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The Analysis of Pre-school English Ballet Program’s Pedagogical Rationale and Methodology

Jeong, Ok Hee 1

1성균관대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

It is estimated that 26 ballet staffing firms for pre-schoolers have popped up between 1997-2004 in Korea and sent their lecturers to various culture centers,leading to the boom of ballet as a liberal education. Intrigued by the popularity of its subgenre “English ballet”, this study analyzes the pedagogical rationale and methodology of pre-school English ballet programs in Korea. he research subject is “Julie’s English Ballet”, one of the most popular English ballet franchise staffing firms in Korea. Julie’s English ballet provides standardized classes all over country that are structured with supplementary textbooks, CDs,props, and teacher’s guide. The company advertises that through English ballet program, students can “learn English phonology and ballet movements during the critical period,” which reveals its pedagogical rationales. First, by mentioning “critical period,” it advocates the Critical Period Theory, suggested by Wilder Panfield, that the younger, the better one acquires a language. Second, the company suggests phonology as its methodological rationale, while the study argues that total Physical Response theory better fits the characteristics of English ballet program that emphasizes repeatability of both ballet and English-learning. Third,by combining English and ballet, English ballet is geared toward English Immersion Education, or Content-Based Learning in English. Conducting an ethnographic research on Julie’s English ballet, the research analyzed its curricular structure, characteristics, and pedagogical methodologies. According to the Content-Based Instruction model by Myriam Met (1999), Julie’s English Ballet seems content-driven rather than language-driven, in that dancemajored instructors teach it as a part of ballet programs. However, as English ballet’s curricular contents is divided into ballet and creative movement, the curricular imbalance between them results in the weakening of its pedagogical goals. Ballet is curtailed and marginalized while creative movement is emphasized. As lots of time and energy are spent on topic-based activities of creative movement,the whole class is transformed to be “English through Ballet (language-driven)”rather than “English for Ballet (content-driven).”eaching English AND ballet at the same time inevitably accompanies sacrifice of the educational effect. English ballet offers a learning context that is meaningful and interactive enough to help students learn English more easily and naturally. However, it has a danger to provide insufficient ballet experience to be considered as a meaningful ballet class, which is marginalized by English and creative movement. In that sense, while praising its achievement and potential to invigorate job market for dancers and cultivate ballet audiences, the dance field should also beware of the possibility that ballet in English ballet only remains as the sugarcoat of the pressure for English in the Korean society.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.