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Volume 5 Number 4, Winter 2008, Pages 1-210   

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Localizing English-Only Policy at a University English Reading Program in Korea

    Myong Hee Ko

This study investigates Korean English instructors' perspectives and their local practices concerning a potential English-only policy at a university English reading program. English medium instruction has recently been encouraged at the university, in alignment with globalization fever. Korean English instructors have wondered whether instruction exclusively in English is the best policy for their program if English medium instruction is implemented. Six Korean English instructors in the program were interviewed on their attitudes towards a potential English-only policy. Their discursive protocols were categorized according to themes emerging in the data: (a) attitudes towards English medium instruction; (b) local constraints for English-only; (c) transformative solutions; and (d) localized professional development. The data revealed that English language policy has to consider local contexts for L1 incorporation because of, (a) the possibility of developing an unnatural classroom atmosphere in a homogeneous classroom; and (b) teachers' and students' proficiency. Accordingly, instead of mistakenly adopting an English-only policy which might prove problematic, a more mixed language approach with a rate of either 70:30, 80:20, or 90:10 was proposed in order to maximize students' learning. Participants' code switching practices in the classroom were discussed as an example of localizing English language policy.

Keywords: English-only policy, localized English-only policy, localized English language policy