Complexity Perspectives on Researching Language Learner and Teacher Psychology Edited by: Richard J. Sampson, Richard S. Pinner

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31 Oct 2020
Psychology of Language Learning and Teaching
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156

Key features

  • Provides an entry point for those curious about researching in the area of complexity in the field of psychology of language learning and teaching
  • Includes contributions from leading researchers in the field, including Christina Gkonou, Tammy Gregersen, Alastair Henry, Peter D. MacIntyre, Sarah Mercer, Rebecca Oxford, Heath Rose, Ema Ushioda
  • Brings together a range of researchers from around the world, including Asia, Europe and North America
  • Chapters present practical illustrations of how complexity research can be done, which will be useful to anyone wishing to undertake research from this perspective
  • The book is aimed at practitioner-researchers and researchers wishing to start applying a complexity perspective to their work in language learning and teaching settings.


This edited volume brings together both established and emerging researcher voices from around the world to illustrate how complexity perspectives might contribute to new ways of researching and understanding the psychology of language learners and teachers in situated educational contexts. Chapter authors discuss their own perspectives on researching within a complexity paradigm, exemplified by concrete and original examples from their research histories. Moreover, chapters explore research approaches to a variety of learner and teacher psychological foci of interest in SLA. Examples include: anxiety, classroom group dynamics and group-level motivation, cognition and metacognition, emotions and emotion regulation strategies, learner reticence and silence, motivation, self-concept and willingness to communicate.


Complex Dynamic Systems Theory (CDST) connects practice and research in ways that are abundantly illustrated in this excellent volume. The authors’ first person accounts make CDST accessible and show its relevance. The volume is sure to inspire practitioner-researchers to use the ecological approach afforded by CDST to investigate and make sense of the lived realities of their own classrooms.

- Diane Larsen-Freeman, Professor Emerita, University of Michigan, USA

It is relatively easy to write complex things about complexity theory – the real challenge is to follow the motto of the editors of this book, namely that complexity should be simple. This book goes a long way towards achieving this aim by gathering a well-chosen group of contributors whose deep interest in the real-life language classroom has created a common platform of ‘down-to-earth complexity’. The result is a thought-provoking and enlightening book.

- Zoltán Dörnyei, University of Nottingham, UK

This volume opens up the world of applying a CDST perspective to research. With contributions that apply intriguing new designs and methods of data elicitation and analysis, readers will find that far from being terminological smoke and mirrors, CDST research can be made practical and useful. The result is a volume thoughtfully crafted in a way that enhances its accessibility and builds coherence in this still new but growing domain.

- Phil Hiver, Florida State University, USA

Author Biography:

Richard J. Sampson is an Associate Professor at Rikkyo University, Japan. He uses action research approaches to give voice to the complex, situated experience of language learner psychology and is the author of Complexity in Classroom Foreign Language Learning Motivation (2016, Multilingual Matters).

Richard S. Pinner is an Associate Professor at Sophia University, Japan. His research focuses on the dynamic relationship between authenticity and motivation in language teaching and learning and his publications include Reconceptualising Authenticity for English as a Global Language (2016, Multilingual Matters).

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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