Topics in the Psychology of Language Learning and Teaching

The details
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 13 December 2024
13 February 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA Q110JS Applied Linguistics,
MA QX1312 Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL),
MA QX13JS Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Module description

The module will examine the impact of a number of language-independent affective psychological factors (motivation, learner identity, learner and teacher beliefs, anxiety, learner autonomy) on foreign language learning and teaching.

Module aims

The aims of the module are to introduce students to key concepts and terminology necessary for investigating psychological aspects of foreign language learning and teaching, to familiarise students with the methods and findings of existing research into the psychology of language learning and teaching, and to raise awareness of tasks and teaching strategies which could be used to address the psychological constructs under discussion.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will be familiar with key concepts and terminology that have been used to investigate the psychology of language learning and teaching, and with the main methods used by researchers to address research questions in this area and key findings from a number of studies. They will have learned a range of strategies that could be used by teachers to address the psychological aspects discussed throughout the module.

Module information


Learning and teaching methods

10 x 2hr seminars consisting of teacher-led presentations and whole and small group discussion. All materials for the module will be uploaded in advance on Moodle.


  • Dörnyei, Zoltán; Ryan, Stephen. (2015) The psychology of the language learner revisited, New York, NY: Routledge. vol. Second language acquisition research series
  • Williams, Marion; Mercer, Sarah; Ryan, Stephen. (2015) Exploring psychology in language learning and teaching, Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. vol. Oxford handbooks for language teachers
  • (Blue Ridge Summit, PA, USA) Language teacher psychology, Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters. vol. 1
  • (2017) New insights into language anxiety: theory, research and educational implications, Blue Ridge Summit: Multilingual Matters.
  • Mercer, Sarah; Ryan, Stephen; Williams, Marion. (2012) Psychology for language learning: insights from research, theory and practice, New York: Palgrave Macmillian.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Assignment    70% 
Practical   Group presentation    30% 

Additional coursework information


Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Christina Gkonou, email: cgkono@essex.ac.uk.
Christina Gkonou
4.119, cgkono@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Ian Cunnings
University of Reading
Associate Professor in Psycholinguistics
Available via Moodle
Of 22 hours, 16 (72.7%) hours available to students:
6 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Language and Linguistics

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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