Working Papers in Educational Linguistics (WPEL)




South Korea is well known for its distinctive, sometimes excessive, enthusiasm for education. This education fever is derived from South Koreans’ concern with the pursuit of education as a way of achieving socioeconomic status and power, and thus, competitions to score well on tests have been valorized in South Korea. Now that English has become the language of power and opportunity in South Korea, this paper aims to examine how education fever has promoted de facto English language policy over top-down English language policy. By referring to Cooper’s (1989) and Kaplan and Baldauf’s (1997) frameworks, this paper interprets private education in South Korea as de facto policy, which exercises greater influence on how language policy is developed in practice than a top-down statement can.