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A History of Curriculum Thought in South Korea: 57BCE-1987

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posted on 12.07.2013, 00:00 by Daeyoung Kim
This study is a history of curriculum studies literature in the context of South Korea. It includes a chronology with commentaries of curriculum books that appeared in South Korea from 1945 to 1987. It is offered to provide perspective to help anyone whose interests and professional pursuits deal with curriculum studies in South Korea within the context of increased world-wide interest in South Korean education. Approximately 150 curriculum books and articles that appeared from 1945 to 1987 are selected, analyzed, and discussed in the study. The study begins by introducing a brief overview of Korean education as well as curriculum from earliest times to Japanese colonization. The history is important not only to provide a more complete the picture of educational change but also to understand relationships between contemporary educational situations and curriculum studies. I regard curriculum studies as a formal area of inquiry in South Korea beginning in 1945. Since that time the urgent problems of education were to extirpate the remnants of the Japanese educational influences and to establish future directions of education. In particular the substitution of Korean teachers and textbooks for Japanese one was the most exigent issue. Naturally the concerns about curriculum were increased, and the demands for curriculum scholars occurred. Under these circumstances at least four dominant schools of curriculum thought were competing against each other. I have called them the curriculum experientialists, advocates of curriculum development, curriculum scholars of analytical philosophy, and curriculum sociologists. Curriculum literature and thought are described mainly according to each school of curriculum thought. Fundamentally, this study is a journey into the past in search of a deeper foundation for contemporary curriculum research, theory, policy and practice in South Korea. It concludes with recommendations for related historical research on curriculum studies in South Korea.



Schubert, William H.


Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level


Committee Member

Weldon, Ward Stovall, David He, Ming F. Robert, Patrick

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