Investing in English private tutoring to move socially upward: A narrative inquiry of an underprivileged student in Hong Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Access to private tutoring, or shadow education, significantly contributes to the increasing disparities in the attainment of language learners from different family backgrounds worldwide. In ESL/EFL contexts, many students subscribe to English private tutoring (EPT) in hopes of getting good English results in high-stakes examinations to secure a university place. This longitudinal narrative inquiry investigates the experiences of a financially disadvantaged student who managed to pay the tuition to subscribe to an EPT class in Hong Kong. Multiple sources of data collected throughout the year from six rounds of in-depth interviews with the student; three reflective essays; classroom observations and interviews with the student's tutor, schoolteacher and parent yielded thick description of the student's narrative. Informed by Norton Pierce's notion of investment, the analysis reveals how the participant invested in EPT to overcome existing educational inequalities. The tutorial class was perceived by the student as a place to expand her social network with students from prestigious schools, with a hope to ultimately gain the economic capital for escaping poverty. This study has implications regarding the effects of inequalities of educational opportunities in affluent societies. It indicates the need for further research on language learners' experiences in the shadow education context. Copyright © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Early online dateAug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Aug 2019

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Hong Kong
narrative
student
affluent society
educational inequality
educational opportunity
interview
language
tutor
education
social network
experience
parents
poverty
classroom
examination
university
school
economics
Group

Citation

Yung, K. W. H. (2019). Investing in English private tutoring to move socially upward: A narrative inquiry of an underprivileged student in Hong Kong. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/01434632.2019.1660667

Keywords

  • English private tutoring
  • Shadow education
  • Low-income family
  • Investment
  • English as a second language
  • Narrative inquiry