Dr Christina Gkonou

Reader (R)
Department of Language and Linguistics
Dr Christina Gkonou
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872633

  • Location

    4.119, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    Spring term 2021: Monday 11.30-13.30 (email me for the meeting link)



I received my PhD in English Language Teaching and MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from the Department of Language and Linguistics at the University of Essex. I also have a CELTA qualification at Pass Grade A and a BA in English Language and Literature from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. In 2006-2007 I studied French-Greek translation at the University Paul Valery Montpellier III, France. At Essex, I lead the MA TESOL programme and teach on a range of different modules on language teacher education and the psychology of language learning and teaching. Under the Erasmus+ scheme, I have taught undergraduate and postgraduate students at universities overseas including the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), University of Bremen (Germany), Pontificia Universidad Catolica in Lima (Peru) and Freie Universitat Berlin (Germany). My research is concerned with the affective dimension of language learning and teaching, particularly language learner anxiety and language teacher emotions. I am currently looking at how and why teachers undertake emotional labour in their daily practice, through analysing narrative accounts and seeking to understand how they capitalise on the different emotional experiences they encounter as part of their role. Additionally, I work closely with Cambridge University Press on a number of projects on emotional skills (as part of the new Cambridge Framework for Life Competencies in Education), test/retest anxiety, anxiety among children, and psychological wellbeing. My latest book (2020) is on The Emotional Rollercoaster of Language Teaching (co-edited with Jean-Marc Dewaele and Jim King; published by Multilingual Matters). I am currently writing a book on The Flourishing School: Cultivating wellbeing for teachers and leaders (with Kate Brierton; to be published in 2021 by Cambridge University Press). My work has received recognition and attracted interest at an international scale, and I am often invited to discuss it through plenaries and keynote presentations at international conferences. I also have extensive experience in supervising doctoral students on topics surrounding the psychological dimensions of language learning and teaching. In 2013 I was shortlisted for a British Council ELTons Award for Innovative Writing, and in 2015 I received a British Council English Language Teaching Research Award for a collaborative research project on English language teachers' emotional and social intelligence. In 2017 I received a Celebrating Excellence Award from the Faculty of Social Sciences for innovative ideas and for promoting the department's TESOL programmes. In 2019 I was invited to act as Expert Panel Member of the new MA TEFL programme of the Arab Open University (in Egypt but also across eight other countries in the Middle East) and I currently serve as External Examiner for the MA TESOL and MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL at the University of Birmingham and the University of Kent.


  • BA Hons (Aristotle University)

  • MA (Essex)

  • RSA Cambridge CELTA

  • PhD Essex

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) Advance HE,


University of Essex

  • Deputy Director of Education (Linguistics), University of Essex (1/9/2017 - present)

  • MA TESOL Course Director, University of Essex (1/9/2017 - present)

  • GTA Coordinator, University of Essex (1/8/2018 - present)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Psychology of foreign language learning and teaching

Open to supervise

Language teacher emotions, emotional labour and emotional capital

Open to supervise

Language teacher agency and identity

Open to supervise

Affective and meta-affective strategies for language learning

Open to supervise

Language teacher education

Open to supervise

Social and emotional learning

Open to supervise

Language learner and teacher wellbeing

Open to supervise

Current research

Emotional self-regulation in language classrooms

Caring, emotional labour and teacher professional identity

Critical incidents in language teaching

The language of emotion

Cognition and emotion in language teacher self-reflection

Conferences and presentations

Caring for teachers and their wellbeing

Keynote presentation, Effective Teaching of Foreign Languages (Virtual Conference), Poznań, Poland, 21/11/2020

Series of online lectures on: The emotional rollercoaster of language teaching, and The psychology of language learning

Invited presentation, Changchun, China, 28/10/2020

The emotional rollercoaster of language teaching

Keynote presentation, FEL Internacional – El Foro De Estudios En Lenguas 2020 (Virtual Conference), Chetumal, Mexico, 7/10/2020

The ups and downs of language learning

Keynote presentation, The Asian Conference on Language (ACL2020) (Virtual Conference), The Asian Conference on Language (ACL2020), Tokyo, Japan, 26/3/2020

Teaching high: Wellbeing in the making (The James E. Alatis Honorary Plenary for Outstanding Service to the ELT Field)

Keynote presentation, TESOL Greece 41st Annual International Convention on ‘Teaching high: Embracing versatility’, Athens, Greece, 7/3/2020

Language teacher emotions, motivation and the craft of qualitative interviewing

Keynote presentation, Forum on Language Learning Motivation: Celebrating methodological diversity in the research community, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, 19/2/2020

Exploring the teaching heart: A critical incident analysis of language teacher emotions

Invited presentation, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, 18/2/2020

Cultivating wellbeing in English language teaching: Supporting teachers to flourish and thrive

Invited presentation, Better Learning Conference, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 3/7/2019

Series of lectures on: Researching language learner anxiety and other emotions, Research methods for teacher identities and emotions, Researching language learning and teaching as social and relational practices, and Doing research in applied linguistics and TESOL - topics, methods, concerns and solutions

Invited presentation, Changchun, China, 24/6/2019

Identities and emotions in language teaching practice

Invited presentation, Seoul, South Korea, 1/4/2019

Understanding shifts in language teacher identities and emotions

Invited presentation, JALT Teacher Development SIG Workshop on 'Teacher Identity and Emotions', Tokyo, Japan, 20/3/2019

Rethinking the language learner: What can the psychology of language learning offer?

Keynote presentation, 7th Bremen Symposium on Language Learning and Teaching at Universities, Bremen, Germany, 1/3/2019

Emotional and social intelligence: Examples from foreign language education

Invited presentation, Scientific Colloquium of the Department of Greek Philology, Komotini, Greece, 16/1/2019

Foreign language learner anxiety: Causes, consequences and classroom cures

Invited presentation, Language Acts and World Making workshop on 'The role of emotions in foreign language learning and teaching', London, United Kingdom, 24/11/2018

Current trends in qualitative research into language teaching

Invited presentation, Beijing, China, 15/6/2018

Critical incidents in language teaching

Invited presentation, Beijing, China, 11/6/2018

Storying language teacher selves: Emotionality in reflections on critical incidents in past teaching

Keynote presentation, Teacher Journeys 2018, Tokyo, Japan, 3/6/2018

Anxiety-free exam preparation for young learners

Invited presentation, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 17/5/2018

Anxious learners, caring teachers and the emotional labour of teaching

Invited presentation, Manchester, United Kingdom, 1/5/2018

Teacher emotions and teacher education for TESOL

Invited presentation, Canterbury, United Kingdom, 21/3/2018

Emotions and foreign language education

Invited presentation, Thessaloniki, Greece, 19/12/2017

Exploring English language teachers’ emotions

Invited presentation, Leicester, United Kingdom, 1/3/2017

The dynamic interplay between learner agency and language anxiety

Invited presentation, Leeds, United Kingdom, 3/2/2016

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Language Teaching in Different Contexts (LG329)

  • Topics in the Psychology of Language Learning and Teaching (LG429)

  • Language Learning and Teaching (LG522)

  • Teaching Younger Learners (LG540)

  • Teaching Practice (LG655)

  • Educational Leadership and Management (LG656)

  • Project: Linguistics (LG831)

  • MA Dissertation (LG981)

  • MA Dissertation for 24 Month Programmes (LG984)

Previous supervision

Wafa Atief A Alamri
Wafa Atief A Alamri
Thesis title: A Mixed Methods Investigation of Foreign Language Anxiety and Anxiety-Reducing Strategies in the Saudi Context
Degree subject: Applied Linguistics
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 24/6/2020
Lorena Salud Gadella Kamstra
Lorena Salud Gadella Kamstra
Thesis title: Analysis of Efl Teachers' (De)Motivation and Awareness in Spain
Degree subject: English Language Teaching
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 25/2/2020
Oun Fahad O Almesaar
Oun Fahad O Almesaar
Thesis title: Emerging Self-Identities and Emotions: An Exploratory Study of Ten Saudi Students’ English Writing Experiences
Degree subject: Applied Linguistics
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 13/5/2019
Ronan Luke Miller
Ronan Luke Miller
Degree subject: Occasional Study: Linguistics (Research)
Degree type: Occasional Postgraduate Study
Awarded date: 14/1/2018


Journal articles (12)

Gkonou, C. and Miller, ER., (2021). An Exploration of Language Teacher Reflection, Emotion Labor and Emotional Capital. TESOL Quarterly. 55 (1), 134-155

Costley, T., Gkonou, C., Myles, F., Roehr-Brackin, K. and Tellier, A., (2020). Multilingual and monolingual children in the primary-level language classroom: individual differences and perceptions of foreign language learning. The Language Learning Journal. 48 (5), 643-655

Gkonou, C. and Miller, ER., (2019). Caring and emotional labour: Language teachers’ engagement with anxious learners in private language school classrooms. Language Teaching Research. 23 (3), 372-387

Gkonou, C., Mercer, S. and Daubney, M., (2018). Teacher perspectives on language learning psychology. Language Learning Journal. 46 (4), 501-513

Miller, ER. and Gkonou, C., (2018). Language teacher agency, emotion labor and emotional rewards in tertiary-level English language programs. System. 79, 49-59

Oxford, RL. and Gkonou, C., (2018). Interwoven: Culture, language, and learning strategies. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching. 8 (2), 403-426

Gkonou, C., (2017). Emerging Self-Identities and Emotion in Foreign Language Learning: A Narrative-Oriented Approach. ELT Journal. 71 (3), 381-383

Gkonou, C., (2014). The Sociolinguistic Parameters of L2 Speaking Anxiety. Second Language Learning and Teaching. 17, 15-32

Gkonou, C., (2013). A diary study on the causes of English language classroom anxiety. International Journal of English Studies. 13 (1), 51-51

Gkonou, C., (2013). Tap into the World of News: Week in Pictures in the EFL Classroom. English Teaching Professional. 89, 56-57

Gkonou, C., (2013). Some Methodological Issues in Using Learner Diaries to Investigate Classroom Anxiety. ELT Research (28), 4-6

Gkonou, C., (2011). Anxiety over EFL speaking and writing: A view from language classrooms. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching. 1 (2), 267-267

Books (3)

Gkonou, C., Dewaele, J-M. and King, J., The emotional rollercoaster of language teaching. Multilingual Matters

Gkonou, C., Daubney, M. and Dewaele, J., (2017). New Insights into Language Anxiety: Theory, Research and Educational Implications. Multilingual Matters. 9781783097708

Gkonou, C., Tatzl, D. and Mercer, S., (2016). New Directions in Language Learning Psychology. Springer. 978-3-319-23490-8

Book chapters (15)

Gkonou, C., Identities and emotions in online language teacher education programs. In: Online education for teachers of English as a Global Language. Editors: Kang, H-S., Shin, D-S. and Cimasko, T.,

Gkonou, C. and Miller, ER., Critical incidents in language teachers’ narratives of emotional experience. In: The emotional rollercoaster of language teaching. Editors: Gkonou, C., Dewaele, J-M. and King, J.,

Gkonou, C. and Karavas, E., Preparation of Teachers of EAL in Greece: Research, Policy, Curriculum, and Practice. In: Preparation of teachers of English as an Additional Language (EAL) around the world: research, policy, curriculum, and practice. Editors: Polat, N., Kayi-Aydar, H. and Mahalingappa, L.,

Gkonou, C. and Mercer, S., Relationships and the good language teacher. In: Lessons from good language teachers. Editors: Griffiths, C.,

Gkonou, C. and Oxford, RL., Working with the complexity of language learners’ emotions and emotion regulation strategies. In: Complexity perspectives on researching language learner and teacher psychology. Editors: Sampson, RJ. and Pinner, R.,

Gkonou, C. and Oxford, RL., Teachers’ formative assessment, reflection, and affective strategy instruction in LLSI teacher education. In: Learning strategies instruction in the language classroom: Issues and implementation. Editors: Chamot, AU. and Harris, V.,

Gkonou, C. and Miller, ER., Emotions in language teacher education and practice. In: Qualitative research topics in language teacher education. Editors: Barkhuizen, G.,

Dewaele, JM., Gkonou, C. and Mercer, S., (2018). Do ESL/EFL teachers’ emotional intelligence, teaching experience, proficiency and gender affect their classroom practice?. In: Emotions in Second Language Teaching: Theory, Research and Teacher Education. Editors: Martínez Agudo, J., . Springer. 125- 141. 9783319754383

Gkonou, C. and Mercer, S., (2018). The relational beliefs and practices of highly socioemotionally competent language teachers. In: Language teacher psychology. Editors: Mercer, S. and Kostoulas, A., . Multilingual Matters. 158- 177. 9781783099443

Gkonou, C., (2017). Towards an Ecological Understanding of Language Anxiety. In: New Insights into Language Anxiety: Theory, Research and Educational Implications. Editors: Gkonou, C., Daubney, M. and Dewaele, J., . Multilingual Matters. 135- 155. 9781783097715

Gkonou, C. and Mercer, S., (2017). Teaching with Heart and Soul. In: Innovative Practices in Language Teacher Education Spanning the Spectrum from Intra- to Inter-personal Professional Development. Editors: Gregersen, T. and MacIntyre, P., . Springer. 103- 124. 3319517880. 9783319517889

Gkonou, C., Dewaele, JM. and Daubney, M., (2017). Conclusion. In: New Insights into Language Anxiety: Theory, Research and Educational Implications. 217- 223. 9781783097708

Gkonou, C., (2014). Agency, anxiety and activity: Understanding the classroom behavior of EFL learners. In: Theorizing and Analyzing Agency in Second Language Learning: Interdisciplinary Approaches. Editors: Deters, P., Gao, X., Miller, ER. and Vitanova, G., . Multilingual Matters. 195- 212. 9781783092901

Gkonou, C. and Rocha, C., (2014). Learner autonomy in academic speaking contexts. In: Autonomy in language learning: Tools, tasks and environments. Editors: Mynard, J. and Ludwig, C., . IATEFL

Gkonou, C., (2010). Pair Work and Group Work as Facilitators: reducing students' anxiety in the EFL Classroom. In: Issues in Languages, Linguistics and Translation. Editors: Karlowicz-Budzik, J. and Lewkowicz, J., . Higher School of Linguistics Press. 147- 154. 978-83-926356-8-0

Reports and Papers (1)

Gkonou, C. and Mercer, S., (2017). Understanding emotional and social intelligence among English language teachers

Grants and funding


A Pilot Study on the Effectiveness of a Technology Based Self-Study Programme for the Development of Academic Writing Skills

University of Essex (GCRF)


A Global Study on EFL teachers' emotional and social intelligence

British Council

+44 (0) 1206 872633


4.119, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

Spring term 2021: Monday 11.30-13.30 (email me for the meeting link)