Positive psychology in cross-cultural narratives: Mexican students discover themselves while learning Chinese
PDF

Keywords

language learner narrative
PERMA model
Chinese as a second/foreign language

How to Cite

Oxford, R. L., & Cuéllar, L. (2014). Positive psychology in cross-cultural narratives: Mexican students discover themselves while learning Chinese. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 4(2), 173–203. https://doi.org/10.14746/ssllt.2014.4.2.10

Abstract

Using the principles of positive psychology and the tools of narrative research, this article focuses on the psychology of five language learners who crossed cultural and linguistic borders. All five were university students learning Chinese in Mexico, and two of them also studied Chinese in China. The grounded theory approach was used to analyze and interpret the students’ narratives. Seligman’s (2011) PERMA model, the centerpiece of the modern view of well-being, provided the theoretical framework. The results led to the conclusion that language learning can be a major journey in self-discovery, rich in positive emotions tied to experiences of engagement, relationship, meaning, and accomplishment.
https://doi.org/10.14746/ssllt.2014.4.2.10
PDF

References

Arnold, J. (1999). Affect in language learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bailey, K. M., & Nunan, D. (1996) Voices from the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bakhtin, M. (1986). Speech genres and other late essays. In C. Emerson & M. Holquist (Eds.), Speech genres and other late essays (pp. 60-102). Austin: University of Texas Press.

Barcelos, A. (2008). Learning English: Students’ beliefs and experiences in Brazil. In P. Kalaja, V. Menezes, & A. Barcelos (Eds.), Narratives of learning and teaching EFL (pp. 35-48). Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Barkhuizen, G. (2011). Narrative knowledging in TESOL. TESOL Quarterly, 45(3), 391-444.

Bell, J. S. (2002). Narrative inquiry: More than just telling stories. TESOL Quarterly, 36(2), 207-213.

Benson, P., & Nunan, D. (Eds.). (2004). Learner stories: Difference and diversity in language learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Berry, J. W., Poortinga, Y. H., Segall, M. H., & Dasen, P. R. (2002). Cross-cultural psychology: Research and applications (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bruner, J. (1991). Acts of meaning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Chamot, A. U. (2007). Accelerating academic achievement of English language learners: A synthesis of five evaluations of the CALLA Model. In J. Cummins & C. Davidson (Eds.), The international handbook of English language learning, Part 1 (pp. 317-331). Norwell, MA: Springer.

Cohen, A. D. (2011). Strategies in learning and using a second language (2nd ed.) London: Longman.

Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1999). Narrative inquiry. In J. P. Keeves & G. Lakomski (Eds.), Issues in educational research (pp. 132-140). New York: Pergamon Press.

Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2007). Basics of qualitative research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Creswell, J. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Csíkszentmihály, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Plenum.

Csíkszentmihályi, M. (1996/2013). Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: Harper Collins.

Csíkszentmihályi, M. (1998). Finding flow: The psychology of engagement with everyday life. New York: Basic Books.

Csíkszentmihályi, M. (2008). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience (2nd ed.). New York: Harper.

Csíkszentmihályi, I. S., & Csíkszentmihályi, M. (Eds.). (2006). A life worth living: Contributions to positive psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Cuéllar, L. (2012, November). Learning Chinese in an inspired mode. Paper presented at the annual Chinese Language Education Forum, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Damasio, A. (1994). Descartes’ error: Emotion, reason, and the human brain. New York: Penguin Putnam.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1991). A motivational approach to self: Integration in personality. In R. Dienstbier (Ed.), Nebraska symposium on motivation. Vol. 38 (pp. 237-288). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227-268.

Dörnyei, Z. (2009). The psychology of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dörnyei, Z., & Ushioda, E. (2011). Teaching and researching motivation (2nd ed.). Harlow: Pearson Longman.

Frederickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56, 218-226.

Frederickson, B. L. (2003). The value of positive emotions: The emerging science of positive psychology looks into why it’s good to feel good. American Scientist, 91, 330-335.

Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. New York: Aldine.

Griffiths, C. (2013). The strategy factor in successful language learning. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Gunning, P., & Oxford, R. L. (2014). Children’s learning strategy use and the effects of strategy instruction on success in learning ESL in Canada. System, 43(2), 82-100.

Guiora, A. Z. (1983). Introduction: An epistemology for the language sciences. Language Learning, 33(1), 6-11.

Hardy, B. (1968). Toward a poetics of fiction. Novel, 2, 5-14.

Hofstede, G. (2014a). What about China? Retrieved from the Hofstede Centre website: http://geert-hofstede.com/china.html

Hofstede, G. (2014b). What about Mexico? Retrieved from the Hofstede Centre website: http://geert-hofstede.com/mexico.html

Horwitz, E. (2007). Words fail me: Foreign language anxiety crippling for some students. E. Horwitz interviewed by K. Randall. University of Texas at Austin feature story. Retrieved from the University of Texas at Austin website: http://www.utexas.edu/features/2007/language

Horwitz, E., & Young, D. J. (Eds.). (1991). Language anxiety: From theory and research to classroom implications. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

James, W. (1910/1987). Writings 1902-1910 (2nd ed.). New York: Library of America.

Josselson, R., & Lieblich, A. (Eds.) (1995). Interpreting experience. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Kao, T-A., & Oxford, R. L. (2014). Learning language through music: A strategy for building inspiration and motivation. System, 43(2), 114-120.

Lazarus, R. S. (2003). Does the positive psychology movement have legs? Psychological Inquiry, 14(2), 93-109.

Lederach, J. P. (1995). Preparing for peace: Conflict transformation across cultures. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Le Doux, J. (1998). The emotional brain: The mysterious underpinnings of emotional life. New York: Simon & Schuster.

MacIntyre, P. D. (2002). Motivation, anxiety, and emotion in second language acquisition. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Individual differences and instructed language learning (pp. 45-68). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Martel, Y. (2011). Beatrice and Virgil: A novel. New York: Spiegel & Grau.

Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and personality (Rev. ed.). New York: Harper & Row.

Maslow, A. H. (1971). The farther reaches of human nature. New York: Penguin Compass.

McAdams, D. P., Josselson, R., & Lieblich, A. (2006). Identity and story: Creating self in narrative. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

McIntosh, C. N., & Noels, K. A. (2004). Self-determined motivation for language learning: The role of need for cognition and language learning strategies. Zeitschrift für Interkulturellen Fremdsprachenunterricht, 9(2). Retreived from http://www.ualberta.ca /~german/ ejournal /Mcintosh2.htm

Mercer, S. (2011). The self as a complex dynamic system. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 1(1), 57-82.

Ochs, E., Taylor, C, Rudolph, D., & Smith, R. (1992). Storytelling as a theorybuilding activity. Discourse Processes, 15(1), 37-72.

Oxford, R. L. (1990). Language learning strategies: What every teacher should know. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Oxford, R. L. (1996). When emotion meets (meta)cognition in language learning histories. In A. Moeller, A. (Ed.), The teaching of culture and language in the second language classroom: Focus on the learner (Special issue of International Journal of Educational Research, 23(7), pp. 581-594).

Oxford, R. L. (2011a). Meaning-making, border crossings, complexity, and new interpretive techniques: Expanding our understanding of learner narratives. Zeitschrift für Fremdsprachenforschung (Journal of Foreign Language Research), 22(2), 221-241.

Oxford, R. L. (2011b). Teaching and researching language learning strategies. Harlow: Pearson Longman.

Oxford, R. L. (2013). Understanding language learner narratives. In J. Arnold & T. Murphey (Eds.), Meaningful action: Earl Stevick’s influence on language teaching (pp. 95-110). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oxford, R. L., Daniel, S., Wei, M., & Richter, E. (2011, March). Emotions and “hot cognition” in second and foreign language (L2) learning. Presentation at the American Association for Applied Linguistics, Chicago, IL, USA.

Oxford, R. L., Ehrman, M. E., & Lavine, R. Z. (1991). Style wars: Teacher-student style conflicts in the language classroom. In S. S. Magnan (Ed.), Challenges for the 1990s for college language programs (pp. 1-25). Boston: Heinle / Thomson Learning.

Oxford, R. L., Lavine, R. Z., Felkins, G., Hollaway, M. E., & Saleh, A. (1996). Telling their stories: Language students use diaries and recollection. In R. L. Oxford (Ed.), Language learning strategies around the world: Crosscultural perspectives (pp. 19-34). Honolulu: University of Hawaii, Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center.

Oxford, R. L., Massey, K. R., & Anand, S. (2005). Transforming teacher-student style relationships: Toward a more welcoming and diverse classroom discourse. In C. Holten & J. Frodesen (Eds.), The power of discourse in language learning and teaching (pp. 249-266). Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Oxford, R. L., Meng, Y., Zhou, Y., Sung, J. & Jain, R. (2007). Uses of adversity: Moving beyond L2 learning crises. In A. Barfield & S. Brown (Eds.), Reconstructing autonomy in language education: Inquiry and innovation (pp. 131-142). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Oxford, R. L., Tomlinson, S., Barcelos, A., Harrington, C., Lavine, R., Saleh, A., & Longhini, A. (1998). Clashing metaphors about classroom teachers: Toward a systematic typology for the language teaching field. System: An International Journal of Educational Technology and Applied Linguistics, 26(1), 3-51.

Pavlenko, A. (2006). Bilingual selves. In A. Pavlenko (Ed.), Bilingual minds: Emotional experience, expression and representation (pp. 1-33). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Pavlenko, A., & Blackledge, A. (2004) Negotiation of identities in multilingual contexts. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Pavlenko, A., & Lantolf, J. (2000). Second language learning as participation and the (re)construction of selves. In J. P. Lantolf (Ed.), Sociocultural theory and second language learning (pp. 155-177). New York: Oxford University Press.

Piaget, J. (1981). Intelligence and affectivity: Their relationship during child development. Palo Alto: Annual Reviews.

Pintrich, P. R., Marx, R. W., & Boyle, R. A. (1993). Beyond cold conceptual change: The role of motivational beliefs and contextual factors in the process of contextual change. Review of Educational Research, 63(2), 167-199.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68-78.

Seligman, M. (2006). Learned optimism: How to change your mind and your life. New York: Vintage.

Seligman, M. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Silo, aka M. L. Rodríguez Cobos. (2006a). Psychology I. In Silo (Ed.), Apuntes de psicología [Psychology Notes] (pp. 2-32). Mendoza, Argentina: Universal Humanism. Retrieved from http:// www. silo.net/collected_works/psychology_notes Also: http://www.silo.net/system/documents/89/original/Apuntes_en.pdf

Silo, aka M.L. Rodríguez Cobos. (2006b). Psychology II. In Silo (Ed.), Apuntes de psicología [Psychology Notes] (pp. 33-84). Mendoza, Argentina: Universal Humanism. Retrieved from http:// www.silo.net/collected_works/psychology_notes Also: http://www.silo.net/system/documents/89/original/Apuntes_en.pdf

Silo, aka M.L. Rodríguez Cobos. (2006c). Psychology IV. In Silo (Ed.), Apuntes de psicología [Psychology Notes] (pp. 96-106). Mendoza, Argentina: Universal Humanism. Retrieved from http://www.silo.net/collected_works/psychology_notes Also: http://www.silo.net/system/documents/89/original/Apuntes_en.pdf

Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Thornbury, S. (2013). The learning body. In J. Arnold & T. Murphey (Eds.), Meaningful action: Earl Stevick’s influence on language teaching (pp. 62-78). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ushioda, E. (2009). A person-in-context relational view of emergent motivation and identity. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language identity, and the L2 self (pp. 215-228). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Vaid, J. (2006). Joking across languages: Perspectives on humor, emotion, and bilingualism. In A. Pavlenko (Ed.), Bilingual minds: Emotional experience, expression and representation (pp. 152-182). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

White, M. (2007). Maps of narrative practice. New York: W. W. Norton.