Keywords: foreign language classroom anxiety, foreign language enjoyment, signature dynamics, retrodictive qualitative modeling, archetype
With the shift from negative psychology to positive psychology in the field of applied linguistics, and in alignment with the dynamic turn in this filed, recent studies have tried to micro-map foreign language classroom anxiety (FLCA) and foreign language enjoyment (FLE) from a dynamic perspective. However, the signature dynamics of learners’ FLCA, as a negative emotion, and FLE, as a positive emotion, are yet to be explored. Inspired by Dörnyei (2014), we used the innovative approach of retrodictive qualitative modeling (RQM) to explore the signature dynamics of the two variables. Having identified the learner archetypes of FLE and FLCA via focus-group interviews with a group of teachers regarding their learners’ enjoyment and anxiety experiences, we conducted in-depth interviews with one prototypical student from each archetype in order to discover the trends and trajectories leading to a specific outcome or attractor state by tracking and investigating the dynamic occurrences backwards. The results provided us with new insights into the dynamic trends leading to different archetypes of FLE and FLCA as well as the adoptability of the RQM to studies on the dynamics of enjoyment and anxiety.