Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Paper Proposal

I have decided to do my paper on the long-term effects of English education on Korean society. Since arriving in Korea, I have had many random people approach me wanting me to teach their children (some of whom do not even speak Korean yet) or themselves English. During my time in Japan, I was approached with similar requests but I believe the drive to learn English here may edge out Japan. It is this drive that interests me. All too often I find myself wondering why one would be required to pass a test in a language that they won't be using in order to gain employment. It seems that the time wasted trying to master something that will be of no use when it comes to doing the actual job could be used to learn more about the job itself.

Another thing that I have noticed is that there are a plethora of places that have signs or placards in English where it would be more sensible to write them in Korean or in both. I suppose I should be grateful that Korea abounds with English and I am but I often ponder what it does to the psyche of the Korean people. I know that this is not the United States but I cannot help but to compare the two countries. I could not imagine having to study Spanish or German, for example, to read the signs on a building, etc. I am aware that there are certain ethnic enclaves where it would behoove one to know a foreign language but they do not compare to studying English in Korea. And yes, I know that English is THE international language but I still believe that too much English can lead to the destruction of a country's national character. Maybe I am being too critical.

In my paper I want to take a close look at the reasons why a country would want to learn English with such zeal and examine what the outcome of such ardor would be. Will English become a second official language of Korea in the future? Will English become THE official language of Korea in the future? Additionally, I would like to conduct a survey to ascertain what everyday Koreans think of English.


  1. Yeah, Why English only?
    I am thinking. And sometimes I tell my students 'If you are a great person in the future and Korea would be the strongest country in the world, others would learn Korean. Therefore if you don't want to learn English, be a great man to change the world...' Is it make sence??
    I am looking forward to seeing your paper later on. Cheers!

  2. hi, sometimes I wonder why we koreans are into English so much. From kids to older generation
    their main subject is English. Even though I' English teacher, I don't understand this atmosphere. Your research will give me clear answer! Good Luck!

  3. dear William,

    This seems to crossover with the talk that I'm going to give at the TESOL conference in New Orleans next March. I would be glad to share anything that I find in preparation for the conference with you–if you promise to reciprocate with me. :-)

    I imagine that as you continue doing your literature review search you'll want to narrow this topic down a great deal. It seems to me that the topics that you mentioned above are all, individually, more than enough information for a thesis paper. The character of your thesis, however, is less like a research paper in the “social science” sense of things [i.e. doing an experiment, or an ethnographic study of some culture], so make sure that you talk with your advisor to confirm that you are meeting his/her expectations for how to go about conducting this kind of “history/policy” research.