The 'burden' of emotions in language teaching: negotiating a troubled past in 'other'-language learning classrooms
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This paper focuses on language classes where Greek-Cypriot students learn Turkish as their second Modern Foreign Language (MFL). Literature on MFL learning and emotions tends to focus on learners' emotions in relation to the production of the new language; however, MFL learning is also a space that provides the opportunity to language learners to construct different emotional experiences and negotiate different identities and different emotional stances towards their own or the target community and culture. What happens, though, when the language to be learnt is associated with a history of conflict and the dominant educational discourses construct emotional stances that perpetuate animosity towards the target community? And in this context, to what extent can language learning provide an opportunity to renegotiate a troubled past? Approaching emotions as socio-political discursive constructs, this paper examines classroom interaction during 32 h of Turkish language learning. It analyses (1) the students' emotional resistance towards a positive representation of the 'Others'; (2) the teacher's discomfort in adopting a positive stance towards the Turkish-speaking people; (3) the impact these two had on the lesson and classroom interaction.