Classroom Participation as a Performative Act of Language Learners’ Identity Construction

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Abstract

In the first part of this study, we briefly present different approaches used to define the concept of second language learners’ identity. Then we introduce Butler’s theory of performativity (1988) and we attempt to apply its main concepts as tools for describing L2 learners’ identity. In the second part of the study, we try to answer the following question: What are typical performative acts of a good and a poor language learner in the language learning classroom? Our research suggests that performing a good language learner identity refers to the learner’s frequent and repetitive participation in utterances whose content is related to the language classroom, regardless of the chosen communicative resources. As for performing a poor language learner identity, it appeared that it refers to the learner’s repetitive and frequent participation in utterances whose content is not related to the language classroom, regardless of the chosen communicative resources.

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