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Volume 19 Number 1, Spring 2022, Pages 1-397   

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A Study on the Change in the Native English-Speaking Teacher Program in Korea: From the Historical Institutionalist Approach

    Hyoshin Lee

This study aims to analyze the current state of the Native English-speaking Teachers (NEST) program in Korea and predict its future direction. Specifically, the historical institutionalist approach was adopted to determine how 26 years of the NEST program has developed and how it will continue to develop. The analysis period focused on before and after the Lee Myung Bak Administration (2008 to 2013), which implemented a comprehensive English public education policy. The research has found that structural factors and institutional ones have influenced the current state of the NEST program. The structural factors included the policy environment, such as the administration's direction, education policy, and English education policy. Institutional factors included the direction of English education policy, the teacher qualification system, the relationship between stakeholders, and the professional operating agency. Findings also determined the current state of the NEST program in terms of teacher qualifications, status and roles of the NESTs, size and methods of placement, and professional operating organization. The historical institutionalist approach provides two possible scenarios regarding the future of the NEST program. While the program will follow the current system with few changes as indicated by the path dependency factor, a considerable change is expected to occur through structural factors, including the development of information technology and the implications of infectious disease policies affecting the aforementioned institutional factors. Contrarily, the second scenario could accompany a significant reduction of the NESTs and the expansion of the role of Korean teachers.

Keywords: native English-speaking teachers (NESTs), NEST program, English education policy, Historical Institutionalist Approach (HIA), English Program in Korea (EPIK)