Private Pädagogische Hochschule Wien/Krems
Resnik, Pia; Mag. Dr. MA.
Resnik, Pia; Mag. Dr. MA
Language learning is not merely a cognitive process, it is also an emotional one. Interest in the role of emotions in foreign language learning trajectories has blossomed in recent years, moving from the periphery of attention in applied linguistics to the centre. With the introduction of Positive Psychology (PP) to the field (Fredrickson, 2003; Dewaele & MacIntyre, 2014; MacIntyre & Mercer, 2014), a new leaf was turned over. Proponents of positive psychology stressed the need to include research into positive emotions, making the case that they fulfil different functions than the more commonly studied negative ones. While negative emotions, such as foreign language classroom anxiety (Gkonou et al., 2017; Horwitz, 1986), tend to have a narrowing function, meaning they reduce intake and hinder progress, positive emotions have a broadening effect, increasing attention and fostering more efficient learning. Positive emotions also promote resilience when faced with difficulties, facilitate being explorative and are important for building social capital (Dewaele & MacIntyre, 2014). In this habilitation, I will take stock of what we already know regarding the nature of learner emotions in the (foreign) language class, how they have been conceptualised and what factors contribute to them. More specifically, the role of enjoyment and anxiety will be explored in different contexts, ranging from a comparison of German as a first language and English as a foreign language classes (Resnik & Dewaele, 2020) to emergency remote teaching (Hodges et al., 2020) during the pandemic (Resnik & Dewaele, 2021; Resnik, Dewaele & Knechtelsdorfer, 2022), online EFL classes (Resnik et al., in progress) and the role of learner emotions outside the walls of the EFL classroom in the form of eTandems (Resnik & Schallmoser, 2019). While exploring the context-specificity of learner emotions, their links to other emotion-related constructs, such as trait emotional intelligence (Resnik & Dewaele, 2020), foreign language grit (Resnik, Moskowitz & Panicacci, 2021) and learner engagement (Resnik et al., in progress) will be explored, too, and the relationship to other highly influential variables in foreign language learning trajectories, such as learner autonomy (Resnik & Dewaele, 2020), will also be investigated. The teacher’s role in these processes will also be discussed to explore what teachers can do to regulate their learners’ emotions to ensure the right emotional temperature in their classroom (Resnik & Dewaele, 2020: 13). This is also defining for teachers themselves as learner and teacher emotions have been shown to be contagious, forming a true confluence (Moskowitz, Dewaele & Resnik, 2022). Regulating emotions is, therefore, crucial for learners and teachers alike to maintain their wellbeing and reach their full potential in the (foreign) language classroom (Resnik & Dewaele, 2020; Sulis et al., 2023). Arguing it is high time to put the findings from previous research into practice, suggestions for future directions and possible classroom applications drawing on examples of best practice will be included as well (Mercer & Resnik, 2023).