This study examines mothers' experiences and perspectives of shadow education in the southeast regions of South Korea, Daegu and Changwon, in the multiple layered sociocultural and historical context of its society. When I was immersed in the mothers' world in those selected regions of South Korea in 2011 and 2012, expenditures on shadow education decreased for the first time. While there was still high demand for shadow education in order to secure "the foothold for better life opportunity", mothers I came across in the selected regions showed ambivalence about the prevalent pervasive shadow education. To fill the gap of literature on Korean shadow education, this study looked at mothers' motives for their children's shadow education and perceptions of social changes including education and family involvement. Their lived experiences and ambivalent feelings toward shadow education were scrutinized in order to understand the Korean shadow education phenomenon from the mothers' viewpoint. The study found that mothers' perspectives on shadow education practices were extremely complex. It is argued that mothers' pursuit of shadow education has been their way to adapt to the rapidly changing education and society. The mother participants perceived their role in their children's education as being most critical and their ways to be involved in their children's education were ever changing. The gendered practice of providing shadow education to children was changed from the image of `mothers watching from behind' to the image of `mothers suggesting ways in front'. What remains the same is, however, the strong connection between prestigious universities and desired occupations. Academic learning was still foundation of all endeavors for school aged children. The complexity of mothers' experiences of shadow education is also found in their ambivalence towards this prevalent phenomenon. Knowing the mothers' ambivalence and concern about educational migration, mothers wished to live in a society where true learning can take place for their children. Unique contributions of this study are to understand mothers' experiences and perceptions of Korean shadow education outside of the capital, Seoul, and mothers' perceptions of the different genres of shadow education. Mothers in the selected regions in the southeast of Korea, Daegu and Changwon, viewed mothers in Seoul as more demanding and motivated to provide shadow education and they legitimized some of their actions of providing extraordinary amounts of shadow education. Their viewpoints of educational environment in different places also went beyond the national border. Seeking a different educational environment abroad was, however, found only in several upper-middle class families who could afford such education. Stratified shadow education also suggests the role of shadow education in reproducing social class through education. Lastly, this study calls for further studies of transnational shadow education through educational migration and other family members' experiences and perspectives of the shadow education phenomenon.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2014. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Gerald Fry. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 215 pages, appendices A-C.
Lee, Soo Kyoung.
Shadow education in the southeast of South Korea: Mothers' experiences and perspectives of shadow education.
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