Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 16

Accepted Abstracts

Critical Emotioning and Critical Thinking: Improving Second Language Learning

Elham Zandvakili, University of Massachusetts (United States)


Teachers and researchers ignore the importance of emotions in second language learning. This essay on “critical emotioning” is a first step in highlighting the importance and primacy of emotions in second language learning. Critical emotioning comes before critical thinking. It is controversial to make the claim that Emotions come before thinking. In this essay I will show the evidence for this claim and present a methodology for critical emotioning.  Thinking is the handmaiden of the emotions is the way that David Hume put it three hundred years ago. In recent years there was a controversy as to the primacy of emotions or thinking but that issue is now settled science, emotions come first, and thinking come second. Thinking has an important place in “critical emotioning” and it will be shown that critical emotioning is an important step in improving second language learning. This is an essay on critical emotioning. Emotions are not simple feelings that sweep over us. Emotions are complex sequential experiences that includes images, feelings, bodily reactions, thoughts, judgments, and action tendencies. The complexities of emotions are evolutionary mechanisms whose functions are to regulate the relations within and between individuals in groups. Group learning and especially collaborative learning are powerful activities to facilitate academic achievement. For far too long, there has been an emphasis upon individual learning that has left the learner isolated and without social support. The methodology of critical emotionining will provide learners with the clarity of feelings and thoughts that will make them better learners and good team members. Critical emotioning concept maps are the graphical representation of individual emotions that are important tools in improving the achievement of second language learning. Critical emotioning concept maps are based upon the critical thinking maps framework developed by Zandvakili,et al (2019). The critical thinking maps are graphical representations of knowledge using the critical thinking questions: what, when, why, where, who and how.  In this study it was demonstrated that students learned to organize knowledge asking the questions what happened, why, where, when. One of the dividends of this approach to knowledge construction is that students could see their thinking on paper in the maps they constructed. Perhaps more importantly, when working collaboratively and sharing maps, students were able to see the thinking of their peers. 

Keywords: Critical Thinking, Critical Emotioning, Second Language Learning, Emotional Self- peer Assessment


  • Hume, D. (2010). Moral and political philosophy. Simon and Schuster.
  • Washington, E., & Zandvakili, E. (2019). The Emotional Climate Scale: Understanding Emotions, Context and Justice. Journal of Education and Learning8(1), 21-28.
  • Zandvakili, Elham, et al. "Teaching patterns of critical thinking: The 3CA Model—Concept maps, critical thinking, collaboration, and assessment." SAGE Open 9.4 (2019): 2158244019885142.

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