A Study of Korean Schools in South-Central United States: Meeting Needs and Expectations of Adolescents

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Judith Beauford


Pyonggap Min


Dorothy Ettling


Francis Boakari


Phillip Lampe


Despite the rapid growth of Korean Schools (KS), from two in the 1960s to 681 by 2008, a few studies of KS in the United States have been done. This study endeavors to shed some light upon the challenges and difficulties that Koreans and their descendants who live in the United States are presently facing. In order to achieve such a purpose, it makes use of Bhattacharyya's (2004) felt-needs principle of community development and Phinney's (1992) Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure to investigate the relationship among ethnic identity, and felt-needs and satisfaction with KS. Three phases of this mixed-method study were developed in order to gauge the needs and satisfaction of the adolescents and how their needs and satisfaction differed depending upon their ethnic identity. The cultural similarities and differences between the adolescent and adult groups are discussed in the third phase of the study. Thirty-nine items of researcher-designed instruments measured the needs and satisfaction of 211 adolescents from 35 KS. The findings were classified into five categories: Learning Korean, Teachers, Friends, Usefulness, and School Structure. This study found a strong relationship among felt-needs, satisfaction, and ethnic identity of the study found a strong relationship among felt-needs, satisfaction, and ethnic identity of the sample. Most are working toward or have already found their ethnic identity. For the adolescents, learning Korean language and culture seems to be grounded in the need to have a common language at home and to better define their ethnic identity. Based on the results of this study, suggestions are given for the further improvement of KS in the United States and directions for further study of KS.

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