Understanding classroom participation and identity negotiation : an undergraduate student’s L2 learning experiences in an English-medium university in Hong Kong

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Applied Linguistics Review

Publication Date



Advance online publication


De Gruyter Mouton


second language learning, classroom participation, second language identity, narrative inquiry, English-medium university


This paper reports on a narrative inquiry of a Hong Kong female undergraduate student’s second language (L2) learning experiences in an English-medium university in Hong Kong, with a focus on her participation in classroom oral activities and identity negotiation. Using ideas from situated learning theory and Norton’s (2000) notions of identity and investment, the paper analyzes how the student negotiated her classroom participation and identities over the course of her studies in the university. Findings suggest that the student’s classroom participation in the English-medium university appeared to be a complex and dynamic process which involved ongoing nego- tiations of identities, competence and membership in the classroom in response to the challenges she faced. It was found that the student’s participation and identity (re)construction in the classroom were mediated by the contextual complexities in specific classroom communities and were contingent upon the agentive choices made by the student in investing in different classroom activities. Findings also indicate that the student’s participation evolved over time alongside a changing sense of competence and showed signs of gradual yet non-linear progression from peripheral to full participation in the classroom.



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Funding Information

This paper was supported by a research grant awarded by Lingnan University, Hong Kong (101835). {101835}

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2017, Walter de Gruyter GmbH. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Additional Information

An earlier version of the paper was presented in an invited special colloquium at the 9th International Conference of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF9) held in Lleida, Spain, in June 2016.

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Recommended Citation

Sung, C. C. M. (2017). Understanding classroom participation and identity negotiation: An undergraduate student’s L2 learning experiences in an English-medium university in Hong Kong. Applied Linguistics Review, Advance online publication. doi: 10.1515/applirev-2016-1026