class and that they feel the work is personally meaningful and relevant to them. Here, work inpositive psychology might also offer some useful insights to ensure that our learners ‘flourish’in our language classes (Seligman, 2001). The aim of positive psychology is to understandsuccesses, instances of where things work well and people are happy and content. Research inthis area has shown that positive emotions and attitudes can help people to cope better withanxiety, be more resilient in the face of criticisms or problems, have better general health andmore overall well-being (Frederickson, 2011; Seligman, 2001). Within SLA, little has been done yet working explicitly with interventions from positivepsychology although interest is growing in this area (see, e.g., Gregersen, MacIntyre, &Mercer, forthcoming; MacIntyre & Gregersen, 2014). The general acceptance is that despitesome genetic predispositions towards happiness, people can increase their overall levels ofpositivity by some considerable degree (Lyubomirsky, 2010). One teacher (Fresacher,forthcoming), who has been working with positive psychology tools in the languageclassroom, reports on her successes and suggests practical ideas adapted from theinterventions in other fields, such as keeping a gratitude journal or portfolio of successes andpositive experiences in language learning, reflecting on one’s strengths as a language learner,using positive visualisation techniques to combat speaking or test anxiety, and learning towork on active constructive listening skills and empathy in communication (for empathy, seealso Mercer, forthcoming). In addition, much work has been done in the past on concentrating on positive emotions suchas in the humanist approaches. Oxford (1990, p. 140) has also suggested three categories ofaffective strategies that teachers and learners can use to manage their emotions. She centresthem around the acronym ‘LET’ – for Lowering anxiety, Encouraging oneself, Taking one’semotional temperature. She explains, “affective strategies help language learners to LET theirhair down!”. The first two are perhaps self-evident but the third one is concerned withsupporting learners in becoming aware of their emotions such as by keeping a diary,discussing their feelings with a suitable partner, or working through questionnaires orchecklists of feelings, emotions and motivations, reflecting on how and why they areexperiencing a certain emotion. Only then can learners recognise what they are feeling andperhaps understand why they are in a better position to manage and control their emotions in away that is facilitative for their learning processes and purposes.
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A construct with a strong emotional dimension is that of motivation, which has been the focusof much research in SLA with good reason. Teachers and learners alike intuitively recognisethe importance of motivation as being the driving force behind what we do and, indeed,whether we do anything at all. Over time, there have been multiple ways of conceptualisingmotivation in SLA starting in earnest with the social-psychological views proposed by
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