The Future for Ethnic Korean Minority Education in China: A Challenge for Teacher Education
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Teacher education has always been a structural issue in matching practice with policy in delivering quality education in the majority of China’s ethnic minority schools. Among the notable exceptions has been ethnic Korean education, well established prior to 1949, and with a record of quality learning outcomes above national averages. However, rapid social change in China since the reform period began in the 1980s has posed new challenges to ethnic Korean education, magnified by the continuing language education policy agenda of teaching Putonghua, (Mandarin Chinese) for use as an homogenizing lingua franca in a linguistically diverse nation, and amidst a growing mainstream demand for Korean language education. In one perspective the situation reflects the tensions between dominant and minority languages evident in many settings experiencing the effects globalization, but Korean language also has a practical utility as linguistic capital both in China and regionally, as well as its local cultural significance. Korean bilingual teacher education thus confronts a complex array of dynamic circumstances in preparation of teachers for the provision of quality education that satisfies not only ethnic minority education policy positions but also the diverse and competing needs of Korean families. Socioeconomic aspirations are driving mobility, shifting family educational choices, and student numbers are declining, schools are closing, and the teacher workforce is aging and shrinking, and teacher education programs struggle to attract high quality candidates. This chapter outlines the problems, dilemmas, and opportunities facing Korean-Chinese bilingual teacher education, and evaluates some of the reforms introduced with the aim of ensuring provision of quality bilingual teaching and equitable education outcomes for minority Korean students.
KeywordsKorean-Chinese Bilingual teacher education Ethnic Korean education Korean language Pre-/in-service teacher education
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