Success: From failure to failure with enthusiasm

Main Article Content

Danuta Gabryś-Barker


In this article I would like to look briefly at the background to the concept of enthusiasm, its evolution from earlier understandings in the domain of religion to its modern understandings as expressed by various lexicographic sources. This will lead me to the major focus of the article, which is the various applications of enthusiasm in education. Not surprisingly, there is a large body of empirical studies on teacher and learner enthusiasm and its contribution to successful teaching and learning. A selection of studies is presented here and their results are discussed. The empirical part of this article looks at my own qualitative study of pre-service EFL teachers’ narratives and their perceptions of teacher enthusiasm and its impact on teaching and learning success, as seen from their own perspective. In the concluding part I suggest how teacher training should incorporate ideas on teacher enthusiasm and strategies to deploy them as prospective weapons in preventing professional burnout in teachers. As Churchill said, “success is not final... Failure is not fatal... it´s the courage to continue that counts.” I strongly believe that it is enthusiasm that gives us courage to continue.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Gabryś-Barker, D. (2014). Success: From failure to failure with enthusiasm. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 4(2), 301-325.
Author Biography

Danuta Gabryś-Barker, University of Silesia, Institute of English, ul. Gen. Grota-Roweckiego 5, 41-205 Sosnowiec
Danuta Gabryś-Barker is Professor of English at the University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland, where she lectures and supervises MA and PhD theses in applied linguistics, psycholinguistics and especially in second language acquisition. Her main areas of interest are multilingualism and applied psycholinguistics. As a teacher trainer she lectures on research methods in second language acquisition and TEFL projects. Professor GabryƑ-Barker has published over a hundred articles nationally as well as internationally and the books Aspects of Multilingual Storage, Processing and Retrieval (2005, Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu _ůČskiego) and Reflectivity in Pre-service Teacher Education (2012, Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu _ůČskiego). She has edited nine volumes, among others for Multilingual Matters, Springer and the University of Silesia Press (Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu _ůČskiego). Professor GabryƑ-Barker is the editor-in-chief (together with Eva Vetter) of the International Journal of Multilingualism (Taylor & Francis/Routledge).


  1. Abrams, D. (1990). Play in work: Childish hedonism. American Behavioral Scientist, 33(3), 353-374.
  2. Anderson, L. M., Holt-Reynolds, D., (1995). Prospective teachers´ beliefs and teacher education pedagogy. Research based on teacher educator´s practical theory. Retrieved from
  3. Anderson, T., Rourke, L., Garrison, D., & Archer, W. (2001). Assessing teaching presence in a computer conferencing context. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 5(2), 1-17.
  4. Babad, E., (2007). Nonverbal behaviour in education. In J. A. Harrigan, R. Rosenthal, & K. R. Scherer (Eds.), The new handbook of methods in nonverbal behaviour research (pp. 283-211). New York: Oxford University Press.
  5. Bauer, C. F. (2002). What students think – College students describe their high school chemistry class. The Science Teacher, 69, 52-55.
  6. Bettencourt, E. M., Gillett, M. H., Galland, M. D., & Hull, R. E. (1983). Effects of teacher enthusiasm training on student on-task behaviour and achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 20, 435-450.
  7. Bloch, P. (19860. Product enthusiasm: Many questions, a few answers. NAAdvances in Consumer Research, 13, 539-543.
  8. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper Collins.
  9. Collins, M. L. (1978). Effects of enthusiasm training on preservice elementary teachers. Research in Teacher Education, 29(1), 63-67.
  10. Dean, J. (2005). The effective primary school classroom: The essential guide for new teachers. New York: Routledge/Falmer.
  11. Dörnyei, Z. (2001). Teaching and researching motivation. Harlow: Pearson Education Enthusiasm. (2010). In The American heritage dictionary of the English language (4th edition). Houghton Mifflin.
  12. Enthusiasm. (n.d.). In The free dictionary by Farlex. Retrieved from on 1 September 2013
  13. Feldman, K. A. (2007). Identifying exemplary teachers and teaching. Evidence from student ratings. In R. P. Perry & J. C. Smart (Eds.), The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education – An evidence-based perspective (pp. 93-143). Dordrecht: Springer.
  14. Frenzel, A. C. M., Goetz, T., Lƾdtke, O., Pekrun, R & Sutton, R. E. (2009). Emotional transmission in the classroom: Exploring the relationship between teacher and student enjoyment. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(3), 705-716.
  15. Gabryś-Barker, D. (2012). Reflectivity in pre-service teacher education. A survey of theory and practice. Katowice: University of Silesia Press.
  16. Hargreaves, A. (2000). Mixed emotions: Teachers’ perceptions of their interactions with students. Teaching and Teacher Education, 16, 811-826.
  17. Keller, M. (2011). Teacher enthusiasm in physics instruction (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.
  18. Keller, M., Neumann, K., Fischer, H. E. (2013). Teacher enthusiasm and student learning. In J. Hattie & E. Anderman (Eds.), International guide to student achievement (pp. 247-250). New York, NY: Routledge.
  19. Killen, R. (2006). Effective teaching strategies: Lessons from research and practice. Melbourne: Thomson Social Science.
  20. Kunter, M., Tsai, Y. M., Klusmann, U., Runner, M., Krauss, S., & Baumert, J. (2008). Students’ and mathematics teachers’ perceptions of teacher enthusiasm and instruction. Learning and Instruction, 18(5), 468-482.
  21. Kunter, M., Frenzel, A., Nagy, G., Baumert, J., Pekrun, R. (2011). Teacher enthusiasm: Dimensionality and context specificity. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36(4), 289-301.
  22. Lunsford, S. (2011). Teacher enthusiasm scale. Retrieved from www.Christine´sTeacherEnthusiamScale.doc on 2 September 2013
  23. Maslow, A. (1954). Motivation and personality. New York: Harper.
  24. Metcalfe, A., & Game, A. (2006). The teacher´s enthusiasm. The Australian Educational Researcher, 33(3), 91-106.
  25. Mottet, T. P., & Beebe, S. A. (2000). Emotional contagion in the classroom. An examination of how teacher and student emotions are related. Retrieved from ERIC database. (ED447522)
  26. Murphy, C. A. & Walls, R. T. (1994, April). Concurrent and sequential occurrences of teacher enthusiasm behaviours. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans. Retrieved from http://localhost../../../../articles/u/p/l/WikEd. (ED 375 128)
  27. Noels, K. A. (2001). Learning Spanish as a second language: Students’ orientations and perceptions of teachers’ communicative style. Language Learning, 51, 107-144.
  28. OECD. (2005). Teachers matter: Attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers. OECD Publishing.
  29. OECD. (2012). Teaching in focus: What can be done to support new teachers. Retrieved from on 18 May 2014.
  30. Patrick, B. C., Hisley, J., & Kempler, T. (2000). “What´s everybody so excited about?”: The effects of teacher enthusiasm on student intrinsic motivation and vitality. The Journal of Experimental Education, 68(3), 217-236.
  31. Rodgers, C., & Raider-Roth, M. (2006). Presence in teaching. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and practice, 12(3), 265-287.
  32. Rosenshine, B. (1970). Enthusiastic teaching. A research review. The School Review, 78(4), 499-514.
  33. Rosenshine, B., & Furst, N. (1971). Research on teacher performance criteria. In B. O. Smith (Ed.), Research in teacher education: A symposium (pp. 37-72). Englewood Cliffs, NY: Prentice-Hall.
  34. Sanders, P., & Gosenpud, J. (1986). Perceived instructor enthusiasm and student achievement. Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Exercises, 13, 52-55.
  35. Stewart, R. A. (1989). Interaction effects of teacher enthusiasm and student notetaking on recall and recognition of lecture content. Communication Research Reports 6(2), 84-89. Retrieved from
  36. Stronge, J. H., (2007). Qualities of effective teachers. New York: ASCD.
  37. Travers, Ch. J., & Cooper, C. L. (1996). Teachers under pressure: Stress in the teaching profession. London: Routledge.
  38. Tucker, S. (1972). Enthusiasm: A study in semantic change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  39. Unal, Z., & Unal, A. (2012). The impact of years of teaching experience on the classroom management approaches of elementary school teachers. International Journal of Instruction, 5(2), 41-60.
  40. Urban, H. (2008). Lessons from the classroom: 20 things good teachers do. Michigan: Great Lessons.