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Preliminary Schedule for the

Positive Psychology in SLA  Pre-Conference

Sydney, NS, Canada, June 24, 2020


9:00 – 10:00 Plenary 1 Sarah Mercer, “Positive Language Education: It’s more than just words”

Education today must teach students skills for life as well as academic subjects. In this talk, I present a conceptual framework entitled Positive Language Education which considers how to integrate language and global life skills. It draws on insights from positive psychology building on the foundations of language teaching.

10 – 10:30  Break

10:30 – 11:30 

Marc Helgesen Workshop part 1

Concurrent Session (A)

Concurrent Session (B)

11:30 – 12:30  Plenary 2 Tammy Gregersen, “Language Teacher Psychology: We didn’t come this far to only come this far.”

In her plenary address at PPL1 in Graz, Austria, Mercer (2014) made a call to attendees to address the imbalance of attention placed predominantly on language learners, yet sparsely on their teachers.  So, how far have we come since then? This presentation examines the expanding body of research on language teacher psychology, considering both intervention as well as observational studies.

12:30 – 2:00  Lunch and posters

2:00 – 3:00 

Marc Helgesen Workshop part 2

Concurrent Session (C)

Concurrent Session (D)


3:00 – 4:00  Plenary 3, Jean-Marc Dewaele, “How Positive Psychology can counter the deficit perspective in foreign language teaching.”

The dichotomy “Native (NS) versus Non Native Speakers (NNS)” is common in applied linguistics and foreign language teaching. It reflects and perpetuates the myth of the linguistic superiority of the so-called “NS” and the banishment of the “NNS” to eternal linguistic and social limbo (Dewaele, 2018). Positive Psychology can help foreign language teachers focus on what goes right in their students’ learning.  Crucially, teachers need to transmit language skills but also build up learners’ grit and perseverance, strengths, hope, optimism and courage.


4:00 – 5:00  Round tables: Where does PosPsy in SLA go from here?

Concurrent Sessions

Room 1: Session A  (10:30 - 11:30)

1. Hyoseon Lee:  The Effects of Positive Mindset in Dealing with Language Anxiety

2. Katarzyna Budzińska:  The reflection of PERMA in language institution policies and its contribution to Positive Language Education

3. Satomi Ura: Escape from monolingualism by using Lingua Franca English

Room 2: Session B (10:30 - 11:30)

1. Elouise Botes, Jean-Marc Dewaele and Samuel Greiff:  The Development of a Short-Form Foreign Language Enjoyment Scale

2.  Andrew Obermeier and J Lake:  Motivational Effects and Learning Gains in an EFL Class about Positive Psychology

3. Kimberly Noels:  Living well as a language learner: A elf-Determination Theory perspective on the well-being of language learners

Room 1: Session C (2:00 - 3:00)

1. Sonja Babic, Sarah Mercer and Tony Young:  Social, psychological, and linguistic capitals as resources for highly-skilled refugees in Europe

2. Jun Jin, Sarah Mercer, Sonja Babic, Astrid Mairitsch and Jim King:  PERMAnent in the profession: Language teacher retention.

3. Meagan Driver:  Combating insecurities: The relationship between positive classroom emotions, motivation, and linguistic insecurity for heritage language learners of Spanish

Room 2: Session D (2:00 - 3:00)

1. June Eyckmans and Griet Boone:  Positive psychology and study abroad.

2. Jennifer Claro:  Resilience in the context of L2 motivation.

3. Kirk Belnap, Dan Dewey and Seth McCombie: Stress during intercultural contact: Variation during a study abroad experience

Marc Helgesen Workshop

Positive Psychology in the Language Classroom: Part 1 - Happiness 101 (10:30 - 11:30)

This workshop introduces positive psychology and eight behaviors connected to positive emotion. It connects them directly to communicative language teaching, each based on research and connected directly with clear language functions, grammar, topics or vocabulary sets. Handouts and website with free activities provided.  Influenced by Lyubomirsky, Ben-Shahar and others.


Positive Psychology in the Language Classroom: Part 2 - Wellbeing 2.0  (2:00 - 3:00)

Building on the morning session, this workshop puts Positive Psychology in the Language Classroom in the larger context of Wellbeing.  Built around Seligman’s PERMA model coupled with the importance of savouring, it will share classroom-tested activities as well as the rational for each.



Posters (with lunch)

Abigail Parrish: Using art to represent science: a visualisation of student motivation data

Amelia Yarwood: Emotions as the rudders steering our language learning trajectories

Andréa Silva E Souza: The hope paradigm: applying positive psychology in teacher education research

Aya Hayasaki: Turning adversity and anxiety into allies: exploring critical incident stress and resilience in language learning and teaching