Emotions play an important role in our daily life and interactions, and language learning is no exception. Our learners may sometimes feel energetic, motivated and confident, and at other times indifferent, embarrassed and nervous. Research into language learning psychology has grown exponentially in recent years, with motivation predominantly being the most prolific area in the field. Students who do not perform satisfactorily may indeed lack motivation, but they may also be faced with a number of concerns and anxieties, which they are not always keen or given the chance to verbalise. Educators and/or researchers should take these complexities into account if they are to better understand learners and address their academic and emotional needs in their practice. In this talk, I examine the constructs of emotion and anxiety – which is the most frequently studied emotion within second language acquisition – and how they impact on learners’ classroom experiences. I then discuss the role of emotion regulation in 21st-century classrooms and ways of helping our learners become autonomous, both emotionally and academically.
Dr Christina Gkonou is Associate Professor of TESOL and MA TESOL Programme Leader in the Department of Language and Linguistics at the University of Essex, UK. She is also Deputy Director of Education in the same Department. She convenes postgraduate modules on teacher education and development, and on psychological aspects surrounding the foreign language learning and teaching experience. She is the co-editor of New Directions in Language Learning Psychology (with Sarah Mercer and Dietmar Tatzl) and New Insights into Language Anxiety: Theory, Research and Educational Implications (with Jean-Marc Dewaele and Mark Daubney), and co-author of MYE: Managing Your Emotions Questionnaire (with Rebecca L. Oxford). Her new book, entitled The Emotional Rollercoaster of Language Teaching (co-edited with Jean-Marc Dewaele and Jim King) will be out in June 2020.