TESOL: from Truro to North Korea

Two dentists from Truro are successfully practising in North Korea after learning to teach English as a second language with Truro and Penwith College.

Neil and Jane McDonald are qualified dentists in the UK who applied to work on a specialist project developing dentistry in North Korea. They both completed a full-time intensive Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) programme at Truro College to facilitate their work and assist their local university with teaching English to their students.

Neil and Jane have just finished an introductory few months at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology practising dentistry, alongside helping the English Department lecturers with informal language learning. They have been running ‘English Corner’ a couple of evenings per week which saw around 20 students from the university attend to improve their linguistic skills.

“We’ve found we need to have much more Korean language with which to do our dental work well and, now being the recipients of language lessons ourselves, know what to look for in terms of lexical frameworks. We’ve been complemented on our Korean language skills by some very kind (and forgiving) local people!” said Neil and Jane.

The couple return to Pyongyang in September and hope to teach regular classes at the university with an emphasis on medical terminology, using the skills and methodology developed during their TESOL training.

Truro and Penwith College is the only provider of TESOL courses locally, offering either a seven-week intensive full-time course, or part-time programmes during daytimes or evenings, at Haven House in Truro city centre. The course equips students with the skills and knowledge to teach English as a foreign language anywhere in the world. Former students have taught in China, Vietnam, Ecuador, Russia, Thailand, Spain, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic.