When college entrance examinations act as gatekeepers to modern-sector jobs, the entire education system then becomes oriented toward these examinations. This occurs at the expense of learning for the sake of learning and other aspects of education that address the holistic development and well-being of students. In recent years in China, there has been growing concern that examination competition has compromised the quality of classroom teaching and learning and is detrimental to the development of skills necessary for the global knowledge economy. These concerns have given rise to a far-reaching set of education reforms known as the New Curriculum reforms which have aimed to move students to the center of teaching and learning and to transform teaching and learning so as to foster such capacities as creativity, innovation, collaboration, selfexpression, engagement, enjoyment of learning, inquiry skills, problemsolving abilities, and ability to apply knowledge in practice. In this chapter, we use videotaped high school New Curriculum demonstration lessons to examine teaching and learning practices that are regarded as exemplary in the current reform context. We investigate how teachers are negotiating the competing demands of preparing students for the examinations and addressing the aims of the New Curriculum reforms. The nature of student participation in the classroom emerges in the analysis as a key indicator of the success of this negotiation.