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Incoherent interpretations of the Teaching English in English policy in Korea

  • Modern English Education
  • Abbr : MEESO
  • 2011, 12(1), pp.221-243
  • Publisher : The Modern English Education Society
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Language Teaching

Inhee Jo 1

1선문대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper aims to clarify some conceptual confusions concerning 'Teaching English in English (TEE)' policy in Korea. Despite the national drive, TEE has not been well received by Korean teachers, partly due to the mismatch between the test-orientation of the actual classrooms and the communicative orientation of TEE. Many teachers seem to prefer the English-Please class to the English-Only class: the English-Please class promotes maximal use of English, yet allows judicious use of the mother tongue to help less-prepared students. However, many surveys have reported quite the opposite results. I argue that this mismatch between the reality and the survey results derives in part from the incoherent uses of the term 'TEE': while it is declared to be the English-Only policy, its actual use in most survey questionnaires implies the English-Please policy. Three surveys were examined and found to exhibit such conceptual confusion,yielding distorted results. Based on the reinterpretation of the previous survey results,this study suggests that the educational authorities in Korea should abandon the English-Only policy and adopt the English-Please policy: the former is simply unrealistic and the latter is a step taking us in the direction of maximizing the use of English, which is the true spirit of Communicative Language Teaching.

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