Extraverts and Introverts in the FL Classroom Setting

  • Katarzyna Ożańska-Ponikwia
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


Out of many challenges in foreign language learning, L2 use and sustained communication in a given language could be considered as the most vital. MacIntyre et al. (1998) noted that sometimes, despite excellent communicative competence, spontaneous and continuous L2 use is not ensured. Some students who are proficient in linguistic competence avoid, while others, with minimal linguistic knowledge, seek possibilities to communicate in the foreign language. It was also acknowledged that individuals’ personality profile could determine their willingness to communicate and frequency of such communication in the foreign language (MacIntyre et al., 1998). The present study investigates the possible link between personality traits of extraversion/introversion and preferences towards acquisition of certain skills, attitudes towards using a foreign language as well as school grades. The study involves data collected from 115 high school English language learners from Poland. Statistical analyses revealed that some aspects of the L2 use as well as the overall grade were related to personality trait of extraversion/introversion. However, extraversion was linked to the EFL grades only when speaking skills were focused on during the EFL classes. This suggested that links between extraversion scores and linguistic variables depend largely on the type of linguistic material used and analysed as well as the specific EFL classroom dynamics. The results of this study show the complexity of the relationship between personality traits and foreign language learning. Research outcomes also indicate that studies of different aspects of individual differences and personality traits should be incorporated into further research on second language acquisition.


Personality Extraversion Introversion L2 use Speaking in the L2 


  1. Bielska, J. (2006). Between psychology and foreign language learning. Katowice: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego.Google Scholar
  2. Berenbaum, H., & Williams, M. (1994). Extraversion, hemispatial bias, and eyeblink rates. Personality and Individual Differences, 17, 849–852.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brown, H. D. (1987). Principles of language learning & language teaching. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  4. Cook, V. J. (1991). Second language learning and language teaching. London: Edward Arnold.Google Scholar
  5. Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1988). Personality in adulthood: A six-year longitudinal study of self-reports and spouse ratings on the NEO personality inventory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 853–863.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO personality inventory (NEO PI-R) and NEO five-factor inventory (NEO-FFI). Professional manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
  7. Dewaele, J. M. (2009). Individual differences in second language acquisition. In W. C. Ritchie & T. K. Bhatia (Eds.), The new handbook of second language acquisition (pp. 623–646). Bingley (UK): Emerald.Google Scholar
  8. Dewaele, J. M. (2013). Personality in second language acquisition. In C. A. Chapelle (Ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. doi: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0904
  9. Dewaele, J. M., & Furnham, A. (1999). Extraversion: the unloved variable in applied linguistic research. Language Learning, 49, 509–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dewaele, J. M., & Furnham, A. (2000). Personality and speech production: A pilot study of second language learners. Personality and Individual Differences, 28, 355–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dewaele, J. M., & Pavlenko, A. (2002). Emotion vocabulary in interlanguage. Language Learning, 52, 265–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Digman, J. M. (1989). Five robust trait dimensions: Development, stability, and utility. Journal of Personality, 57, 195–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Digman, J. M. (1990). Personality structure: Emergence of the five-factor model. Annual Review of Psychology, 41, 417–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ellis, R. (1994). The study of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Eysenck, M. W. (1981). Learning, memory and personality. In H. J. Eysenck (Ed.), A model for personality (pp. 169–209). Berlin: Springer Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Eysenck, H. J., & Eysenck, M. W. (1985). Personality and individual differences: A natural science approach. New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gass, S. (1988). Integrating research areas: A framework for second language studies. Applied Linguistics, 9, 198–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Goldberg, L. R. (1981). Language and individual differences: The search for universals in personality lexicons. In L. Wheeler (Ed.), Review of personality and social psychology (pp. 141–165). Bevery Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. Goldberg, L. R. (1990). An alternative “description of personality”: Big Five factor structure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 1216–1229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Goldberg, L. R. (1992). The development of markers for the Big-Five factor structure. Psychological Assessment, 4, 26–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hassan, B. A. (2001). Extraversion/introversion and gender in relation to the English pronunciation accuracy of Arabic speaking college students. In B. A. Hassan (Ed.), Extraversion/introversion: Social characteristics and learning preferences (pp. 345–379). ERIC ED 454 740.Google Scholar
  22. Hurd, S. (2002). Taking account of individual learner differences in the planning and delivery of language courses for open, distance and independent learning. Paper presented at the Web conference proceedings.
  23. John, O. P., Angleitner, A., & Ostendorf, F. (1988). The lexical approach to personality: A historical review of trait taxonomic research. European Journal of Personality, 2, 171–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Johnson, K. (2001). An introduction to foreign language learning and teaching. Harlow: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  25. Krashen, S. (1985). The input hypothesis. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  26. MacIntyre, P. D., & Charos, C. (1996). Personality, attitudes, and affect as predictors of second language communication. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 15, 3–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. MacIntyre, P. D., Clément, R., Dӧrnyei, Z., & Noels, K. A. (1998). Conceptualizing willingness to communicate in a L2: A situational model of L2 confidence and affiliation. Modern Language Journal, 82, 545–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Matthews, G. (1992). Extraversion. In P. A. Smith & D. M. Jones (Eds.), Handbook of human performance: State and trait (Vol. 3, pp. 95–126). London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  29. Matthews, G., & Dorn, L. (1995). Cognitive and attentional processes in personality and intelligence. In D. H. Saklofske & M. Zeidner (Eds.), International handbook of personality and intelligence (pp. 367–396). New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Moody, R. (1988). Personality preferences and foreign language learning. The Modern Language Journal, 72, 389–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ockey, G. (2011). Self-consciousness and assertiveness as explanatory variables of L2 oral ability: A latent variable approach. Language Learning, 61, 968–989.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ożańska-Ponikwia, K. (2012). What has personality and emotional intelligence to do with ‘Feeling different’ while using a foreign language? International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 15, 217–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ożańska-Ponikwia, K. (2013). Emotions from a bilingual point of view. Personality and emotional intelligence in relation to perception and expression of emotions in the L1 and L2. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.Google Scholar
  34. Ożańska-Ponikwia, K. (2015). Are women more emotionally skilled when it comes to expression of emotions in the foreign language? Gender, emotional intelligence and personality traits in relation to emotional expression in the L2. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 1(13). doi: 10.1080/13670050.2015.1091439
  35. Ożańska-Ponikwia, K. (2016). Personality, emotional intelligence and L2 use in an immigrant and non-immigrant context. In D. Gabryś-Barker & D. Gałajda (Eds.), Positive psychology perspectives on foreign language learning and teaching, second language learning and teaching (pp. 175–192). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  36. Ożańska-Ponikwia, K., & Dewaele, J. M. (2012). Personality and L2 use: The advantage of being openminded and self-confident in an immigrant context. EUROSLA Yearbook, 12, 112–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Plotnik, R., & Mollenauer, S. (1986). Introduction to psychology. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  38. Stenberg, G., Wendt, P. E., & Risberg, J. (1993). Regional cerebral blood flow and extraversion. Personality and Individual Differences, 15, 547–554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Swain, M. (1985). Communicative competence: Some roles of comprehensive input and comprehensive output in its development. Rowley, MA: Newburry House.Google Scholar
  40. Swain, M. (1993). The output hypothesis: Just speaking and writing aren’t enough. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 50, 158–164.Google Scholar
  41. van Daele, S. (2005). The effect of extraversion on L2 oral proficiency. CIRCLE of Linguistics Applied to Communication/CÍRCULO de Lingüística Aplicada a la Comunicación (clac), 24, 91–114.Google Scholar
  42. van Deale, S., Housen, A., Pierrard, M., & Debruyn, L. (2006). The effect of extraversion on oral L2 proficiency. EUROSLA Yearbook, 6, 213–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wakamoto, N. (2000). Language learning strategy and personality variables: Focusing on extraversion/introversion. IRAL: International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 38, 71–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wakamoto, N. (2009). Extroversion/introversion in foreign language learning: Interactions with learner strategy use. Bern, Germany: Peter Lang.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Bielsko-BialaBielsko-BiałaPoland

Personalised recommendations