Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Communication and Language in Virtual Spaces, January 2023     Pp. 458-274

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  Negotiating Identity through Multimodal Meaning Making: Investigation of Investment,
Imagination and Choice in a Virtual Saudi EFL Context

Noura Ali Alghamdi
English Language Institute
University of Jeddah
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


Received:10/23/2022             Accepted:  01/16/2023                      Published:01/20/2023


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, educational institutions worldwide were forced to rely on online platforms, whereby teaching was remotely undertaken. Although these platforms were gradually replaced by or supported with traditional, face-to-face methods as the pandemic came under control, this reliance on online platforms had a deep impact on different aspects of education in general and language education in specific. Examination of learners’ engagement with literacy and the impact of learners’ experiences on their identity construction represent some of the growing research interests in language education. The present study adopts a qualitative case-study approach, using interview, artefact collection, student-authored reflections and observational fieldnotes. The study aims to explore the literacy practices and identity construction and negotiation that underlies how a first-year female undergraduate engages with individual and group presentations in a mixed-level, English as a foreign language (EFL) course at a Saudi university. The study pays special attention to how the learner constructs and negotiates her identity in relation to multimodal meaning making which helps her to move beyond the limitations imposed by weak linguistic skills to negotiate more powerful identity positions associated with her investment in the event and the imagined community she aspires to join. The findings highlight the need to reconsider how learners’ multimodal meaning making in language classes should be approached and assessed and how it can empower language learners and encourage them to adopt more powerful identity positions to sustain their language learning trajectories.
Key Words: English as a foreign language, identity construction, literacy practices, multimodal meaning making,
online classes, oral presentations, qualitative case study, Saudi university

Cite as: Alghamdi, N. A. (2023). Negotiating Identity through Multimodal Meaning Making: Investigation of Investment, Imagination and Choice in a Virtual Saudi EFL Context.  Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Communication and Language in Virtual Spaces, January 2023:258-274.


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Received: 10/23/2022 
Accepted: 01/16/2023 
Published: 01/20/2023 

Dr. Noura Ali Alghamdi is an assistant professor at the English Language Institute, University of Jeddah, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. My research interests include qualitative research methodology, literacy studies, multimodality, identity and computer assisted language learning. ORCid: