Keep up the good work: How language teachers foster positive affect in university students

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Drawing on research in positive psychology and second language acquisition, this article presents essential teacher qualities and behaviors that contribute to positive affect
in second/foreign language learners in higher education. I argue that language teachers’
kindness, empathy, enthusiasm and professionalism (KEEP) build students’ trust and
respect, and create a positive learning environment where students cooperate with
teachers willingly; that is, attend class gladly, participate in learning activities, do homework and strive to get good grades. Teachers foster this positive affect starting from the
first lesson, by consistently behaving in ways that nurture positive affect in every lesson.
Thanks to their empathy and enthusiasm, teachers become more creative and are able
to prevent boredom in their classes, paving the way to more motivated, engaged and
resilient students. The scientific and practical evidence presented in this article will inspire second and foreign language teachers to adopt KEEP for their students’ and their
own benefit. Researchers are invited to put to the test some of the claims I have made
here as a practicing language teacher in higher education these past 36 years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-497
Number of pages21
JournalKonin Language Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Language teacher qualities
  • Positive affect
  • Language learner resilience


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