Student behavior as experienced by native English speaker teachers in South Korea: a phenomenological study
With the rise of English as a global medium of communication in education, finance, and research, South Korea has become a mass consumer of English (Jo. Lee, 2010). The societal demand for English has created a unique market for young college graduates native to inner-circle English using nations (Collins, 2014). While such persons are highly valued and sought out for the inborn proficiencies they possess, they—when performing as teachers in Korea—are paradoxically devalued due to their raciocultural otherness. The differential treatment native English speaker teachers receive from students in Korean schools when expressed through misbehavior is of such that their experiences should not be trivialized, taken lightly, or dismissed. The present study has thus been undertaken to give voice to the experiential realities faced from a distinctly NEST perspective. The hermeneutic phenomenological research tradition as explicated in the writings of van Manen (1990; 2014) served as the basis for meaning determination. Anecdotal illustrations that serve as examples-in-point were gathered through written description, interview, and observation. The study concludes with (a) the presentation of a model that aims to address the phenomenon’s occurrence through political advocacy, right education, research as voice, media censorship, teacher recruitment practices (more professionally based), and a call to rethink and revise how “self” and “other” are defined; and (b) a statement of essence that captures the meanings veiled within the texts of life. The knowledge generated from this study may be used to (a) extend critical discourse on student misbehavior, (b) illuminate prevailing societal norms and values that inhibit Korea’s present transition into a multicultural society, and (c) reform a system of education whose recruitment policies contribute to a de-professionalization of the English language teaching field.