Faculty Publications

Title

The motion of emotion: Idiodynamic case studies of learners' foreign language anxiety

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Affect, Anxiety, Emotion, Idiodynamic, Learner variables

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Modern Language Journal

Volume

98

Issue

2

First Page

574

Last Page

588

Abstract

Language learning is an emotionally and psychologically dynamic process that is influenced by a myriad of ever-changing variables and emotional "vibes" that produce moment-by-moment fluctuations in learners' adaptation. This individual-level study triangulates physiological, idiodynamic, interview, and self-report survey data of three high and three low anxiety language learners to examine their language anxiety, its triggers, and the interpretations of rapidly changing affective reactions over a short period of time. Participants were videorecorded giving a presentation, while wearing heart monitors, in their Spanish as a Foreign Language class. Using the idiodynamic method, participants self-rated their moment-by-moment anxiety 42 times over three and a half minutes and later explained their reactions in an interview. The strong relationship observed among the various converging data sources demonstrates the strength of considering language learners on an individual level using triangulated quantitative and qualitative approaches. The study generated pedagogical implications for dealing with both positive and negative emotions, facilitating the reinterpretation of physiological cues, planning "escape routes" that allow participants to remain active in communication exchanges, and invoking the positive power of preparation, planning, and rehearsal. © 2014 The Modern Language Journal.

Original Publication Date

1-1-2014

DOI of published version

10.1111/modl.12084

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