The Impact of Academic Emotions on Language Learning in the University Context: a Narrative Review
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Emotions affect learning in general and language learning (LL) in particular since they contain useful information that guides human cognition, behaviour and motivation. As such, emotions experienced in an academic setting affect the learner in a variety of ways. University students are frequently affected by emotions as a result of the difficulty in adjusting. This condition is observed as having impacted on LL, particularly on English, which has now become a very decisive factor in academic learning and achievement in Sri Lanka. The study aimed at identifying the wide array of emotions that are experienced in academic settings, their properties, the theoretical underpinnings, sources, functions and the impact of positive academic emotions (PAE) and negative academic emotions (NAE) on LL. It was also expected to identify the research trends in emotions and LL over the decades. This article is composed in the form a narrative review for which 30 studies on emotions and learning during the past 16 years were explored. A narrative inductive method was utilized to identify patterns across gathered data and to condense varied secondary data gathered from extensive reading into a summary format. The information found were analysed thematically in relation to the research questions. The findings suggest that, it is very difficult to set clear cut rules to prove positive emotions (PE) foster and negative emotions (NE) hinder LL for they serve different useful purposes. The impact of emotions on LL should therefore be further analyzed theoretically and investigated empirically pertaining to different contexts. There also exists a need to empirically test the existing limited theories on emotion to figure out the range of their validity within diverse contexts. The major implication derived from the study is that, language teaching in Sri Lankan universities, where English is taught as a second language (L2), is quite a mindful undertaking which should be planned and carried out with great care bearing in mind the strong relationship between emotions and learning.