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The teaching English part is quite similar I'd say. I don't think that you would find much of a difference between the actual teaching in China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

I'd say that the differences mostly lie in the schools themselves. 

The conditions and the environment will range quite a bit from one school to the next. For example, a public school is going to be different from a private school and then private  and public schools will also be different from one another.

What are the differences?

How are the schools different? Well, in general I thought public schools in China, Korea and Taiwan are more like a public school in the States, however the students will usually be wearing uniforms. The uniforms often look like gym clothes (sweatshirt and pants) for the younger students and then the older middle-high school students may be wearing a more formal one with a v-neck sweater and/or coat.

Private schools vary and can be pretty small with a few classrooms with just a table and some chairs. And they can be a lot bigger with multiple floors, classrooms, many desks, perhaps a library or even a computer room. Some of them can be pretty nice and others not so much.

In a public school in Korea  like EPIK or JET or Interac in Japan you're usually considered an assistant teacher (ALT). You co-teach with a native Korean or Japanese teacher. You're role may be rather small in the lesson like pushing play on the CD player, doing a warm-up game or it could be larger with more responsibility.

It depends on the school. In a private school in Korea (hagwon), China (training center), Taiwan (buxiban) and Japan (eikaiwa) you usually are the main teacher and you might have a co-teacher.

One difference I noticed in the cultural aspect is in China and Taiwan is you're more likely to have a parent come sit in on your lesson if you are teaching young children in a private school. This is where I liked Korea better. I never experienced that there although I have heard of it happening.

In China I worked in a training center (private school) where I had parents who seemed to have nothing better to do then come watch me teach their children. They would sit in the back of the room and watch. It was rather uncomfortable.

I worked in one private school (Buxiban) in Taiwan where once a month parents would come in to watch you and your co-teacher teach. Also common in Taiwan and China are teaching demonstrations. If you are looking for a job teaching in one of these places then you'll likely have to do a teaching demo.

In these the boss or manager will follow you into the classroom, perhaps give you a book and watch you teach for usually 10-15 minutes. This is considered part of the interview.

I never heard of these happening in Korea or Japan. Although if I remember correctly there might have been some teaching demonstration once in the public school in Korea. But if I remember correctly it wasn't in front of parents, but the principal and administration.

I think they may have different reasons for watching you teach, however I think they usually want to see how well you interact with the students.

So there aren't really differences in the actual teaching. The differences lie in the:

  • schools
  • class size
  • age range
  • salary
  • people you work with
  • culture
  • environment

So if someone says their experience teaching in China was different than Japan, then I wouldn't really believe them. Well it might have been different, but what was really different was probably their job, school or experience living in that place. 

It's more of a specific thing and less of a general one.

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