The Effect of Flow State on EFL Learners’ Vocabulary Learning

Davoud Amini, Shirin Ayari, Mansour Amini


Flow is an optimal psychological state that has been described at length by Csikszentmihalyi (1990, 1993) as a state in which people become totally immersed in an activity and enjoy it intensely. According to Csikszentmihalyi, such a peak experience can emerge in any situation in which there is an activity to do. Researchers have indeed found evidence for flow during the execution of a large number of different activities including sports, work, and playing music. However, state of flow during language learning activities has hardly been studied. The present study was designed to investigate the relationship between task-induced state of flow during vocabulary acquisition activities and the achievement in terms of short-term and long-term vocabulary acquisition. Sixty five learners at an English Language Institution took part in vocabulary acquisition tasks aimed at engaging learners cognitively and affectively in the state of flow. To measure flow state the “Flow Perceptions Questionnaire” in the Likert format (Egbert, 2003) was used. It was an instrument for gathering the data concerning students’ affective responses during task engagement. The researcher-made retention measurement was used to determine vocabulary learning efficiency. The result indicated that flow existed in the vocabulary learning classroom and that there was a significant relationship between the level of flow state and vocabulary retention both in immediate and delayed measurements. Also male and female learners of EFL were different in terms of vocabulary retention resulting from flow state.

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