UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Promoting Positive Emotions during the Emergency Remote Teaching of English for Academic Purposes: The Unexpected Role of the Constructionist Approach Kohnke, Lucas; Foung, Dennis


Despite the significant research on the effectiveness and challenges of emergency remote teaching (ERT) during the global COVID-19 pandemic, few studies have focused on the systematic facilitation of positive emotions by classroom teachers. This study aimed to identify the strategies that teachers of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) used during the ERT period, by interviewing 18 university English teachers in Hong Kong. Our results suggest that one traditional learning theory, the constructionist approach, played an unexpectedly important role in facilitating positive student emotions, as well as encouraging learning. Cognitively demanding tasks helped divert students’ attention away from the negative emotions they faced and towards their learning. Interactions also played an essential role in helping students learn and in reducing negative emotions. These results shed light on the significance of positive emotions in an online or ERT environment, with significant implications for university teachers who want their teaching to systematically promote positive emotions.

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CC BY 4.0