S-Space College of Education (사범대학) Foreign Language Education Research Institute (외국어교육연구소) 외국어교육연구 (Foreign Language Education Research) 외국어교육연구 (Foreign Language Education Research) vol.12 (2009)
우리 시대의 영어만능주의
The ‘Almighty English’ phenomenon in our era
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 외국어교육연구소
- 외국어교육연구, Vol.12, pp. 78-94
- English education; adoption of English as an official language; functionalism; English teaching method; teacher training program; Ivan Illich; Max Weber
- The ability to command fluent English has long been seen as a way of achieving status, power, and economic prosperity in Korean society. As English is increasingly established as a global lingua franca, this tendentious view of English as an almighty tool for personal success and international competitiveness has gripped the mind of Korean people more strongly, driving the entire society into English learning fever. It also serves as a driving force for such controversial agendas as the governmental policy of introducing English immersion programs in high schools, the proposal to adopt English as an official language, or the urge to lecture in English in college classes. However, boosting this idea that English competence is everything may result in the loss of the opportunity to cultivate humanistic knowledge and culture individually and the impoverishment of indigenous culture and national heritage collectively. Another often overlooked source for promoting this social myth is the discipline of English education itself, which has been professionalized in its emphasis on teaching and learning methodologies and techniques, particularly in EFL situations as in Korea. Predominant interest in how to teach rather than what or why to teach is likely to strip the study of a language of its expressive and aesthetic characteristics as well as critical or comparative thinking. The functionalism prevailing in the discipline of English education inevitably influences the nation's teacher training programs, whose overemphasis on techniques is likely to reduce English teachers to mere ‘teaching machines,’ or experts without souls.