1st Edition

Theorizing Shadow Education and Academic Success in East Asia Understanding the Meaning, Value, and Use of Shadow Education by East Asian Students

By Young Chun Kim, Jung-Hoon Jung Copyright 2022
    278 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    278 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume tackles perceived myths surrounding the academic excellence of East Asian students, and moves beyond Western understanding to offer in-depth analysis of the crucial role that shadow education plays in students’ academic success.

    Featuring a broad range of contributions from countries including Japan, China, Taiwan, and Singapore, chapters draw on rich qualitative research to place in the foreground the lived experiences of students, teachers, and parents in East Asian countries. In doing so, the text provides indigenous insights into the uses, values, and meanings of shadow education and highlights unknown cultural and regional aspects, as well as related phenomena including trans-boundary learning culture, nomadic learning, individualized learning, and the post-schooling era. Ultimately challenging the previously dominating Western perspective on shadow education, the volume offers innovative theorization to highlight shadow education as a phenomenon which cannot be overlooked in broader discussion of East Asian educational performance, systems, and policy.

    Offering pioneering insights into the growing phenomenon of shadow education, this text will benefit researchers, academics, and educators with an interest in international and comparative education, curriculum studies, and East Asian educational practices and policy. Those interested in the sociology of education and educational policy will also benefit from this book.


    Introduction: Shadow Education in East Asia: Historical and Cultural Heritage of Learning Fever and Academic Success

    Part 1: Shadow Education, Trans-boundary Learning Culture, and Academic Success

    Chapter 1: Shadow Education Studies as Post-Truth Discourse: Ruins of Tradition and Theorizing Academic Success with "Learning Capital"

    Young Chun Kim and Jung-Hoon Jung

    Chapter 2: Four Secret Variables of Shadow Education Practices for Academic Success

    Young Chun Kim, Michael McVey, and Jung-Hoon Jung

    Chapter 3: With/Without Public Schooling: The Transboundary Learning Culture as an Emerging Feature of Academic Success

    Young Chun Kim, Jae-seong Jo, and Jung-Hoon Jung

    Chapter 4: Learners as Nomads: East Asian Students’ Changing Identities for Academic Success under Shadow Education

    SungEun Min and Jae-seong Jo

    Part 2: Top Tiers of Pisa: World Class Learners and Use of Shadow Education

    Chapter 5: South Korea: Currere of Learning under Shadow Education

    Myung Hee Park

    Chapter 6: South Korea: Preview Learning in Shadow Education for School Success

    Sangwon Jung, Seongho Choi, and Jung-Hoon Jung

    Chapter 7: Japan: Forms and Functions of Shadow Education

    Robert J. Lowe and Ryo Mizukura

    Chapter 8: Taiwan: Changing Learning Culture Led by Shadow Education

    Jeng Liu

    Chapter 9: Hong Kong: Students’ Learning in Shadow Education

    Kevin Wai Ho Yung

    Chapter 10: Singapore: Shadow Curriculum between ‘Private Tuition’ and ‘Enrichment’

    Søren Christensen

    Part 3: Shadow Curriculum, Race for Academic Success, and Winner-takes-it-all

    Chapter 11: Making Smart Students Smarter: The Cultural Production of Olympiad Winners through Secret Shadow Curriculum

    Young Chun Kim, Jae-seong Jo, and Jung-Hoon Jung

    Chapter 12: The Other Side of Learning for Scores and School Grades: The Hidden Curriculum in Shadow Education

    Young Chun Kim, SungEun Min, and Jae-seong Jo

    Chapter 13: Fearful Future: The Worldwide Shadow Education Epidemic and the Reproduction of Inequality Outside Public Schooling

    Steven R. Entrich and Wolfgang Lauterbach


    Young Chun Kim is Professor of Education at Chinju National University of Education, South Korea.

    Jung-Hoon Jung is an Instructor at Chonnam National University, South Korea.

    Shadow education is often misunderstood and viewed as an inequitable source of excessive household resources devoted to enhancing children’s academic success. This excellent book takes an in-depth examination of East Asian shadow education and shows how it is embedded in historical and cultural conceptions of family responsibility for instilling in their children a commitment to the value of academic learning. This is a must read book for its’ powerful message, especially today, when learning is being overshadowed by the price tag of gaining admission to a selective university rather than the value of learning and how it is encouraged and supported by Asian families.

    -- Barbara Schneider, John A. Hannah University Professor Michigan State University, USA

    It is a must read for anyone interested in theorizing shadow education and in understanding it’s role in East Asian educational success.

    -- Michael A. Peters, Distinguished Professor of Education, Beijing Normal University, China

    For decades researchers have attempted to uncover the 'secret' that explains East Asian students' academic success. Explanations have ranged from intensive mothering (e.g., Tiger moms), to culture, to the role of test-driven education systems. The authors of this book demystify the so-called magic that underpins students' success by illuminating the critical role of shadow education and placing it within the broader ecology of schooling. Readers of this book will find value in the practical descriptions of how shadow education is expressed (e.g., home-visit, internet-based, institutes), the forms of shadow education (e.g., cram schools, franchises), how and why students use tutoring (e.g., prepare for school learning), how shadow education varies (e.g., Singapore versus Taiwan), and the scale of shadow education.

    -- Janice Aurini, Associate Professor, University of Waterloo, Canada

    "This collection of essays and studies by scholars across East Asia have carefully examined the rise and place of Shadow Education through the examination lens of curriculum Studies and learning culture. And, the book clearly lays out that not only is Shadow Education firmly placed in the culture of many countries, but it has also contributed to the academic success of many Asian nations as measured by results on international tests and through the admiration of political leaders across the globe."
    -- Michael McVey, Professor of College of Education, Eastern Michigan University, USA