This paper examines issues regarding the mainstream English curriculum for North Korean refugee students in South Korea, and delineates a participatory English curriculum as an alternative to the problematized mainstream English curriculum. During the first phase of the study, the researcher observed ten English classes and interviewed the principal, five English teachers, and thirteen students. In the second phase, the researcher implemented the participatory English curriculum based upon three steps suggested by Auerbach (1992). The findings suggest that mainstream English classes fail to motivate students and stigmatize them as low-achievers. In contrast, the participatory classes developed in response to students' needs help them become active agents of their English learning as well as of their new lives in South Korea through enhanced participation in class. The results of this study have implications for the development and implementation of a customized curriculum for marginalized students like refugees especially in EFL contexts.
- English curriculum development
- North Koreans
- Participatory English curriculum
- Refugee students