quickly!

Did I mention everything is bullet points?  List of things I hated during my education:  (1) PowerPoint presentations (2) bullet points (3) PowerPoint slides of bullet points (4) waking up at early o'clock in the morning (5) watching others succeed and enjoy themselves.

So in conclusion, I've retained little of the information presented and I'm boned if someone grills me on it later.  Sorry EPIK, I just can't be bothered to remember that "Vygotsky's Sociocultural Perspective" is a subpoint of "The Cognitive-Development Viewpoint" of developmental psychology.  But the funniest part about this whole thing is that I had until January to finish the pre-orientation course.

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