English education policies in South Korea: Planned and enacted

Jeehyae CHUNG, Tae Hee CHOI

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

36 Citations (Scopus)


In South Korea, the government has actively promoted English proficiency as an indispensable tool in ascertaining competitiveness of individuals and the country. This chapter examines English education in South Korea and its policies as contextualized in its socio-cultural backgrounds. The discussion draws on theoretical insights that view policies as an interactive process among policy documents, the context and the actors in it (Ball, Maguire, & Braun, 2012; Menken & García, 2010). First, the background is laid out by illustrating the symbolic and practical meaning of the English language in the Korean context. Following that, the chapter traces the changes in English language teaching (ELT) policies through a historical survey of curricular reforms and also presents the current agenda of ELT policies, within which the communicative approach is strongly recommended, as reflected in the seventh National Educational Curriculum. In an attempt to investigate ELT practice in context, two case studies, one at the primary level and the other at the secondary level, are presented, particularly to determine the relationship between policy and practice. Both case studies demonstrate that while teachers make efforts to follow the policies, how they actually implement them depends on their unique contexts and individual beliefs. The chapter concludes with suggestions for future research and policy making. Copyright © 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnglish language education policy in Asia
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9783319224640
ISBN (Print)9783319224633
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Chung, J.-y. & Choi, T.-h. (2016). English education policies in South Korea: Planned and enacted. In R. Kirkpatrick (Ed.), English language education policy in Asia (pp.281-299). Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.


  • English education policy
  • English language teaching
  • Medium of instruction
  • Teachers as actors
  • Actor agency
  • Language planning and language policy
  • Policy enactment
  • South Korea


Dive into the research topics of 'English education policies in South Korea: Planned and enacted'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.