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A Comparative Analysis of South and North Korean English Textbooks

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The tension of South Korea and North Korea has escalated into creating regional conflicts such as the Yeonpyeong Island war and the shutdown of the South and North Cooperative Economic Zone in Gaeseong Area. Despite the tension South and North Korea must look ahead to reunify the divided country by appreciating each other’s social system and educational system to ease the road of the unification. One area we can explore is the educational system, English education in particular since foreign language education presupposes the international coexistence and mutual understanding and exchanges. The paper hired the qualitative and quantitative approaches for the analysis of the curriculum, pedagogic method and textbooks used in teaching English in both South and North Korea. The findings are: The substantial differences are found in English textbooks wherein English education of the north is for the means of spreading revolution, and that of the south is for learning practical English of daily lives. The former emphasizes the written languages in science, social moral and collective family spirit along with related oral language patterns and drills. The latter designed for communicative language teaching of oral language and more planned approaches of new vocabulary exposure. The pedagogic implications obtained from the study is that both South and North Korea share the curriculum and textbooks to amalgamate the strength of both and abandon the mishaps caused by the ill-designed curriculum and methodologies as currently practiced in both countries.
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Keywords: Analysis of Textbooks; English Textbooks; North Korea; South Korea

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Elementary Education, Korea National University of Education, Cheongju City, Chungbuk, 28173, Republic of Korea

Publication date: July 1, 2018

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