SEPT  2007  [ Vol. 16, No. 4 ] Home | Contact Us | Korean | KF Home   
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Academic Window IV
Shaping an Identity for Korean Language Education

International Association for Korean Language Education
Korean language educators from Korea and abroad participated in a conference on "Teaching Korean as a Foreign Language" (August 11-12) to share their research findings and promote Korean as a "foreign language," beyond its role as the national language of the Korean people.

▲A total of 67 scholars participated in the conference's paper presentations and discussion sessions

Specialists of Korean language education and research from various countries, including the U.S., China, Japan, Vietnam, and India, attended a recent conference held at Yonsei University (Gakdangheon, Daewoo Hall). The conference, with a theme of “Teaching Korean as a Foreign Language,” started with a keynote speech by Kyung Hee University Professor Paik Pong Ja, a distinguished authority on Korean language education and research. This was followed by a special presentation by Professor Leo Van Lier of the U.S., a world-renowned scholar on foreign language education, and then a lecture session, paper presentations, and discussion of the conference theme, by those actively involved in Korean language education and research from Korea and abroad. In total, 67 scholars participated in the lecture and paper presentation sessions, which along with the related conference proceedings were compiled into an extensive publication, which could be used as a reference resource.

▲Kyung Hee University Professor Paik Pong Ja delivers a keynote speech at the 17th IAKLE conference

17th IAKLE Conference
Established in 1985, the International Association for Korean Language Education (IAKLE), the host of the conference, is the largest organization that focuses on Korean language education in Korea as well as the world, which includes some 1,200 members and ten chapters. It is indeed a major challenge to organize its regular events, which usually attract more than 500 participants.
As an academic association with limited resources, it is no easy task for IAKLE to organize and host its international gatherings, which require considerable planning, coordination, and follow-up efforts. Therefore, active support from the government, universities, and related organizations is essential. The Korea Foundation is one such organization that regularly extends assistance to IAKLE. Currently, support from the Foundation is used by IAKLE to implement training programs and workshops, at home and abroad, for Korean language educators from Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, and Eastern Europe.

Identity for Korean Language Education
Along with its basic theme, the 17th IAKLE conference also focused on a secondary theme of “Direction of Korean Language Education and Re-search.”As was pointed out by IAKLE President Cho Hangrok, there is difficulty in citing examples of efforts to comprehensively examine, identify, and discuss the identity of Korean language education from an academic perspective. The need for this kind of discussion results from an awareness that priority should be placed on the identification of academic characteristics and recognition of basic theories, to form a foundation for systematic education, as noted by President Cho. In this way, the diligent efforts of the IAKLE members are helping to lay an indispensable groundwork for the sustained development of Korean language education.





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