A Research-based Proposal for EFL Writing Instruction in Korean Higher Education

Song-Eun Lee, Purdue University


Writing and its pedagogy have been underemphasized in formal school education in Korea; nevertheless, a number of studies on writing have been conducted in the English education field in Korean higher education. Among these studies, however, few have been conducted to afford a broader understanding of the current situation of English writing instruction carried out in Korean higher education; literature on Korean EFL writing instruction is lacking in current EFL writing scholarship (see Reichelt, 1999; Cimasko & Reichelt, 2011). This dissertation, therefore, explores how English writing is being taught and learned in real education settings in Korean higher education and examines student, faculty, and institutional needs and challenges in learning and teaching English writing. Additionally, the dissertation offers a proposal for EFL writing instruction that can be executed in Korean higher education to overcome found challenges and to meet the needs of stakeholders regarding English writing. Qualitative data were garnered from two research sites, Han Technology University (HTU) and Han University of Education (HUE), through participant observations of classes, consultation of course documents, and semi-structured in-depth interviews with students, instructors, and administrators associated with English writing. To complement the qualitative data, quantitative data were also gathered through an anonymous survey conducted both online and offline. Findings indicate that English writing is being actively and systematically taught at both research sites and that students and instructors have various challenges in learning and teaching English writing. Additionally, students have distinct needs for English writing depending on their institutions, disciplines, internal motivation, etc.; institutions and faculty also have particular needs for their students’ English writing with regard to contextual factors. Students at both universities have strong needs for more and extended feedback on their writing; they also prefer writing instructors who are able to teach English writing in particular disciplines and who are equipped with expertise in English writing and teaching regardless of language background (defying the stereotype and reality that English writing in Korea is mostly taught by native English-speaking instructors). Contrary to the qualitative data, the survey findings reveal a different reality for English writing instruction; a large percentage of the survey respondents had not been taught English writing before or during college. Additionally, the survey respondents have realistic and practical needs for English writing in the real world as opposed to the HTU and HUE students’ institutionally bound writing needs. Based on these findings, a proposal for EFL writing instruction addresses many pedagogical implications for educators, administrators, instruction designers, and instructors associated with English writing in Korean higher education. Accordingly, this study sheds light on the understanding of contemporary Korean EFL writing instruction and contributes to the current scholarship on EFL writing instruction within the second language writing field.




Silva, Purdue University.

Subject Area

English as a Second Language|Foreign language education|Higher education

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