Emotion and language learning: an exploration of experience and motivation in a Mexican university context

Méndez López, Mariza Guadalupe (2011) Emotion and language learning: an exploration of experience and motivation in a Mexican university context. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Although there have been numerous studies on motivation in foreign language learning and on emotions in general education, little research in foreign language learning have focused on the relation between motivation and learners' emotions (Maclntyre, 2002), as this shift to the affective side of motivation has only recently been suggested. Thus, this study aims to contribute to the body of knowledge on how foreign language learning motivation is shaped by emotional experiences.

In order to gain a better understanding of the emotional experiences originating during classroom instruction and their impact on foreign language learners' motivation, I carried out a qualitative study focusing on 18 students in an ELT programme in a Southeast Mexican university. Data was gathered through personal narratives, an Emotional Reactions Journal and semi-structured interviews. Analysis and interpretation of findings was done using a Grounded Theory approach in order to focus on the views of the participants themselves.

Findings reveal the pervasive influence of emotional reactions on foreign language learners' motivation. Emotions, whether negative or positive, impact not only negatively but also positively. Emotional reactions reported by participants mainly originated from teachers' interpersonal skills and the classroom environment. Although participants in this study reported more negative than positive affective experiences, the outcomes of these experiences were positive. The Mexican socio-economic context played a crucial role in helping students transform negative experiences into learning and motivational strategies which proved to be beneficial, not only for their learning processes, but also for their personal development.

The study highlights the crucial role language learners' emotional experiences have on their motivational behaviour and the significant influence teachers have on this. Recommendations for language teachers are offered so they can help foreign language learners minimise the negative impact of emotional experiences on their learning process, and promote positive emotions conducive to learning and energising learners' motivation.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Biddulph, R.M.
Sinclair, B.B.
Subjects: P Language and literature > P Philology. Linguistics
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1050 Educational psychology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 13175
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2013 08:50
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2016 09:40
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/13175

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