My name is Shi-in Lee.
And what should I call you?
Thank you. Do you work or are you a student?
I work. I do interpreting and translation.
Oh. Can you tell me about your job?
Well, there are different types of um interpreting. There is medical interpreting, and there’s legal interpreting, business interpreting, and conference interpreting etc. And they are all very different and you get to meet different types of people. Um, it’s very rewarding because you are helping people who doesn’t have much English and you get paid for you job as well. So you get to learn a lot about current issues, and at the same time, you get a lot of headaches too, because you get to hear a lot of problems from your clients. So it’s a very interesting job, and I’m enjoying it still, after seventeen years.
And err, when is the busiest time in your job?
I can’t say that um…my busiest you know at a certain time of the year, it’s very hard to predict so I really can’t say - say around, well Summer is the busiest time of the year, or winter is the busiest or, I really can’t say that a certain time of the year is the busiest.
And if you could change your job, what would you prefer to do?Sometimes umm, although I’m working and I’m helping people and without an interpreter I guess nothing much can happen, because there won’t be any communication, proper communication between you know, two parties. But then again, interpreters are not supposed to give an opinion. So you are left with the feeling that you are not contributing at all towards the result of the session. So if I changed my job I think I would pick something which is completely different from interpreting and where I can actually contribute towards the result of the discussion. So that’s what I might do in the future, you never know.
What kind of music do you enjoy listening to?
Well actually, I like all sorts of music. My husband says I have Catholic tastes in music. So I like classical music, of course, because I played piano when I was a little girl. Actually, not just as a little girl, I still play. So I like classical music, and I like jazz, blues, you know, even heavy metal. Whatever is good I can appreciate it.
Do you play a musical instrument?
Yes I play piano and I play a little bit of violin as well.
And what musical instruments do most people play in your home country?
Um in Korea, I think most girls from a proper family would play at least one musical instrument and which is normally piano. So, a lot of girls would you know, start playing piano when they are five or say seven. And I started playing piano when I was six I think.
If you can play a musical instrument, does this help you to enjoy music more?Yes and no. In some ways it makes you, I guess take more interest in music and when you listen to the music you know how to appreciate it properly.
But then again if you get to hear certain pieces of music on the radio which you’ve played before, straight away you find yourself sort of analysing the performer. So you really can’t relax, so it’s sort of- it’s not maybe enjoyable as much. It suddenly, it becomes a chore; your mind is at work, analysing and assessing the performance. So I guess yes and no.Thank you. Now I’d like you to speak for one or two minutes on a topic. You have one minute to plan your answer. Here is a pencil and paper to make notes. Here is your topic: I’d like you to describe your favourite teacher.
Thank you. Can you start speaking now please? You have one to two minutes. I will tell you when the time is up.My favourite teacher, um, his name is Kwan Sing Pak. He was my English teacher when I was in High school in Korea. You know in Korea, all the English teachers are basically Korean. Umm..he was my teacher um, for two years, um Year eleven and Year twelve. You know the girls of that age um they normally like teachers, you know good looking, with the looks, with good sense of humour and- and all. But this specific teacher was not physically attractive at all. He was rather, not terribly good looking. (I’m sorry to be saying this). But I really adored this teacher because um, I guess to start with I loved studying languages and he was teaching English and I really loved learning English from him. And he was very passionate about his job, teaching, and he was actually enjoying it, and I could tell he was enjoying it. He had good teaching skills. He encouraged and nearly coerced, you know, contribution from the students.
And you could actually be quite sure sitting in his class that when you give answers, how silly they might sound, you would never be laughed at or anything. So you were feeling quite free to have a conversational discussion with the teacher or other students in the class. And what was also quite special about him was that he had good sense of humour, much so much so that you only remember his jokes when actually you have the test paper in front of you and you look at all the questions and you couldn’t remember the answers but his jokes only!
Thank you. And did other students also like this teacher?
Oh yes. Yep. Most of the students just loved this teacher. He was very popular.
So we’ve been talking about teaching. I’d like to ask you some questions about teaching and education. What are the qualities of a good teacher?
I should say a good teacher is one who always is well prepared for the class. And I guess if the person has a good sense of humour that would help because, you know, boring, ah, session, nobody would sit in the class, you know, hours after hours.
And what differences in teaching styles have you experienced with different teachers?Some teachers can be very knowledgeable. I could tell that the person had a lot of knowledge and experience and everything. But the person just didn’t have the skills to convey all that to the students. And so the rendering was really boring and everybody was just falling asleep, whereas some teachers they knew how to pass that down to the teachers somehow and the session was completely enjoyable.
Should teachers use discipline in the classroom?Coming from where I, um, am, I think yes, teachers should discipline students. In Korea, students would respect the teachers. My mum’s generation was more so, and my mum had to say one day, she thought teachers don’t eat, don’t go to the toilet, they are demi-Gods and wouldn’t even step on the shadow of the teacher, because you respect the teacher so much. But I don’t think same kind of respect is here and students sometimes misbehave during class hours and I just find it hard to understand. There is not enough respect for the teachers and also for the learning itself.
And can students learn from computers?I guess yes and no. I see my children, they’re sitting in front of the computer sometimes writing their essays and getting information through the net. In that case, I guess comps can be educational and helpful. But sometimes I see my son sitting in front of the computer hours after hours doing you know, video games. I don’t think in that case computers are educational or healthy.
Can you describe the education system in your home country?In some ways it is quite similar to the Australian education system. The only difference I can tell straightaway is that Kindergarten is not part of the primary school education in Korea whereas here, we start from kindergarten. And three years we call it junior high. And then three years high school, and then four years, normally four years, we call it university education, tertiary education. So I don’t think there is big difference between two systems.
When should children start formal schooling?Formal schooling, I guess it starts in Australia from the age of five whereas in Korea, from six? I don’t know, sometimes when I see little K students looking a little bit tired, makes me wonder whether they’re a bit too young to be starting schooling at that age. But, I really have no idea.
Has education changed since your parents’ day? You know, in the last twenty-five years?I think it’s changed a lot, although I can’t say that I understand what education was like when my mum and dad, when they were in school. But definitely, well I’m talking about the Korean situation, in Korea, you have to study many many more subjects than your father or your mother would have, you know, in the past. And you use like different equipment, like computer and things, all these audio-visual teaching material. I guess in that way education has changed a lot.
Ok thank you. That is the end of the speaking test.