Skip to main content

English educational policies of the U.S. Army Military Government in Korea from 1945 to 1948 and their effects on the development of English language teaching in Korea

Abstract

This study examines the English language teaching (ELT) policies and measures taken under the United States Army Military Government in Korea (USAMGIK) from 1945 to 1948, in an attempt to illuminate their implications on the current ELT in Korea. The study analyzes data derived from documents of the Korean and the U.S. governments, literature on Korean history, and literature on Korean education and language education. During the previous decade of Japanese colonial rule, the development of ELT had been stalled due to Japan’s war against the U.S. and its allies and the colonial government’s consequent suppression of Anglophone elements in the colony. With the arrival of the U.S. forces in 1945, however, the climate unfavorable to ELT reversed. The U.S. military government took various educational measures to enhance ELT. It reintroduced English as a required subject in the secondary-school curriculum and as a key subject in university entrance exams. It also established a state-run English language school and provided teacher training nationwide through the school. Despite these reform measures, however, Korean ELT maintained core characteristics set earlier during Japanese colonial rule.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Britannica, Encyclopædia. (2010). Ewha Women’s University. In Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

  • Choe, W. H. (1986). Curriculum reform in Korea during the American military government 19451948. The University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Chong, T. (Ed.) (1992a). Migunjonggi han’guk kyoyuksa charyochip 19451948 (Ha) 미군정기 한국교육사자료집 19451948 (하) (A collection of documents on the history of Korean education during U.S. military rule 1945–1948). Vol. 2. Seoul: Hongjiwon.

  • Chong, T. (Ed.) (1992b). Migunjonggi han’guk kyoyuksa charyochip 19451948 (Sang) 미군정기 한국교육사자료집 19451948 (상) (A collection of documents on the history of Korean education during U.S. military rule 1945–1948) Vol. 1. Seoul: Hongjiwon.

  • Department of State, United States. (1945). Foreign relations of the United States (VI): Diplomatic papers, 1945. The British Commonwealth, the Far East.

  • Dobbs, C. M. (1981). The unwanted symbol: American foreign policy, the Cold War, and Korea, 1945–1950. Kent: The Kent State University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • EU, 100-year History Compilation Committee of. (1994). Ewha 100nyonsa 이화100년사 (A 100-year history of Ewha Women’s University). Seoul: Ewha Women’s University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Galtung, J. (1971). A structural theory of imperialism. Journal of Peace Research, 8(2), 81–117.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Galtung, J. (1980). The true worlds: A transnational perspective. New York: The Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ham, C. (2003). Han’guk kyoyukkwajong pyonch’onsa yon’gu 한국교육과정변천사연구 (A study of the history of Korean curricula). Seoul: Kyoyuk Kwahaksa.

    Google Scholar 

  • Han, S.-h. (2011). State-run English test to be held on Saturday. The Korea Times, http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/include/print.asp?newsIdx=80560.

  • Harvey, D. (2003). The new imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jeong, D.-c. (2010). Sunung Sihom tutki p’yonga ttae pihaenggi t’ongje, pihaengsigan hwagin p’iryo 수능시험 듣기평가 때 비행기 통제, 비행시간 확인 필요 (Planes’ arrivals and departures to be controlled for the listening sections of the CSAT; needs to find out the flight-control hours). hankooki.com, http://news.hankooki.com/ArticleView/ArticleViewSH.php?url=life/201011/sp2010111614322995530.htm&cd=2302&ver=v002.

  • Kang, H. L. (2002). Kuktong Asia 3gaeguk taeip sunung yongo pigyo yon’gu 극동 아시아 3개국 대입 수능 영어비교 연구 (A study on the Scholastic Assessment Tests of the Far East Asian countries). Yongo Kyoyuk Yon’gu 영어교육연구, 24, 199–220.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kang, S.-w. (2010). New English exam likely to replace CSAT. The Korea Times, http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/include/print.asp?newsIdx=72583.

  • Kennedy, P. (1992). The rise and fall of the great powers: Economic change and militancy conflict from 1500 to 2000. New York: Vintage Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • KICE. (2010). 2011hangnyondo Daehak Suhak Nungnyok Sihom Q&A Charogip 2011학년도 대학수학능력시험 Q&A 자료집 (A collection of questions and answers on the College Scholastic Ability Test for the year of 2011). Edited by Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE). Seoul: KICE.

  • KICE. (2011a). 2011hangnyondo Daehak Suhak Nungnyok Sihom munjejiOegugo(Yongo) yongyok (holsuhyong) 2011학년도 대학수학능력시험 문제지-외국어(영어) 영역 홀수형 (The English section of the College Scholastic Ability Test for the year of 2011 (Type odd number)). Seoul: Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE).

  • KICE. (2011b). 2011hangnyondo sunung songjok punsok kyolgwa palp’yo 2011학년도 수능성적 분석결과 발표 (Analysis results of the College Scholastic Ability Test for the Year of 2011). Seoul: Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE).

  • KICE. (2011c). Kukka Yongo Nungnyok P’yongga sogae 국가영어능력평가 소개 (An introduction to the National English Ability Test). Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE). Retrieved June 26, 2011 from http://www.kice.re.kr/ko/board/view.do?menu_id=10179.

  • Kiernan, V. G. (2005). America: The new imperialism. London: Verso.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kim, J.-s. (2005). Pukhanui ch’inilpa ch’orie kwanhan yon’gu (1945–1948) 북한의 친일파처리에 관한 연구 1945–1948 (A study of the North Korean government’s handling of Japanese collaborators between 1945 and 1948). Dongguk Taehakkyo Taehagwon Yon’gujip, 35, 297–328.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kim, E. G. (2008). English education under U.S. military government (1). In The Korea Times: The Korea Times.

  • Kim, E. G. (2009a). English education under U.S. military government (2). In The Korea Times: The Korea Times.

  • Kim, E. G. (2009b). English education under U.S. military government (3). In The Korea Times: The Korea Times.

  • Kim-Rivera, E. G. (2002). English language education in Korea under Japanese colonial rule. Language Policy, 1, 261–281.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Korea, Statistics. (2005). Ch’ongsonyon ingu kupkam 청소년인구급감 (Youth population drastically reduced). Statistics Korea, 2005.

  • Korea, Statistics. (2008). Daehak chinhangnyul 대학진학률 (The college entrance rate of high school graduates). Statistics Korea.

  • KU, 100-year History Compilation Committee of. (2008). Korea Taehakkyo 100nyonsa (2) 고려대학교 100년사 (2) (A 100-year history of Korea University) Vol. 2. Seoul: Korea University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kwon, O. (2000). Korea’s English education policy changes in the 1990s: Innovations to gear the nation for the 21st century. English Teaching 영어교육, 55(1), 47–91.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lauterbach, R. E. (1947). Danger from the east. New York: Harper.

    Google Scholar 

  • McCune, G. M. (1946). Occupation politics in Korea. Far Eastern Survey, 15(3), 33–37.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McCune, S. (1948). Land redistribution in Korea. Far Eastern Survey, 17(2), 13–18.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Merriam-Webster. (2010). In The Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

  • Mommsen, W. J. (1980). Theories of imperialism. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Translated by P.S. Falla.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pae, T.-b. (1990). Yongo kyoyukhak 영어교육학 (A study of English language teaching). Seoul: Hansin Munhwasa.

    Google Scholar 

  • Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Polychroniou, C. (1995). Rise and fall of US imperialism. Economic and Political Weekly, 30(30), 54–64.

    Google Scholar 

  • Seiki, H. (1987). Migunjonghae isoso han’guginu kyoyukchaegon noryok 미군정하에 있어서 한국인의 교육재건 노력 (Koreans’ efforts to rebuild education during American military rule). In H. Abe (Ed.), Haebanghu han’gugui kyoyukkaehyok-Migunjonggirul chungsimuro 해방후 한국의 교육개혁-미군정기를 중심으로— (Korean educational reform after liberation from Japan with a focus on the period of American military rule) (pp. 53–118). Seoul: Han’gugyon’guwon.

    Google Scholar 

  • Seong, Y. (2004). Daehak Suhak Nungnyok Sihom Oegugo (Yongo) yongyogge yonghyangul michinun yoindul 대학수학능력시험 외국어(영어) 영역에 영향을 미치는 요인들 (Factors influencing English test scores in the College Scholastic Ability Test). Yongo Omun Kyoyuk 영어어문교육 English Language and Literature Teaching, 9(2), 213–237.

    Google Scholar 

  • SNU, 50-year History Compilation Committee of. (1996a). Seoul Taehakkyo 50nyonsa (Ha) 1946–1996 서울대학교 50년사(하) 1946–1996 (A 50-year history of Seoul National University 1946–1996) (Vol. 2). Seoul: Seoul National University.

    Google Scholar 

  • SNU, 50-year History Compilation Committee of. (1996b). Seoul Taehakkyo 50nyonsa (Sang) 1946–1996 서울대학교50년사(상) 1946–1996 (A 50-year history of Seoul National University 1946–1996) (Vol. 1). Seoul: Seoul National University.

    Google Scholar 

  • Son, I. (1992). Migunjonggwa kyokyuk chongch’aek 미군정과 교육정책 (The U.S. military government in Korea and its educational policies). Seoul: Minyongsa.

    Google Scholar 

  • YU, The 100-year History Compilation Committee of. (1985). Yonsei Taehakkyo paeknyonsa 1885–1985 Yonsei t’ongsa (Sang) 연세대학교백년사 (1885–1985) 연세통사(상) (A 100-year history of Yonsei University 1885–1985) (Vol. 1). Seoul: Yonsei University Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Eun Gyong Kim.

Additional information

Limited parts of this article were included in the author’s previous articles on the history of English education in Korea, which appeared in The Korea Times on December 17, 2008, January 7, 2009, and March 25, 2009.

Glossary

ALI

American Language Institute

CSAT

College Scholastic Ability Test

DOE

Department of Education

ELT

English language teaching

KIU

Kyǒngsǒng (Keijō) Imperial University

MEST

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology

MOE

Ministry of Education

NEAT

National English Ability Test

SNU

Seoul National University

USAMGIK

United States Army Military Government in Korea

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kim, E.G. English educational policies of the U.S. Army Military Government in Korea from 1945 to 1948 and their effects on the development of English language teaching in Korea. Lang Policy 10, 193 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10993-011-9204-9

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10993-011-9204-9

Keywords

  • Korean ELT
  • U.S.-Korea
  • U.S. military rule
  • USAMGIK