Plurilingual Tasks in TESL to Improve Learners’ Emotionality

Conference: The European Conference on Language Learning (ECLL2022)
Title: Plurilingual Tasks in TESL to Improve Learners’ Emotionality
Stream: Approaches
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Lana Zeaiter, McGill University, Canada


The impact of emotions on language learning on one hand has been documented (White, 2018); similarly, there is evidence on the positive impact of plurilingualism on language acquisition among learners (Piccardo, 2019). However, there is little knowledge on the role of plurilingualism in improving learners’ emotional well-being, and the consequent impact on language acquisition. Since emotions are closely tied to language, overlooking or misunderstanding students’ emotionality can result in stunted learning (Arnold, 2021; Dewaele, 2021). Current TESL practices are often anchored in monolingual ideologies in a way that promotes English as a dominant language. Such practices can disregard learners’ emotional needs (Dewaele & Li, 2020), as well as their diverse linguistic backgrounds (Paterson, 2020). Additionally, the focus on the cognitive dimension of language can neglect the important role of students’ emotions in the language learning process (Richards, 2020). Learners, unaware of the term plurilingualism, may nevertheless resort to plurilingual strategies such as translation (Galante, 2021) to express different kinds of emotions and navigate language differences. This presentation aims to highlight how plurilingual pedagogy can be implemented in TESL classes while addressing learners’ emotional well-being. The points raised in this presentation are based on tasks that I developed and applied in three undergraduate English language classes in a university in Lebanon. Major outcomes included (1) increased student motivation to learn English, (2) increased confidence using English, and (3) stronger sense of belonging. Although these TESL tasks were implemented in a Lebanese context, they could be used in any other multilingual context.

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