Title: Critical review and creative suggestions for the native English speaking teacher policy in South Korea

Authors: Koun Choi; Jong-Bok Lee; Young-Joo Jeon

Addresses: Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, 184 Hills Rd, Cambridge CB2 8PQ, UK ' English Education Department, Mokwon University, 21 Mokwon-gil, Seo-gu, Deajeon, 302-729, South Korea ' English Education Department, Mokwon University, 21 Mokwon-gil, Seo-gu, Deajeon, 302-729, South Korea

Abstract: In order to invigorate communicative language teaching, until recently the South Korean government actively promoted the hiring of native English speaking teachers (NESTs) at state schools. However, mainly due to constrained budgets, many local offices of education have now started to rapidly cut the number of NESTs. This paper takes a critical approach to examine possible impacts of the recent variation in NEST policy on the disparity in learning opportunities between financially privileged and underprivileged students. We begin with a brief review of the history of NEST employment in South Korean state schools. Then, we delve into whether there are pedagogical advantages in team teaching over sole Korean English Teacher teaching. Later, the current policy's driving forces, potential beneficiaries and victims, and outcome of the policy will be discussed. On the basis of the analysis of the recent trend in NEST policy, suggestions for future policy reforms are provided.

Keywords: NEST policy; native English speaking teachers; LET; local English teachers; second language education policy; educational inequality; native English speakers; South Korea; language teaching; language learning; state schools; team teaching; financial inequality.

DOI: 10.1504/IJKL.2016.079759

International Journal of Knowledge and Learning, 2016 Vol.11 No.2/3, pp.190 - 203

Received: 26 Oct 2015
Accepted: 03 Jun 2016

Published online: 05 Oct 2016 *

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