Teaching minoritised children in South Korea: perspectives of teachers in early childhood education and care


Inclusive Education

Document Type


Publication Date



Most policies and teaching practices in early childhood education and care (ECEC) are based on the developmental paths of children from mainstream middle-class, White, European, heterosexual households. The common discourse often summed up as universalism significantly minoritizes children deviating from this “norm” and pathologizes their differences. Efforts toward bringing about changes in the ECEC field can start by examining individual ECEC teachers’ views on and teaching practices for minoritised children in various contexts. Set in South Korea, which has recently been populated by a relatively small yet exponentially growing minoritised population, this qualitative study examines ECEC educators’ approaches to teaching ethnolinguistically minoritised children. We interviewed nine ECEC teachers who have taught a small number of minoritised children throughout their careers. We found that the ECEC teachers valued sameness and harmony over difference and emphasised good teaching practice and caring for the minoritised children’s emotional needs. The teachers’ approaches seemed to be propelled by the ECEC’s dominant discourse, developmentally appropriate practice, and traditional Confucian beliefs. Using critical race and feminist theories that illuminate participants’ lived experiences and identities, we discussed that the teachers’ good-willed yet neutral approaches may have inadvertently led to inequitable practices and oppressive experiences for minoritised children.

Journal Title

Educational Review

Journal ISSN


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)