Drawing on conceptual metaphor theory, I investigated the school transition experience of an English as a foreign language (EFL) learner. In this narrative case study, the participant’s emotion labor was followed throughout his first semester at a high school in Turkey. Exploring narrative journals, conceptual metaphors, and interviews, I examined his dynamic emotional states. The findings revealed that school transition may entail inhibiting emotion labor for high school freshman EFL learners. Moreover, it was also shown that these emotions may force adolescent learners to reconceptualize foreign language learning with a negative perspective and develop surviving learner’s strategies that may support them in terms of getting satisfactory grades in a summative assessment culture but may jeopardize language learning in the long run.


conceptual metaphor, EFL learning, emotion labor, school transition

Author Bio(s)

Özgehan Uştuk (Ph.D.) works as a research assistant at the Faculty of Education at Balikesir University, Turkey. He is also a member of the Research Professional Council at TESOL International Association. His research interests include EFL learner and teacher emotions, language identity, language teacher education, and professional development. Please direct correspondence to oustuk@balikesir.edu.tr.

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