Dancing K-Pop with Chinese and “English in Class Please”: Policy Negotiations as Relational-Languaging Episodes

Simon Harrison, Yu-Hua Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
95 Downloads (Pure)


Pointing out that language policy negotiations in classroom discourse are an understudied kind of “language-related episode”, and proposing that Tim Ingold’s notion of “meshwork” dissolves a boundary that typically encloses their analysis, this paper examines how a rich and indicative example of student group interaction on a British university campus in China becomes interwoven with multiple threads, including: different languages, Korean pop dance moves, coffee from the campus Starbucks, and the teacher’s repeated attempts at English-Medium Instruction policy enforcement. Our example was discovered in corpus recordings of group activities during classes in English for Academic Purposes, then transcribed for embodied activity (primarily speech and gesture) and further explored in relation to the multiple threads which visibly and audibly became involved. Analysis of the episode shows how students’ relational-languaging behaviours must negotiate, respond, and adapt to the policy enforcement, illustrating some of the tensions immanent to the transnational higher education experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-286
Number of pages17
JournalRELC Journal
Issue number2
Early online date4 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


The research was funded by a Start-up Grant for New Faculty at the City University of Hong Kong.


  • EMI language policy
  • L2 group interaction
  • gesture
  • language-related episodes
  • languaging
  • meshwork
  • policy negotiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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