English language education in East Asia: Some recent developments

Guangwei Hu, Sandra Lee McKay

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

167 Citations (Scopus)


This article presents an overview of the perceived importance and accelerated spread of English language education, both formal and informal, in three East Asian countries (i.e. China, Japan and South Korea) against the backdrop of globalisation and emergent ideological, sociocultural and educational trends. It begins with a review of the recent developments in English language education in each of the countries, the ostensible reasons for English language education and the ideological issues contributing to the recent English language education initiatives. This is followed by a discussion and a critique of the common trends and themes manifested in the three countries' recent initiatives to reform and improve English language education. The article concludes with a number of policy recommendations for English language education in East Asia and other countries, where English does not have an institutional role to play.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-362
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • East Asia
  • English language education
  • ideology
  • Japan
  • South Korea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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