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A Critical Examination of South Korean Manager Moms: English Language Education Practices in a Context of Truncated Lifelong Learning

Chung, Ji Hye Jaime / J. J. (2016) A Critical Examination of South Korean Manager Moms: English Language Education Practices in a Context of Truncated Lifelong Learning. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This study explored the lives of South Korean ‘manager moms’ within the integrated conceptual framework of Korean Confucianism, English and globalisation, and lifelong learning. To understand these ‘manager moms’ and shed light on the topic of mothers in the educational field, what they do for children’s English language education and how they go about doing it were investigated by qualitative research methods. Thirty South Korean participants were involved in articulating their perceptions of ‘manager moms’ and/or being ‘manager moms’ in the male-centred Confucian society; they shared their experiences and stories through interviews, focus group meetings, observations, and diaries. These personal stories demonstrated how their daily conducts as ‘manager moms’ affect themselves, their children, family, and the wider society. Their devotion and enthusiasm towards children’s English language education confirmed the significance of this global language in the South Korean society and at the same time verified the unique position these mothers hold in this context. The study aimed to investigate why this ‘manager mom’ phenomenon is happening, what it means, and why it is important by focusing on listening to the voices of mothers themselves. To these mothers, children’s education means so much; it means fulfilling responsibility to maintain the collective family name, identifying themselves within the family and society, and ‘succeeding’ as mothers (Lee, 2011). The notion of ‘succeeding through education’ that provides people with power ties nicely into the scholastic Confucian doctrine that has shaped the South Korean society for a long time. Through education, hereditary succession of wealth and credentials are legitimately passed down (Lee, 2016) which is embedded in the ruling philosophy of the nation. To analyse the rich data effectively, thematic analysis was employed. With the derived themes, a model was conceptualised which initiated the formulation of a substantive theory explaining the South Korean ‘manager mom’ phenomenon. The findings of this study demonstrate that there are micro, meso, and macro levels of forces that drive the phenomenon; personal desires, familial expectations, and societal pressures governed by Confucian values mingled with added powers brought in by globalisation have shaped a new motherhood or mother image called ‘manager moms’. They take certain actions and approaches to be ‘successful’ mothers and earn a certain position within the household and society. The processes these mothers go through and what they achieve from these conducts are understood from the perspective of lifelong learning. By exploring lives of ‘manager moms’ who indeed occupy a special place in society, this study managed to capture voices of mothers who hold the most power in children’s education but whose opinions are ironically underrated. After all, mothers are the first and last teachers for their children who guide and coach children by providing endless love and support.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr. Ji Hye Jaime / J. J. Chung
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2016 14:45
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2016 14:45
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14402

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