Dr Jim King

Personal details | Publications | Research | Teaching | Supervision | Media

Director of Research & Enterprise (joint), Lecturer in Applied Linguistics

Dr Jim King

Telephone: +44 (0)116 229 7538

Email: jk249 [at] le [dot] ac [dot] uk

Address: School of Education, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH

Personal details


I am an applied linguist who specialises in psychological aspects of foreign language education. I receive regular invitations to talk about my research at both national and international events, presenting on topics such as foreign language anxiety, language teacher psychology and classroom silence. My most recent books are The Emotional Rollercoaster of Language Teaching and East Asian Perspectives on Silence in English Language Education (both published by Multlingual Matters as part of their Psychology of Language Learning and Teaching series).

I joined the University of Leicester’s School of Education in 2013 after having previously held positions at a number of different universities both in the UK and abroad. My PhD in Applied Linguistics is from the University of Nottingham, where I studied under the supervision of Professor Zoltán Dörnyei. Prior to my doctoral studies, I worked for a number of years in Japan as a lecturer and teacher trainer at Kansai University of Foreign Languages (Kansai Gaidai) and Ehime University. In all, I have over 20 years of experience teaching and teacher training within university settings. Even though I am now based in the UK, my professional links with Japan continue, particularly in the research I do. I am an International Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and a past recipient of the Visiting Research Scholar Award from Kansai University's Faculty of Foreign Language Studies.

I have been the External Assessor of the University of York's BA TESOL programme within the Department of Education, and served as External Examiner for the MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL programme at York St John University. I have extensive experience of assessing research at an international level through working as a grant proposal reviewer for the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and doing invited editorial review work for journals such as Applied Psycholinguistics, Modern Language Journal, Classroom Discourse, International Review of Applied Linguistics (IRAL), Language Teaching Research (LTR), System, and so on. I have also done invited work for the publishers Routledge, Palgrave Macmillan, Mouton De Gruyter and Springer as a book proposal reviewer.


BA (Hons), RSA Cambridge CELTA, MEd (Distinction), PhD (Nottingham), FHEA


PDFs of most of my publications can be freely accessed at: https://www.drjimking.co.uk/

Selected recent and forthcoming publications

Books and edited collections

Journal articles and book chapters
  • King, J. & Morris, S. (2022). Social interaction. In T. Gregersen & S. Mercer (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Psychology of Language Learning (pp. 311-322). London: Routledge.
  • Maher, K. & King, J. (2022). Enhancing emotional engagement in speaking tasks: A cognitive-behavioural theory approach. In A. H. Al-Hoorie & F. Szabó (Eds.), Researching language learning motivation: A concise guide (pp. 135-152). London: Bloomsbury.
  • Shin, S., Mercer, S., Babic, S., Sulis, G., Mairitsch, A., King, J. & Jin, J. (2021). Riding the happiness curve: The wellbeing of mid-career phase language teachers. The Language Learning Journal (Open Access online version), 1-13.
  • Mairitsch, A., Babic, S., Mercer, S. Jin, J. Sulis, G. & King, J. (2021). Being a student, becoming a teacher: The wellbeing of pre-service language teachers in Austria and the UK. Teaching and Teacher Education, 106, 1-11.
  • Smith, L. & King, J. (2020). Researching the complexity of silence in second-language classrooms. In R. J. Sampson & R. S. Pinner (Eds.), Complexity perspectives on researching language learner and teacher psychology (pp. 86-102). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  • Aubrey, S., King, J. & Almukhaild, H. (2020). Language learner engagement during speaking tasks: A longitudinal study. RELC Journal (OnlineFirst version).
  • Maher, K. & King, J. (2020). Observing anxiety in the foreign language classroom: Student silence and nonverbal cues. Journal for the Psychology of Language Learning, 2, 116-142.
  • Morris, S. & King, J. (2020). Emotion regulation amongst university EFL teachers in Japan: The dynamic interplay between context and emotional behaviour. In C. Gkonou, J-M. Dewaele & J. King (Eds.), The emotional rollercoaster of language teaching (pp. 193-210). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  • King, J., Yashima, T., Humphries, S., Aubrey, S. & Ikeda, M. (2020). Silence and anxiety in the English-medium classroom of Japanese universities: A longitudinal intervention study. In J. King & S. Harumi (Eds.), East Asian perspectives on silence in English language education (pp. 60-79). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  • Smith, L. & King, J. (2018). Silence in the foreign language classroom: The emotional challenges for L2 teachers. In J. D. Martinez Agudo (Ed.), Emotions in second language teaching (pp. 323-340). Dordrecht: Springer.
  • King, J. & Ng, K-Y. S. (2018). Teacher emotions and the emotional labour of second language teaching. In S. Mercer & A. Kostoulas (Eds.), Language teacher psychology (pp. 141-157). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  • Morris, S. & King, J. (2018). Teacher frustration and emotion regulation in university language teaching. Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics, 41(4), 433-452.
  • Kuklewicz, A. & King, J. (2018). “It’s never too late”: A narrative inquiry of older Polish adults’ English language learning experiences. TESL-EJ, 22(3). Open access paper available at http://tesl-ej.org/pdf/ej87/a5.pdf
  • King, J. & Aono, A. (2017). Talk, silence and anxiety during one-to-one tutorials: A cross-cultural comparative study of Japan and UK undergraduates' tolerance of silence. Asia Pacific Education Review, 18(4), 489-499.
  • Smith, L. & King, J. (2017). A dynamic systems approach to wait time in the second language classroom. System, 68, 1-14.
  • King, J. & Smith, L. (2017). Social anxiety and silence in Japan's tertiary foreign language classrooms. In C. Gkonou, M. Daubney, & J.-M. Dewaele (Eds.) New insights into language anxiety: Theory, research and educational implications (pp. 92-110). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  • King, J. (2016). “It’s time, put on the smile, it’s time!”: The emotional labour of second language teaching within a Japanese university. In C. Gkonou, D. Tatzl, & S. Mercer (Eds.), New Directions in Language Learning Psychology (pp. 97-112). Dordrecht: Springer.
  • King, J. (2014). Fear of the true self: Social anxiety and the silent behaviour of Japanese learners of English. In: K. Csizér & M. Magid (Eds.), The impact of self-concept on language learning (pp. 232-249). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
  • King, J. (2013). Silence in the second language classrooms of Japanese universities. Applied Linguistics, 34(3), 325-343.
  • King, J. & Marsden, E. M. (2013). The Instruments for Research into Second Languages (IRIS) digital repository. The Language Teacher, 37(2), 35-38.


I am particularly interested in situated psychological aspects of foreign language teaching and second language acquisition. My most recent and current research projects have focused primarily on the phenomenon of silence and nonverbal communication in language learning, looking at these issues from an affective (emotions) perspective. I am intrigued by the differing forms and functions of silence within educational contexts, how silence impacts upon learning and also by how silent episodes and the concomitant nonverbal behaviour which accompanies them may be misinterpreted during intercultural encounters.

I take a keen interest in the psychology of language teachers themselves and have conducted research which seeks to better understand teachers’ in-class emotional displays and the emotion regulation strategies that they employ when teaching. I am currently an international partner on the three-year, FWF-funded (€395,698) research project The Psychological Capital of Foreign Language Teachers (Principal Investigator – Professor Sarah Mercer) which seeks to better understand the psychological well-being of foreign language teachers working in secondary schools in Austria and the UK.


My classroom-based research informs not only the content of my teaching, but also the pedagogy I employ. I draw on concepts from psychology, education and linguistics to explain what goes on in the complex setting of the language classroom. I convene the following modules on the university's MA courses focusing on Applied Linguistics and English/second language teaching:

  • Psychological Issues in Language Learning (PILL): ED7716 (Campus)
  • Second Language Learning: ED7711 (Campus) and EN7522 (Distance)
  • Intercultural Communication: EN7520 (Distance)
  • Dissertation: ED7701 (Campus) and EN7501 (Distance)
  • Research Methods for the Dissertation and Professional Enquiry Dissertation

I also teach on:


Potential areas for PhD research relate to situated psychological aspects of instructed language learning, including the following sub-topics:

  • Silence in second language (L2) or general education contexts
  • Language anxiety in L2 and higher education
  • Language learner engagement
  • Teacher emotions and well-being
  • Emotional labour in language teaching
  • Language teacher emotion regulation
  • Group dynamics in language classrooms


I'm currently first supervisor to the following doctoral students:

  • Paul Kavanagh (language awareness of non-L2 lecturers)
  • Sarah Kwan-Yee Ng (emotion regulation strategies of language learners)
  • Sam Morris (emotion regulation strategies of language teachers)
  • Kate Maher (silence and anxiety in foreign language learning)
  • Diana Margarita Díaz Mejía (emotional labour of language teachers)
  • Haydab Almkiled (foreign language anxiety)
  • Shaza Alahmadi (silence in foreign language learning)

My most recent doctoral student completion is Jeremy Boston (Thesis - Engagement with Language during Transcript Revision: Japanese University English Learners' Processes, Products and Perspectives).


In 2020 I was interviewed for the Lost in Citations podcast about my Applied Linguistics paper 'Silence in the second language classrooms of Japanese universities.' The interview can be accessed here: https://lostinthecitations.podbean.com/e/citation-27-king-j-2013-silence-in-the-second-language-classrooms-of-japanese-universities-applied-linguistics-343-325-343-1594713012/

In 2017, a feature article about my research on learner reticence appeared in Japan’s largest English-language newspaper, The Japan Times. The details of the article are as follows:

In 2007, a feature article about a small research project I had conducted into the phenomenon of students sleeping in class appeared in Malaysia's only broadsheet English-language newspaper, The New Straits Times:
  • Ling, K. S. (2007, July 8). In Japan, a nod to sleeping. The New Straits Times, Learning Curve, p. 16.

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