Mindsets, L2 grit, flow, and stress in language learners and teachers: From emergency remote instruction to post-pandemic brick-and-mortar classes

Michał B. Paradowski

Institute of Applied Linguistics, University of Warsaw

TIME: 4:30pm - 5:30pm, Nov. 9

PLACE: Lucy B. Ellis Lounge, SLCL Building (formerly FLB)

Learning a foreign language is a long-term process requiring persistence and a willingness to engage in activities that will help develop communicative competence. An important role on the way to achieving linguistic proficiency is played by L2 grit. Researchers have also been paying increased attention to flow experience – a psychological state of intense engagement in a performed activity.

We present the findings from a comprehensive questionnaire study investigating the non-trivial interactions among the predictors of L2 grit and flow in online vs face-to-face contexts. A multiple linear regression model basing on responses of over 1,200 participants from 60+ countries learning 33 different languages demonstrates that in F2F contexts, L2 grit is predicted by self-directed learning, learning motivation, autonomy, resilience, and fixed language mindset, while in the online condition only by the first three of these factors, but no influence of L2 mindset any longer. Regression models with flow as the dependent variable in turn likewise confirm the existence of distinct predictors in in-class vs remote settings. The differential predictors of L2 grit and flow suggest that these constructs are highly context-dependent, which realization should be taken into account in future investigations.

Online instruction took off exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are going to take the final minutes of the talk to present selected findings from a project examining the transition to emergency remote instruction of educators and students from 118 countries. Inferential analyses of instructors’ responses indicate among others that psychological overload was mediated by perception of student coping; stress levels were affected by anxiety about the future, living conditions, self-acceptance, appraisal of situational impact, course optionality, and perceived effectiveness of virtual delivery; language teachers felt that remote instruction depressed students’ progress by 64%, with future learning outcomes the biggest cause for concern in beginner-level courses; and that breakups of some constructs in clusters of naturally correlating variables suggest that in crisis situations these may function differently than during ‘business as usual’, supporting the Strong Situation Hypothesis. We also demonstrate how participants’ coping behavior and attitudes were moderated by multilingualism, as well as discuss factors distinguishing better- and worse-coping students. Lastly, we reveal that extraversion influenced anxiety in the instructor cohort, but not among students.