Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Relationship between Efl Learners' Personality Types and Their Cognitive Burnout on L2 Reading Comprehension

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Relationship between Efl Learners' Personality Types and Their Cognitive Burnout on L2 Reading Comprehension

Article excerpt


The study of second language learners' personality types and theirrelationship with their cognitive burnout has been an absorbing research topic for SLA researchers. According to Maslach and Leiter (2008), burnout is a response to the prolonged exposure to occupational stress which negatively affects the individuals, the organizations, and the healthcare service recipients. Maslach and Leiter (2008) defined burnout as a syndrome of emotional exhaustion and cynicism that occurs among individuals who performed "people work" of some kind (e.g., health care, education, and social work. It is a pervading phenomenon affecting a variety of professional roles such as medical personnel (Kiekkas et al., 2010, Putnik & Houkes, 2011; Soler et al., 2008), teachers (Hakanen, Bakker, & Schaufeli, 2006), software developers (Singh, Suar, & Leiter, 2012), athletes (Jowett, Hill, Hall, & Curran, 2013), lawyers (Tsai, Huang, & Chang, 2009), and many other professions.

Beside the general burnout which is related to the type of profession and the kind of activities done longitudinally, another type of burnout can be recognized, i.e., cognitive or mental burnout(Kiuru, Aunola, Leskinen, & Aro, 2008). Mental or cognitive burnout means that cognitive fatigue, boredom, and lower performance due to special activities in any profession at a specific moment or shorter periods of time(Schaufeli, Martinez, Pinto, Salanova, & Bakker, 2002). Contrary to the profession-related burnout, mental or cognitive burnout is temporary. Although these kind of mental or cognitive burnout originates from the general psychological and professional burnout, its degree and mechanism of action is may follow particular patterns.

Moreover, most EFL and ESL instructors have usually reported the occurrence of such temporary or cognitive/mental burnout for their L2 learners (Gautheur, Descas & Lemyre, 2012). Some studies have reported that second and foreign language learners suffer from cognitive burnout during the acquisition of an L2 (Belgar & Hunt, 2014; Kiuru, et al., 2008; Pisarik, 2009). This kind of cognitive or mental burnout can happen longitudinally or at specific points when L2 learners are learning and dealing with the target language.

As Kiuru, et al. (2008) asserted, students' academic burnout exists because students' core activities can be regarded as a kind of work or profession. One occasion in which such mental or cognitive burnout emerges obviously serious is after taking difficult summative or standard tests(Schaufeli, et al., 2002). No outstanding study has ever been done on the second or foreign language learners' burnout. Accordingly, this study was launched to examine burnout among L2 learners after the prolonged test sessions, specifically after a reading comprehension test which demand concentration and lead to mental or cognitive burnout. This study also attempted to scrutinize if there was any significant relationship between Iranian Intermediate EFL learners' cognitive (mental) burnout and their performance on L2 reading comprehension. In addition, because the mental (cognitive) burnout is considered to be related to personality factors (e.g. Singh, Suar, & Leiter, 2012), the present research focused upon examining the relationship between Iranian EFL learners' personality types and their cognitive (mental) burnout on L2 reading comprehension. The finding of the present investigation can help learners to know their own degree of burnout and try to manage its negative effects based on their personality factors helping them to improve their L2 reading comprehension performances.

Cognitive burnout is a special type of stress- a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about competence. It is now well accepted that the burnout phenomenon is a chronic state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion that arises in personnel from the cumulative demands of their work (Goddard, O'Brien, & Goddard, 2006). …

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