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Title:Managing Change: The Sociocultural Implications of the Early English Language (Eel) Policy in South Korea
Author(s):Paik, Jisook
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Rizvi, Fazal
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Abstract:This is an interview-based qualitative study that examines the sociocultural and economic effects of the implementation of the early English learning (EEL) policy in Korea. The EEL policy, which was implemented in 1997, mandated compulsory English education from grade 3 and up in the public primary schools. This policy stems from the government-led globalization campaign in mid 1990s, which emphasizes the strengthening of spoken English skills because English is considered as an essential linguistic tool in the competitive global economy. Another characteristic of Korea's globalization campaign is deregulation and decentralization of various public services and institutions. In the education sector, these changes result in the explosive growth of commercial educational services and educational individualism. Within these broad contexts of sociocultural and economic changes, I micro-analyzed the implications of the EEL policy through the narratives of multiple educational stakeholders in two adjacent public primary schools and their communities. Both public and commercial educational stakeholders, educational providers and users participated in this study. This study reveals that the implementation of the national EEL policy has resulted in students' increased dependence on commercial EEL educational services mainly due to the lack of school preparedness for the new English program (e.g. teacher training) and the inflexible administration of the EEL education in the public schools (i.e. use of the uniformed textbook, curriculum, and class hours). In terms of commercial EEL services, the growing demand for them caused not only the expansion of EEL services but also increased competition among them. Under the circumstances, they use "competition" and "advanced learning" as main marketing discourse to attract more EEL consumers. Since the consumption of commercial EEL services is correlated with socioeconomic backgrounds of students, the growing dependence of commercial EEL education has produced the growing stratification of educational experiences among young students. The interviews with students and mothers from two communities, which are adjacent geographically but distant socio-economically, show the growing discrepancies of their educational experiences, which are also characterized as educational individualism and internationalization. Further implications of the EEL policy implementation are examined and a few suggestions to improve Korean EEL education are discussed.
Issue Date:2005
Description:268 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3199108
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2005

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