Introduction: Korean Language Learners
The purpose of this introductory chapter is to outline the background and rationale for this study. First, we describe the recent transformations in the public schools of South Korea due to the rapid increase of a culturally diverse student population. Because South Korea has been generally considered to be a monocultural and monolingual country for a long time, this recent transition has created significant challenges for classroom teachers, educators, and policy-makers with respect to supporting culturally and linguistically diverse students, especially those who are not yet fluent in Korean. In order to begin a discussion about supporting these students, we created a term to describe this growing student population: Korean language learners (KLLs), which pertains to returning students (Korean students who were a long-time resident in a foreign country) and immigrant students in South Korea who are from a variety of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In particular, this study focused on KLL students’ linguistic difficulty with regard to mathematical learning and classrooms. We describe the difficulty KLL students have with mathematics due to their Korean language proficiency, based on the prior research. This chapter also briefly describes the outline of the book as a whole.
KeywordsKorean language learners South Korea Culturally and linguistically diverse learners
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