The IUP Journal of English Studies
Learner Immunity in an EFL Context: A Qualitative Case Study of Iranian University Students Majoring in English

Article Details
Pub. Date : Jun, 2019
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES91906
Author Name : Laila Samavarchi, Azar Fatemi Hosseini, and Behzad Ghonsooly
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : English Studies
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 21



Even though English is not the primary or even secondary source of communication in Iran, it is considered as a language of high importance due to several reasons. Iranian EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners experience a kaleidoscope of feelings and emotions ranging from extremely positive to highly negative to neutral. Considering that EFL learners encounter such feelings and emotions consciously or subconsciously, this study introduces the term “language learner immunity” to incorporate the notion of EFL learners’ ability to overcome psychological barriers such as demotivation and stress. They do so by shielding themselves with a protective armor, i.e., learner immunity, which in turn might lead to effective language learning. To this end, twelve Iranian university students majoring in English were interviewed in-depth in an attempt to gain a deep insight into their experiences. The data were then qualitatively analyzed by a thorough process of coding and memoing. Based on the analysis, language learner immunity was broken down into five categories depending on the extent to which the learners were immunized.


English has been recognized as an international language and as a lingua franca (Brutt- Griffler 2002), and its prevailing influence on different aspects of a person’s life has made it all the more important to be learned. According to Hosseini and Jafari (2014), the twofold purpose of learning English in a foreign language context like that of Iran is: firstly, it is considered as an extremely important means of achieving higher education, and furthermore, it is considered as a way to gain entry into the foreign world and is strongly associated with traveling out of the country (Piller 2010). Despite its generally accepted usefulness, it has been observed that learners tend to lose their motivation or feel burnt-out through the process of learning it. In cases where English is compulsory, they are obliged to attend classes and complete the required courses, whereas in situations where it is not compulsory to be learned, some learners tend to just drop out.