Self-Study in Korea

A Case Study on the Improvement of Classrooms with Self-Study
  • Hye Young ShinEmail author
  • Chilseong Im
Living reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


Teacher educators at Chonnam National University’s College of Education found that there were many opportunities for teachers to improve their classes in Korea, but the opportunities were not effective. Therefore, they decided to collectively study their teaching in their classes from 2013 to 2014 and then also sought ways to apply self-study for classroom teachers in the Korean educational milieu. One of the most distinctive features of this application of self-study to the Korean context is the concept of a critical group of colleagues. With university-based teacher educators at the Research Center for Curriculum and Instruction, teachers of different subject areas played critical roles in the group. These teacher educators collaboratively designed and enacted a self-study approach in a large-scale initiative involving 36 middle and high schools in South Jeolla Province from March until August 2015. They worked closely with the teachers in those schools in self-study research projects. All the while, the teacher educators were also studying the impact of self-study on their own teaching. The teachers who wanted to improve their classes received various suggestions about how to improve their teaching, prepared specific approaches and activities to try out in their classes, enacted these changes with students, and presented the results to the group. This process allowed teachers to have opportunities to improve their classes and gave teacher educators a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by teachers in the field. In documenting the process here, the authors of this paper demonstrate how self-study can be successfully adapted to the Korean educational context and therefore provide inspiration for how other educational researchers and teachers interested in self-study can translate and adapt the approach to their own contexts. This study shows that a collective critical peer group can be effective in educational situations where it is difficult for teachers to reveal their own problems or positively accept personal criticism due to the relationship with their peers, such as Korea.


Teachers’ professional development Self-study methodology Critical friends Korean secondary school teachers 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of World Language and CulturesAmerican UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Korean Language EducationChonnam National UniversityBuk-gu, Gwangju-siSouth Korea

Section editors and affiliations

  • Hafdís Guðjónsdóttir
    • 1
  • Lynn Thomas
    • 2
  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of IcelandReykjavíkIceland
  2. 2.Faculté d’éducationUniversité de SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada

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