Language Learning in Crisis Mode: The Connection Between LX Grit, Trait Emotional Intelligence and Learner Emotions


  • Pia Resnik Department of English, University College of Teacher Education Vienna/Krems, Vienna, Austria & Department of English and American Studies, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  • Sharona Moskowitz Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication, Birkbeck College, University of London, London, United Kingdom
  • Alex Panicacci Department of Linguistics, Queen Mary, University of London, London, United Kingdom & Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, USA


Covid-19, foreign language classroom anxiety, foreign language enjoyment, LX grit, trait emotional intelligence


When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the education sector soon faced the unprecedented challenge of moving courses online within no time. The rapid implementation of emergency remote teaching (ERT) led to students and teachers alike being thrown into an emotional terra incognita. This paper sets out to explore if foreign language (LX) grit, learners’ passion and perseverance for LX learning, is a predictor of learners’ foreign language enjoyment (FLE) and their foreign language anxiety (FLCA) in LX classes taught remotely due to COVID-19. Additionally, the role of trait emotional intelligence (TEI) in mediating the connections between LX grit, FLE, and FLCA is investigated. With a web survey, data were collected from 481 English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners in Europe. Regression analyses indicated that LX grit was a reliable predictor of FLE and TEI. TEI functioned as a partial mediator in the model, explaining a significant proportion of variance (14.3%) in FLE scores. Thus, grittier students, who were also more emotionally intelligent, reported enjoying their English classes more. LX grit was also shown to be a reliable predictor of FLCA. In this case, TEI functioned as a full mediator in the model, explaining 22.5% of the variance in FCLA scores. Therefore, lower TEI scores were linked to higher levels of FLCA. Less gritty EFL learners scored lower on TEI, which consequently determined higher levels of FLCA. Data from two open-ended questions revealed that particularly enjoyable or anxiety-provoking episodes during ERT were similar among all learners. While positive group dynamics, teachers’ forgiving nature and easy-going disposition, humor as well as the innovative use of technology were mentioned as common factors boosting their FLE, speaking in front of strangers, overwhelming workload and technology-related aspects were frequently mentioned sources of anxiety.



How to Cite

Resnik, P., Moskowitz, S., & Panicacci, A. (2021). Language Learning in Crisis Mode: The Connection Between LX Grit, Trait Emotional Intelligence and Learner Emotions. JOURNAL FOR THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LANGUAGE LEARNING, 3(2), 99-117. Retrieved from