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Title: Emotion in online distance language learning : learners' appraisal of regret and pride in synchronous audiographic conferencing
Author: de los Arcos, Beatriz
ISNI:       0000 0001 2395 6759
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2010
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In the last few decades, the study of emotions has been considered essential to our understanding of social and human mental lives, as they mediate between what is personally important and the outer world of people, objects and happenings (Oatley & Jenkins, 1996). Despite assumptions that success and failure in language learning are partly determined by learners’ ability to regulate their emotions, there is no research in second language acquisition (SLA) on everyday emotions other than anxiety. Thus, we move away from linguists’ broad conception of affect into the more particular understanding of emotion by emotion theorists, as incorporating phenomenological experiences, cognitive appraisal and some form of coping. Appraisal theory claims that emotions are elicited by evaluations of events and situations in relation to a person’s goals, needs or concerns (Roseman & Smith, 2001). Roseman’s appraisal model proposes seven appraisals of an event that influence emotions: unexpectedness, situational state, motivational state, probability, agency, control potential and problem type (Roseman, 2001). We administered a questionnaire to a large number of distance language learners, and interviewed a sample of respondents to find out about the emotions they felt when using a synchronous audiographic conferencing tool for oral interaction, and also their appraisal of instances of regret and pride, following Roseman’s model. Our analysis revealed that learners overall feel positive emotions more often than negative emotions, and that women report feeling more than men. We found a stable pattern of appraisal for both regret and pride along certain dimensions such as situational state, but varied particularly concerning agency. Our findings suggest that negative emotions should not be ostracised from the process of language learning, and that language learners need to develop an awareness of the origin of their emotions (positive and negative), including self, others and the context of interaction.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Open University (OU)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral