I’m(migrant) Canadian: Renegotiating a “Canadian” National Imaginary in English as a Second Language (ESL) Classrooms


  • Nyein Mya University of Ottawa




What does being “Canadian” mean to racialized students learning an additional language? What happens when such students do not fit in with dominant, idealized notions of being a Canadian? Drawing on Norton’s and Anderson’s concept of imagined communities, this article posits that Canada is an imagined nation. In responding to the two questions, I summarize the relevant literature and share some key personal and lived experiences in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) and Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) students. To conclude, I suggest that in light of the significant demographic changes that negotiating and reconstructing the “Canadian” identity, is a learning process in which all societal members must participate in equitable ways.

Author Biography

Nyein Mya, University of Ottawa

Nyein Mya is a MEd student in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa. Her research interests are in second language teaching, language and identities, and citizenship. Her current research investigates how she can better address the educational needs of newcomer, immigrant, and refugee students here in Canada. Her professional background is in ESL, citizenship, and adult education.