Identities and beliefs across time and space
A case study of a university student’s second language learning trajectory
This paper presents a case study of a Hong Kong university student’s experiences of learning English as a second language (L2) over a four-year period, with particular attention to the changes in her identities and beliefs across time and space. Drawing on a narrative inquiry approach, the study revealed that the student’s L2 identities appeared to be shaped by specific contextual conditions and agentic choices made by the student in response to different contexts, including consultation sessions with native English-speaking tutors, study abroad in the U.S., interactions with non-native English-speaking peers, and classroom interactions. It was also found that her L2 identities and beliefs not only varied over time in a complex and dynamic manner, but also appeared to be closely interconnected and interacted with each other in a reciprocal and bi-directional manner. The case study points to the need to pay more attention to the complex and dynamic interrelationship between identity and belief in L2 learning trajectories.
Keywords: identity, belief, agency, second language learning, Hong Kong
Published online: 31 July 2020
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