Love and enjoyment in context: Four case studies of adolescent EFL learners
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This study explores the foreign language learning emotions of four EFL adolescent students in Romania and the ways in which their emotions emerge in their sociocultural context. Multiple qualitative methods were employed over a school semester, including a written task, semi-structured interviews with the learners and their teachers, lesson observations and English-related events outside the classroom. It was found that, while all four participants reported experiencing positive emotions in language learning, a distinction was identified in the intensity and stability of their emotions. Two participants expressed a strong and stable emotion of love towards English, while the other two participants experienced enjoyment in their English language learning without an intense emotional attachment to English. Unlike enjoyment, love was found to be the driving force in the learning process, creating effective coping mechanisms when there was a lack of enjoyment in certain classroom situations and motivating learners to invest greater effort into language learning in and out of the classroom. The findings thus revealed that, unlike enjoyment, love broadened cognition and maintained engagement in learning. The study emphasizes the role of strong, enduring positive emotions in teenage students’ language learning process.
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