Cluster Analysis of the Challenges of Teaching Korean to Immigrant Learners

Wonki Lee1, Hojung Kim2,
Author Information & Copyright
1Purdue University
2Seoul National University
Corresponding Author: E-mail:

ⓒ Copyright 2021 Language Education Institute, Seoul National University. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Jun 17, 2021 ; Revised: Jul 29, 2021 ; Accepted: Aug 23, 2021

Published Online: Aug 31, 2021


This study examined challenges Korean language teachers face in classroom teaching contexts, based on typologies derived from a cluster analysis. A total of 181 teachers teaching adult immigrants were surveyed on their challenges using a 24-item survey across the following five dimensions: (1) teaching contents and teaching methods, (2) curriculum design and resource development, (3) language ability assessment, (4) learner counseling, and (5) cultural education. The cluster analysis suggested a three-cluster pattern based on the degree of challenge. Results indicate that the clusters differed significantly in the degree and order of perceived challenges. In addition, when socio-demographic data were considered, results revealed contrasts in the motivation for pursuing professional development, teaching experiences, teaching region, and professional development experience. This study thus provides insight into the multifaceted challenges Korean language teachers face and holds important implications for future professional development.

Keywords: challenges of teaching Korean; immigrant learners; cluster analysis



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