Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Blaze Koneski Faculty of Philology, North Macedonia; https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8734-2246
Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Blaze Koneski Faculty of Philology, North Macedonia;; https://orcid.org/0009-0002-4391-8156
Bibliographic citation: (ISSN 2657-9774) Educational Role of Language Journal. Volume 2023-1(9). THE AFFECTIVE SIDE OF LANGUAGE LEARNING AND USE , pp. 65-79.
The primary goal of this paper is to present, examine and exemplify the versatility and inclusiveness of the term ‘mental health’, i.e. the role of mental health as an integral component and affective factor in learning English as a foreign language. The most common mental health disorders and their early signs and symptoms are listed and described. Furthermore, the importance of teacher awareness of student mental health in the EFL classroom is elaborated as well as what and how much teachers should know about mental health and bullying so as to recognize and address them if need arises. It can even be said that the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures exacerbated this issue, and a suggestion to move forward could be building student resilience. Not only do teachers but also parents and guardians play a crucial role in their children’s education, so how they can help protect their children’s mental health has been additionally discussed. This paper will enrich the existing pool of theory on student mental health with the results and discussion from research conducted via interviews among 50 EFL teachers from various high schools in Skopje (North Macedonia), concerning their views on teacher awareness in respect to student mental health in the EFL classroom. The interview responses show an optimistic trend of increase of teacher interest in student mental health and empathy for students, albeit lack of institutional support. It is hoped that this paper will open avenues of thought for EFL teachers to probe even more into mental health in the EFL classroom. It is also important to acknowledge that while the overarching objective is to foster and promote mental health awareness among all educators across the board, this paper distinctly accentuates the significance within the domain of teaching EFL. This emphasis stems from the authors’ perspective: one being an aspiring EFL teacher, and the other currently holding the position of an Assistant Professor (tertiary education). The aspiration is to highlight EFL teachers as influential figures capable of catalyzing transformative change for the future.
Keywords: mental health, bullying, resilience, students, awareness, EFL classroom