Stories and emotions: getting remotely closer to each other.

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This presentation describes and discusses the use of online storytelling, especially personal stories, and anecdotes as a facilitating tool to English language learning. The project was implemented during the first term of 2021 at São Paulo Catholic University in two groups of first year undergraduates: one taking a teaching degree in English and Portuguese languages and the other taking a BA in Translation into/from English and Portuguese. The emphasis given in the project to the role of Affect in the classroom situation (Duarte, 2015) can be justified for these reasons: 1- learning a foreign language tends to arouse students’ fear of judgement and criticism by teachers and classmates; 2-first-year undergraduates sometimes experience a feeling of estrangement as they face the new learning environment; 3- at present, we experience the challenge of living through unprecedented times: socially isolated, threatened by the coronavirus pandemic, online teaching and learning, and feeling emotionally and mentally drained. In language learning studies, storytelling has proved to build confidence in developing language skills, as well as increase motivation and interaction (Heathfield, 2014). From a cognitive viewpoint, stories are responsible for fostering motivation, focus and attention. From an affective perspective, Empathy (Duarte,2003), as a Facilitating Attitude (Rogers, 1985), can be exercised spontaneously through storytelling. Feedback from both groups of students, has also shown that storytelling helped build their self- confidence and self-esteem.