17 SES 01, Paper Session
Two last decades witness a steady increase of interest to teachers’ emotional experiences in the context of educational reforms (See for overview Schutz, P. A., & Zembylas, M., 2011). So far post-Soviet educational transformations has not yet been studied comprehensively through the lens of teachers emotional responses to educational change (Hargreaves, 2005; van Veen, K., & Lasky, S., 2005). Change of policies and broader social context tend to affect profoundly ways individuals interact and reflect on the events of their lives. Emotional perceptions by far extend to the memories attached to the (auto)biographical narratives. Thus when changes were especially turbulent and harsh one would expect to find some clear feelings framing the stories told of reform flow. This paper focuses on apparently unprecedented grassroots transformation of teaching profession that took place in the course of dismantling of the USSR in late 1980s and 1990s. Our aim is to unveil how this change and its subsequent outcomes is perceived in retrospect by teachers who made their careers throughout 1980s and 1990s in Estonia, Lithuania and Russia. Staring with Barbara Rosenwein’s theory of affective communities (Rosenwein, 2010) made up around particular affects, their experience and expression we would like to trace Post-Soviet educational reforms in their cast on individual emotional memories and professional identity (O’Connor, 2003).
Generally in all 3 cases (Estonia, Lithuania and Russia) the core data are in the form of biographic life-story interviews. More than 50 interviews with educators and state officials were collected across three countries. Based on narrative approach (Clandinin & Conelly, 1996; 1998) we focus on repetitive representational tropes concerning educational change in teachers’ memories of 1980s and 1990s. The interviews were analysed with software NVivo. First, the transcribed interview texts were codified according to the research question: What kind of emotional reactions are related to the particular education policy and broader social changes? Secondly, the codes were joined into categories and later, categories into concepts (of changes). Generalizations made should not of course be treated as one-size-fits-all statements on the essence of innovations as such. Their validity is bound to a certain temporal and spatial context and were assessed against the background of data retrieved from archival search as well as close examination of the up to date periodicals and visual sources including photographs from personal archives and Soviet documentaries.
Very few positive emotions were manifested in the transcribed interview texts such as joy and excitement regarding the new freedoms, satisfaction with new, more interesting teaching materials and methods or enjoyment of creating independently new elective courses. Generally positive emotional value in terachers’ memories are related to the early 1990s, when teachers felt freedom and considerable rise of autonomy and exercised considerable empowerment . The neoliberal turn, related to NPM approach in schools, emergence of elite schools etc. later on awakened mostly negative emotions. We can distinguish between policy changes and social changes. The most frequently mentioned education policy changes concerned curricula and textbooks, the requirement of school curriculum development, greater teacher autonomy along with the increased power of head teachers. From the mid-1990s more bureaucracy and the standardized state exams appeared. Most of these changes, except for de-ideologization and teacher autonomy, were perceived by teachers as negatives associated with emotions such as worry, fear, discontent, lack of understanding, stress, upset or indifference. Furthermore, broader social changes formed categories like computerization and the appearance of the Internet, the emergence of elite schools, new expectations for teachers, the publication of school league tables based on state exams and the changes in teachers’ status and parents’ attitudes towards teachers. The social changes provoked controversial reactions. The attitudes towards the Internet as the new information source varied from skeptical to positive. Elite schools caused feelings of envy and hate while bringing along accusations of “skimming the cream” among regular schools. The strongest emotional reactions were related to the publication in the media of state exam results which promoted feelings of anxiety, stress, and injustice but were also followed with interest. Moreover, the teachers’ loss of status and authority that had occurred in late 1990s was widely perceived as humiliating, forcing teachers to constantly “fight for their authority”.
Ball, S. J. (2003). The Teacher’s Soul and the Terrors of Performativity. Journal of Education Policy. 18 (2): 215–228. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1996). Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes: Teacher stories—stories of teachers—school stories—stories of schools. Educational Researcher, 25(3), 24–30. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1998). Stories to live by: Narrative understandings of school reform. Curriculum Inquiry, 28(2), 149–164. Hargreaves, A. (2005). Educational change takes ages: Life, career and generational factors in teachers’ emotional responses to educational change. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21(2005), 967–983. O’Connor, K. E. (2008). “‘You Choose to Care’: Teachers, Emotions and Professional Identity.” Teaching and Teacher Education 24: 117–126. Rosenwein B.H. (2010). Problems and methos in the history of emotions. Passions in context, 1 (1): 1-33. Schutz, P. A., & Zembylas, M. (Eds.). (2011). Advances in teacher emotion research. New York: Springer. van Veen, K., & Lasky, S. (2005). Emotions as a lens to explore teacher identity and change: Different theoretical approaches. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21(2005), 895–898. Michalinos Zembylas (2010) Teacher Emotions in the Context of Educational Reforms. In A. Hargreaves, A. Liebermann, M. Fulllan, D. Hopkins (Eds.). Second International Handbook of Educational Change.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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