Thursday February 28, 2019

Adj. Professor Dr. phil. habil. Marion Grein, head of the German as a foreign language/German as a second language Master programme at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, is a linguist and educationalist.

Keynote I

Marion Grein's talk will provide a graphic illustration of how learning occurs from the neurobiological perspective. How does the brain learn? How does language learning work? It will become clear that motivation can quite obviously be measured, and also that learning is a very individual process and that every one of us has quite specific styles of learning. She will also show that the learning culture initially has an impact on how successfully languages are learnt.

Please note this talk will be given IN GERMAN.


Marion Grein heads the "German as a foreign language/ German as a second language" Master programme at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. After studying comparative linguistics at the University of Mainz, culminating in the award of her doctorate, she gained her first post-doctoral lecturing quallification in general and comparative linguistics at the University of Munster before going on to gain her second post-doctoral lecturing quallification in German as a foreign language at the University of Mainz. Her research focuses on neurodidactics (language teaching research), linguistic typology, intercultural communication and digital learning. At present, she is intensively focusing her attention on age as a factor, different learning biographies and styles of learning (preferences for social forms, processing and types of exercises and tasks) and the impact they have on foreign languge teaching.

Marion Grein's website

Friday March 1, 2019

Dr Christina Gkonou (University of Essex, UK)

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


Research into language learning psychology has grown exponentially in recent years, with motivation predominantly being the most prolific area in the field. Students who do not perform satisfactorily may indeed lack motivation, but they may also be faced with a number of concerns and anxieties, which they are not always keen or given the chance to verbalise. Language learning involves complex processes both within the learners and in their contexts. We as educators and/or researchers should take these complexities into account if we are to better understand our learners and address their academic and emotional needs in our practice. In this talk, I examine the constructs of emotion and anxiety – which is the most frequently studied emotion within second language acquisition – and how they impact on learners’ classroom experiences. I then discuss the role of emotion regulation in 21st-century classrooms and ways of helping our learners become autonomous, both emotionally and academically.


Dr Christina Gkonou is Associate Professor of TESOL and MA TESOL Programme Leader in the Department of Language and Linguistics at the University of Essex, UK. She is also Deputy Director of Education in the same Department. She convenes postgraduate modules on teacher education and development, and on psychological aspects surrounding the foreign language learning and teaching experience. She is the co-editor of New Directions in Language Learning Psychology and New Insights into Language Anxiety: Theory, Research and Educational Implications, and co-author of MYE: Managing Your Emotions Questionnaire.