"Examining Interfaces between Advances in Positive Psychology and L2 Learning and Teaching"


Guest Editors

Ali Derakhshan

Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics, Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Golestan University, Gorgan, Iran

Email: and



Mirosław Pawlak

Professor of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Kalisz, Poland;

State University of Applied Sciences, Konin, Poland



For a long time, researching emotions in education has been confined to negative emotions and phenomena such as stress, anxiety, aggression, tension, burnout, disengagement, fear, resistance, as well as their dire consequences for the academic performance of teachers and learners (Mercer, 2020; Pawlak et al., 2020; Zhang 2000, 2001). However, in the past decades, a new school of psychology dubbed positive psychology (PP) has emerged and flourished by foregrounding the power of positive emotions in education (Dewaele & Li, 2021; Gregersen & MacIntyre, 2017). This approach has provided the ground for a paradigm shift from dwelling on negativities and stressors to positive emotions and strengths that can bring about numerous optimal outcomes for education (MacIntyre, 2021; Seligman, 2018). PP endorses the role of negative emotions in causing problems for teaching and learning processes yet capitalizes mostly on the potential of positive emotions. Recently, PP has entered the realm of second/foreign language (L2) education in an effort to examine L2 learning and teaching from a more open, appreciative, and positive standpoint (Dewaele et al., 2019). Basically, PP in the context of L2 education concentrates on three core pillars, namely 1) stakeholders’ positive traits and strengths, 2) positive emotions experienced in L2 education, and 3) institutions that pave the way for teachers and students to thrive (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Research on the interplay of PP and L2 education has focused on a gamut of positive emotions and constructs such as love, care, engagement, well-being, optimism, grit, resilience, happiness, motivation, enjoyment, happiness, hope, gratitude, interest, hardiness, buoyancy, and so forth. All these positive emotions have been convincingly shown to expedite L2 teachers’ and students’ development and performance in academic, social, and personal aspects of life.

PP fits well with L2 education given the fact that teaching and learning a second or foreign language are highly emotional and labor-intensive tasks. In other words, akin to general education, L2 language education is full of both positive and negative emotions. While negative emotions obstruct learning and teaching, positive emotions improve and enhance them. The affordances of positive emotions brought PP into the spotlight in L2 education as feelings are at the core of any successful education. Thanks to several positive outcomes that PP incurred for L2 education, a growing bulk of empirical investigations has been conducted on various constructs of PP in different educational contexts (Derakhshan, 2022; Wang et al., 2021). Despite their promising insights, research studies on PP in L2 education have mostly been correlational, theoretical, conceptual, and one-shot pieces of research. Likewise, as highlighted by Derakhshan (2022, pp. 7-9), research methods and tools in collecting and analyzing the data in PP studies are mostly outdated and need to be replaced with novel ones based on the tenets of complexity dynamic system theory (CDST), time series analysis (TSA), latent profile analysis (LPA), ecological dynamic systems theory, or idiodynamic method, among others. Another gap in this domain is inspecting the practicality and potentiality of injecting PP constructs into L2 classes to promote EFL teachers’ and students’ academic performances. Little has been written about the use of PP in improving the L2 classroom teaching and learning processes, especially in relation to language skills and subsystems. Since emotions can permeate every aspect of one’s academic behavior and practice, it is wise to assert that an emotion-based education can enhance the teaching efficacy of teachers as well as students’ acquisition and development of different language skills. Consequently, there is a need to call L2 teachers, educators, trainers, and researchers all around the world to consider this line of inquiry and address the existing gaps.

To bridge the gaps, we sincerely invite and encourage authors to submit original and empirical papers that focus on the application of PP to L2 teaching and learning as well as the development and acquisition of different target language skills and subsystems. Additionally, we welcome meta-analyses that can unravel the effectiveness of instruction based on PP variables. Authors are also encouraged to use different technological instruments and software to better depict the role of PP and positive emotions in acquiring language skills. Finally, research papers conducted in diverse cultural contexts are appreciated in this special issue.

In this special issue, we are looking forward to receiving:

  • -Studies that introduce creative and practical techniques and methods for applying PP constructs to L2 classes to generate desirable outcomes;
  • -Studies trying to integrate PP into L2 teacher training and education programs;
  • -Cross-cultural studies that unpack how positive emotions are perceived, expressed, experienced, and actualized across different cultures;
  • -Studies that test the utility of specific methods and interventions in integrating PP into L2 teaching and learning processes;
  • -Studies that conceptually depict the application of PP to L2 education processes;
  • -Studies that use new analytical methods and perspectives to provide insights into the interplay of PP and L2 teaching and learning.

Concerning the design of studies in this issue, they can be longitudinal, qualitative, experimental, large-scale quantitative, correlational, or mixed methods studies. We mostly welcome original empirical studies and meta-analyses. However, the choice of topics and research designs is not limited to what has been mentioned above and researchers are encouraged to move ahead and drive the field forward. 



Derakhshan, A. (2022). Revisiting research on positive psychology in second and foreign language education: Trends and directions. Language Related Research, 13(5), 1-43.

Dewaele, J. M., & Li, C. (2021). Teacher enthusiasm and students’ social-behavioral learning engagement: The mediating role of student enjoyment and boredom in Chinese EFL classes. Language Teaching Research25(6), 922-945.

Dewaele, J.M., Chen, X., Padilla, A.M., & Lake, J. (2019). The flowering of positive psychology in foreign language teaching and acquisition research. Frontiers in Psychology, 10,

Gregersen, T. S., & MacIntyre, P. D. (2017). Idiodynamics: An innovative method to build emotional intelligence through systematic self-assessment/reflection/critique. In T. Gregersen & P. D. MacIntyre (Eds.), Innovative practices in language teacher education (pp. 33-53). Springer.

MacIntyre, P. D. (2021). Exploring applications of positive psychology in SLA. In K. Budzinska & O. Majchrzak (Eds.), Positive psychology in second and foreign language education (pp. 3-17). Springer.

Mercer, S. (2020). The wellbeing of language teachers in the private sector: An ecological perspective. Language Teaching Research, 1, 1-24.

Pawlak, M., Zawodniak, J., & Kruk, M. (2020). Boredom in the foreign language classroom: A micro-perspective. Springer.

Seligman, M. (2018). PERMA and the building blocks of well-being. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 13(4), 333-335.

Seligman, M. E., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology. American Psychologist, 55(1), 5-14.

Wang, Y., L., Derakhshan, A., & Zhang, L. J. (2021). Researching and practicing positive psychology in second/foreign language learning and teaching: The past, current status, and future directions. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 1-10.

Zhang, L. J. (2000). Uncovering Chinese ESL students’ reading anxiety in a study-abroad context. Asia Pacific Journal of Language in Education 3(2), 31-56.

Zhang, L. J. (2001). Exploring variability in language anxiety: Two groups of PRC students learning ESL in Singapore. RELC Journal, 32(1), 73-91.


Submission information

Submissions need to follow the following guidelines

Important dates

Deadlines for the call for abstracts, papers, and reviews

  • -Call for abstracts: 20 February 2023 (250-350 words)

Please kindly include the name(s) of the author(s), affiliations(s), and a bio(s) of not more than 150 words for the author(s).

  • -Full paper submission deadline: 30 July 2023
  • -Review decision: 1 November 2023
  • -Final version submission: 15 December 2023
  • -Publication date: January 2024

Submissions and queries should be addressed to the guest editors of this special issue at Dr. Ali Derakhshan ( or or Dr. Mirosław Pawlak (