Psychological Issues in Language Learning

Module code: ED7048

Module co-ordinator: Dr Jim King

Language, the mind and learning are inexorably linked and an understanding of students’ mental processes, feelings, emotions, motives and behaviours can be invaluable for teachers wishing to enhance learning within their foreign language classrooms. In this module you will explore current theory and research into psychological issues in language education, considering the implications for second language teachers and learners.

Using relevant key concepts, terminology and theoretical frameworks, we will discuss how a better understanding of psychological issues can enhance a teacher’s pedagogical practice in the L2 classroom. You will learn howto assess and describe your own and others’ learning processes, preferences and classroom behaviour. We will look at applied linguistics research that focuses on psychological constructs and consider how psychological factors to situational parameters. As part of this module you will conduct a hands-on, mini-research project on a relevant subject that interests you.

Topics covered

  • Second-language learner self-concept and identity
  • Motivation in second language learning
  • Teacher and learner autonomy
  • The emotional labour of language teaching and teacher stress
  • Language anxiety and social anxiety within classroom settings
  • Group and interpersonal dynamics


  • 7 one-hour lectures
  • 7 one-hour seminars


  • Written assignment, 3,000 words (100%)