Abstract Title
Baeryeo in the Ban: Social Consideration for Students with Autism in Two Korean Elementary School Classrooms
Elementary school students with autism in South Korea often struggle to meet the social expectations of their classroom communities. The unique atmosphere of Korean homeroom classrooms, called ban, requires a heightened sense of social propriety. As teachers and students apply the Korean cultural concept of baeryeo, or consideration for others, members of the ban influence social inclusion and learning. Regarding baeryeo in the ban, three related questions thus emerge: (1) How is baeryeo expressed toward a student with autism in an elementary school ban by their peers? (2) How is baeryeo utilized by elementary school teachers toward students with autism? (3) Ultimately, to what extent do culturally-specific concepts affect the social life of students with autism specifically and mainstreaming success more generally? This research explores the community classrooms of three students with autism in two different South Korean elementary schools. Through eight weeks of observation in classrooms, data was collected involving student-student and student-teacher interactions. These interactions provide insight about how baeryeo—as well as other Korean social concepts of nunchi (ability to act with tactful, social appropriateness) and yangbo (yielding)—influence social dynamics in classroom communities that include a student with autism. This study provides ethnographic data supporting the claim that the presence of baeryeo in the ban positively influences social inclusion and improves learning for Korean students with autism. In an education system where two-thirds of autism spectrum disorder cases remain undiagnosed and untreated, these results suggest that efforts to diagnose and mainstream students with autism into Korean ban can generate positive results. These findings also add evidence to broader arguments that suggest mainstreaming success is directly influenced by cultural context.
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