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Volume 14 Number 1, Spring 2017, Pages 1-210 PDF Download

Secondary Teachers' Perception on English Education Policies in Korea

    Jihyeon Jeon & Hyoshin Lee

Due to the expected value of English proficiency for living in a global society, acquiring English proficiency has become a major concern for many people in Korea. This attention is because people in Korea believe English is providing them with premium opportunities to better their lives such as being admitted to prestigious schools or getting high-paying jobs. The differential investment in learning English thus has yielded a new form of social inequality, dividing people between the English rich and the English poor. Perceiving the potential negative effects of the English divide and the importance of equipping Koreans' English proficiency, the Korean government has put effort and strategic investment into improving public English education in Korea. Studies on policies have often been presented in a multilingual context where the concept of language policies, language education policies, foreign language policies, and English language education policies are somewhat blurred. Looking at the English education policies in a monolingual society like Korea exclusively can present a focused view on the effectiveness of English education policies. This study presents the key policies put into practice to improve the quality of English education in Korea and highlights secondary teachers' responses to those policies in attaining the policy goals. A total of 1039 secondary teachers working in Daegu participated in the survey administered twice: 557 in 2010 and 482 in 2016. The perceptual changes are discussed with the participants' comments included in the results. The study will provoke discussion and intuition for managing English education policies in similar contexts.

Keywords: EFL, English education policy, secondary