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Call for articles for a special issue in 


Flow in language learning


Katalin Piniel (

Ágnes Albert (

Eötvös Loránd University

Since the publication of Gregersen et al. (2016), research on Positive Psychology (PP) in SLA has gained momentum. So much so, that in MacIntyre et al. (2019) the authors referred to a new era by the label PP 2.0, which calls for a holistic view on language learners’ and language teachers’ psychology encompassing both the positive and the negative.  As a result, an increasing number of research papers have been published on what makes language learners and teachers flourish, the role of emotions (including enjoyment, hope, pride, anxiety, shame, guilt, boredom (for an overview Dewaele & Li, 2020)) resilience, grit (e.g., Teimouri et al., 2020), wellbeing (for an overview on teacher wellbeing see Mercer & Gregersen, 2020) just to name few. However, despite the call by Piniel and Albert (2019), one of the core concepts in PP, flow, has not been widely investigated.


Csíkszentmihályi’s (1975, 1991) Flow theory suggests that there are optimal experiences where people find themselves so immersed in and focused on an activity that they lose track of time, are not self aware, and are intrinsically motivated to perform the task at hand without necessarily concentrating on its outcomes. Based on Csíkszentmihályi’s work, educational psychologists have pointed out the utility of such optimal states in learning, which implies that flow can play an important role in the language classroom as well. 

To this end, we would like to encourage scholars to submit research papers for a special issue of the Journal for the Psychology of Language Learning that focus on flow in language learning and language teaching contexts. We especially look forward to work addressing the following topics (many also suggested by Peifer & Engeser, 2021 in general flow research):


  • measurement of flow (questionnaires on flow components, ESM, eye-tracking techniques)

  • core components of flow

  • controversial issues in connection with flow (e.g., flow vs. engagement, flow vs. enjoyment)

  • teachers’ flow

  • flow cross-over

  • social flow/group flow

  • flow antecedents

  • flow components

  • flow and other ID constructs (e.g., personality traits, self-efficacy, engagement)

  • flow interventions

  • flow in various language learning situations (one-on-one teaching; classroom, virtual classroom, study abroad etc.)

  • flow during various tasks, skills-related flow

  • flow and creativity in language learning


The list, of course, is not exhaustive, but it demonstrates the vast area that has not yet been charted by applied linguistics research. 


We would like to ask prospective authors to send a 300-word abstract of their study to the editors to the above email addresses by 15 June, 2023. Authors will be informed within 30 days about our decision concerning the inclusion into this special issue.


  1. The timeline for the special issue is as follows: 

  2. Deadline for submission of abstract: 15 June, 2023

  3. Feedback on acceptance/rejection of abstract: 30 June, 2023

  4. First draft of the articles: 31 January, 2024

  5. Reviews of first drafts: 31 May, 2024

  6. Deadline for the submission of final version of the articles: 1 September, 2024

  7. Final version submitted to publisher: 15 October, 2024


We are looking forward to reading your proposals, 

Katalin Piniel & Ágnes Albert

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