Issue: 2023-2024


Researches on the pedagogical aspects of English language learners have received extensive attention in the international English language teaching field, but the emotional issues of English language learners have not been given enough attention. In recent years, theories of positive psychology have been introduced and developed in the field of second language acquisition. The present paper attempts to explore English learners’ well-being and its influence on English acquisition based on the PERMA model of positive psychology, hoping to expand the theoretical perspective of the study of English second language acquisition and provide a reference for improving English second language learners’ learning experience and enhancing learning effectiveness.

Based on combing the positive psychology theory of well-being, the present study defines English language learners’ well-being as the positive emotional perceptions and experiences that English language learners acquire in the process of learning English and that contribute to language acquisition, mainly including positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning, and accomplishment. In this study, a well-being scale for English learners is designed by adapting items from an existing foreign well-being scale (Prosperity Scale – PERMA – Profiler) and verified the reliability and validity of the scale. The study is conducted with English majors from freshmen to seniors at three different levels of universities in Henan Province, China, to examine the overall well-being of English learners, group differences, and the impact on English acquisition. The acquisition of English by ESL (English as Second Language) students is examined in terms of the acquisition process and the acquisition effect: for the acquisition process, the main focus was on learning strategies, using Oxford’s English Learning Strategies Scale to examine ESL students’ use of English learning strategies; in terms of the effectiveness of acquisition, the final exam results of ESL students is as indicators of the effectiveness of English acquisition.

This study examines the overall situation of English majors’ well-being through descriptive statistical analysis and finds that their well-being levels belong to a high level. ANOVA is used to examine the differences in English learners ‘well-being, learning strategies and exam scores in several aspects, such as gender, age, and time spent learning English, and the results shows that the above items reflect some differences in these aspects. Regression analysis is used to examine the effect of well-being on English acquisition, and it is found that well-being was significantly related to the use of learning strategies, and well-being is related to the acquisition effect.

Based on the factors affecting well-being that have been found in this paper, as well as some principles of positive psychology, the paper proposes instructional interventions and affective interventions to enhance the well-being of English learners. The findings and recommendations of this study can help improve the well-being of ESL learners and the quality of English language teaching in Chinese universities, and it can be used as a reference for administrations, universities, teachers, researchers, and textbook writers to better organize English teaching and learning.

Keywords: ESL (English as Second Language) learner; well-being, PERMA MODEL; positive psychology