Dr Christina Gkonou

Senior Lecturer
Department of Language and Linguistics
Dr Christina Gkonou
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872633

  • Location

    4.119, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    By appointment



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. While studying for my PhD, I taught linguistics, psycholinguistics, foundations of TEFL, methodology of TEFL and computer induction for linguists at the undergraduate level. I additionally worked as an EFL, EAP and IELTS tutor in the International Academy at the University of Essex. I have also taught qualitative data analysis in the Department of Government at the University of Essex (Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis). Under the Erasmus+ scheme, I taught undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), University of Bremen (Germany), Pontificia Universidad Catolica in Lima (Peru) and Freie Universitat Berlin (Germany). 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.


  • BA Hons (Aristotle University)

  • MA (Essex)

  • RSA Cambridge CELTA

  • PhD Essex

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)


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, stress, burnout and emotional labour

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

Current research

EFL teachers' emotional and social intelligence (funded by the British Council - English Language Teaching Research Award / with Professor Sarah Mercer, University of Graz)

Emotional self-regulation in language classrooms

Caring, emotional labour and teacher professional identity

Critical incidents in language teaching

EAL children and foreign languages

Conferences and presentations

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

  • Foundations of Teaching English as a Foreign Language I (LG117)

  • Language Teaching in Different Contexts (LG329)

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

  • Description of Language for TEFL/ELT and Applied Linguistics (LG512)

  • Teaching Practice I (LG521)

  • Language Learning and Teaching (LG522)

  • Research Methods I (LG575)

  • Reflective Practitioner (LG656)

  • Project: Linguistics (LG831)

  • MA Dissertation (LG981)

  • MA Dissertation for 24 Month Programmes (LG984)

  • Research Methods II (LG675)

Previous supervision

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


Journal articles (11)

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

Costley, T., Gkonou, C., Myles, F., Roehr-Brackin, K. and Tellier, A., (2018). Multilingual and monolingual children in the primary-level language classroom: individual differences and perceptions of foreign language learning. The Language Learning Journal, 1-13

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

Gkonou, C., (2013). A diary study on the causes of English language classroom anxiety. International Journal of English Studies. 13 (1), 51-68

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 (2)

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 (8)

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 Global Study on EFL teachers' emotional and social intelligence

British Council

+44 (0) 1206 872633


4.119, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

By appointment