Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs


Yanghee Kim

Publication Date



With the onset of globalization, the Korean government has emphasized English education as a key issue for Korea to succeed in the global economy. The Korean public education system has faced dramatic shifts in English education; for example, English introduction at an early age. Koreans feel considerable social pressure to acquire English proficiency. This pressure has encouraged parents to send their children to English speaking countries in order for them to learn English. This study examines three Korean students who came to the U.S. with the purpose of studying English. The research questions were: how do Korean students experience English inside and outside the classroom; what are the difficulties that Korean students experience during this process in the United States; and what linguistic and cultural experiences do Korean students experience as a result of being exposed to English language and American culture. To answer these research questions, I used several types of data collection: classroom observations; interviews; student journals; analyses of students writing samples and other personal documents; and my own reflective journal writings as a researcher. These data collection methods contributed to this study's findings. The data analysis was an ongoing process, which was performed as the data was collected. Constant comparison and thematic analysis methods were used to make sense of the data and to answer the research questions. As a result, several themes emerged across the three cases: emotional experiences; complexity of L2 learning and development; and social and cultural experiences in the classroom. When these Korean students relocated to the US, the role and influence of environment played a crucial role in their emotional and mental development and also in meaning making. The environment influenced how they perceived and internalized experience of social interactions. This study showed the complexity of L2 learning; namely, many factors played key roles in contributing to their language development. This study also displayed that the participants faced difficulties with different cultural values, but gradually they constructed a system of meaning in their L2 culture. Finally, this study provided insightful educational implications for US schools, educators, the Korean government and society, and Korean community. Additionally, it demonstrated implications for the classroom environment for the Korean students, and general implications for teacher education programs in the US.'


English language--Study and teaching (Middle school)--Southwest, New--Foreign speakers, English language--Study and teaching (Secondary)--Southwest, New--Foreign speakers, Korean students--Southwest, New--Attitudes, Student adjustment--Southwest, New

Document Type




Degree Name

Bilingual Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Belgarde, Mary

Second Committee Member

Pence, Lucretia (Penny)

Third Committee Member

Morford, Jill