Introduction: Combining learner psychology and ISLA research: Intersections in the classroom

Masatoshi Sato, Kata Csizér

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores intersections between two subfields of second language acquisition research: learner psychology (LP) and instructed second language acquisition (ISLA). Despite the common goal of discovering second language (L2) learning processes and products, the two inquiries have taken distinct paths. We argue that it is necessary to unite the knowledge and methods in the two inquiries, in order to answer theoretical and practical questions pertaining to classroom L2 teaching and learning. We make the case that the L2 classroom may be an ideal venue to explore the intersections of the two fields. Three intersections will be discussed. First, research can address the relationship between LP and interactional behaviors during classroom activities that have been investigated in ISLA research. Second, the roles of teachers, the classroom environment, and instruction – the primary variables in ISLA research – can be examined in relation to LP in the classroom. Third, research can target LP as a dependent variable in experimental designs that ISLA research often employs. LP is a primary concern of L2 teachers who face a range of LP (unmotivated students, silent students, anxious students, etc.). Some teachers are also concerned about the potential negative impact of a certain instructional technique on LP. Thus, combining LP and ISLA perspectives helps answer various pedagogical concerns, whether these are related to particular LP issues, or the impact of instructional techniques on LP. Throughout the article, we propose future research topics and make pedagogical recommendations addressing LP in the classroom.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-855
Number of pages17
JournalLanguage Teaching Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • classroom observation
  • dynamic approach
  • emotions
  • instructed second language acquisition
  • L2 motivation
  • learner psychology
  • quasi-experimental research
  • willingness to communicate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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