Sesame Street in Korea: Another Case of Globalization


 Presenter (s) Wooyeong Kim, Arizona State University
Sherman Dorn, Arizona State University

Sesame Street, one of the most successful educational broadcasting programs, was launched in the United States in November 1969 by Children’s Television Workshop (CTW). CTW’s co-founders Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett created an educational television program that has both educational goals and entertaining purposes (Morrow, 2006). They also intended to make this show for racial minorities to develop their academic achievement, social skills, and cultural values. Sesame Street was the first program that had pursued to show both various educational goals and entertainment purposes for the preschool children (Fisch, Truglio, & Cole, 1999; Gettas, 1990; Morrow, 2006).

The purpose of this study is to highlight two separate, previously-unrevealed stories of Sesame Street in Korea. The broadcast history of Sesame Street in East Asian countries has not been studied extensively despite the difference of coproduction and adaptation process. Most of the studies which have investigated the globalization of this show have focused on the cases of South America and Europe. Korean and Japanese educators had a different idea for broadcasting this show from broadcasters in other countries. They focused on the different educational role of Sesame Street: television programs for English teaching. Therefore, they expanded the target audience from children to adults and published new educational materials, such as Sesame Street textbooks with scripts of all episodes to help to study English and toys for preschoolers. In addition, the story of Sesame Street in South Korea is a story of how the show influenced the beginnings of educational television created by Korean producers for preschoolers.

Figure 1. Timeline of adaptation process of Sesame Street in Korea

The full abstract is available here.

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