Journal Search Engine
Search Advanced Search Adode Reader(link)
Download PDF Export Citaion korean bibliography PMC previewer
ISSN : 1226-4822(Print)
ISSN : (Online)
The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea Vol.26 No.2 pp.195-223

An Analysis of English Teachers' Metalinguistic Discourse

Kathy Lee
Assistant Professor, Korea University


In this paper, I examine an effort by the South Korean Ministry of Education (MOE) called the “Teaching English in English” (TEE) policy, which is still in practice today. In 2001, the MOE enacted TEE to improve the proficiency of Koreans through English instruction, with the implicit acknowledgement that 40 years of traditional teaching methods had not produced competent English users. To understand this policy's implications for teachers, I draw on ethnographic observations and interviews at a government-sponsored center, where Korean teachers of English participated in an intensive English course. Approaching this policy from a language ideological framework, I pay attention to their metalinguistic discourse about English. Analysis of the findings reveals that teachers challenged but also reproduced dominant language ideologies that prevented viewing themselves as legitimate English teachers. Based on these teachers' language ideologies, it is not helpful to view problems in English education as due to teachers' lack of English skills or confidence. The findings illustrate the importance of understanding the social and language practices of the local community when designing a well-informed language policy that can effectively transform language education and challenge ideologies that view Koreans as poor English speakers or English as a language of the Other.