10 SES 12 D, Emotional Knowledge, Emotional Experience and Dimensions of Burnout
Emotional aspects of teaching impact on classroom relationships, teacher resilience and burnout (Day and Gu, 2011). This paper is derived from a recently-completed doctoral thesis which explores how student teachers deal with emotions – their own emotions and those of the learners in their school placement classes. This research contributes towards understanding ‘emotional knowledge’ as an asset in initial teacher education.
There is a scarcity of research into emotions and teaching, although researchers have been investigating teachers’ emotions in a variety of educational contexts (Uitto at al., 2014; Van Veen, K and Lasky S, 2005). Through decades as a school-based and then university-based teacher, I have experienced this as an ‘elephant in the room’, an aspect of teaching that needed theoretical updating. More research and theorisation on teachers’ emotions is needed to gather international understandings of how emotions influence teaching (Shutz, P and Zembylas, M, 2011), particularly to inform pre-service training programmes which place little emphasis on relationships between teachers’ emotions and teaching practice (Sutton R, Mudrey-Camino, R and Knight C, 2009).
The thesis literature review included the concept of ‘emotional intelligence’. However, the case for exploring it as a key emotional asset for beginning teachers was weakened by the lack of consensus around whether emotional intelligence is a valid or helpful construct (Matthews G, Zeidner M and Roberts R, 2012, Locke 2005), especially in teacher education (Corcoran and Tormey 2013, Hawkey, 2006). Using instead both the emotional competence inventory of Boyzatis and Goleman (Wolff, 2005) and the idea of teachers’ emotional knowledge interacting with emotional ecologies (Zembylas, 2007), an ‘emotional knowledge’ framework was constructed, a four-quadrant model using these clusters and categories:
Self-Awareness: emotional awareness, accurate self-assessment and self-confidence
Self-Management: emotional self-control, transparency, adaptability, achievement, initiative and optimism
Social Awareness: empathy, organizational awareness and service orientation
Relationship Management: developing others, inspirational leadership, change catalyst, influence, conflict management and teamwork/collaboration
This theoretical framework was empirically tested, firstly in a theory-driven manner to identify the use of the categories of emotional knowledge and secondly in a data-driven way to analyse emergent issues. Through a hierarchical question structure (Punch, 2015), these ‘data collection’ questions were asked of the framework:
Q1: How well were the emotional knowledge categories understood by the student teachers?
Q2: Did student teachers make visible use of the emotional knowledge categories?
Q3: To what extent was the emotional knowledge framework challenged by the emergence of additional or alternative features from the data?
Q4: What were the participant evaluations of the inquiry?
One of the findings (see outcome 4 below) resulted in a re-theorising of the emotional knowledge framework. This change recognises emotional knowledge as self-awareness and social awareness but not as the self-management and relationship management tested in the initial framework. This revision drew upon a statistical analysis of students from Bucharest University of Economic Studies, which led to a model of cognitive knowledge and emotional knowledge as transformations of each other (Brătianu and Orzea, 2014). This was a response to the paradox whereby “on one hand, most of us ignore emotional knowledge by identifying knowledge with cognitive knowledge, and on the other hand by using emotional knowledge together with cognitive knowledge in decision making (Brătianu and Orzea, 2014, p43). This led to a shift from the traditional western culture of dualism to an eastern culture of ‘oneness’ (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995), to the replacement of ‘explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge’ with a postulation of transformations between ‘cognitive knowledge and emotional knowledge’ (Brătianu and Orzea, 2009).
The study was practitioner research by a university-based teacher educator, an inquiry conducted primarily to gain understanding albeit with an overall disposition towards student teacher improvement (Baumfield et al., 2012). With an ontological stance that teacher experiences are social constructions (Kelchtermans, 2016), I was drawn as towards a qualitative and interpretative research methodology. This underpinned the study with the questions above determining the data collection and analysis methods. Eleven student teachers participated in the study, a manageable sample number for a qualitative inquiry. These participants were volunteers from a cohort of 120 student teachers who had received a lecture introducing the emotional knowledge framework and had completed an online survey self-reporting their emotional knowledge against the categories. On a September to July primary postgraduate programme in England, UK, data collection began in December, concluding with interviews in November when the research participants had become employed teachers. They provided written reflections during their 5-week and 10-week school placements - an open-ended blog about any emotional knowledge-related issue, confidential between themselves and the researcher plus sharing a weekly written review also read by their mentors. Between the placements, they participated in a focus group and were later took part in individual semi-structured interviews. Their school-based mentors supplemented this data with interviews and their written end-of-placement reports on the participant student teachers. This enabled a balance of ecologically-valid methods that reflect real teaching situations (Black and Wiliam, 1998) and researcher-led methods to ensure focus on the research questions. Responses were coded, labelled and recoded with a constant comparative method (Fram, 2013), aided by use of ATLAS.ti software with triangulation across data sets. A flexible thematic analysis approach (Braun and Clarke, 2013) ensured that both inductive and deductive reasoning contributed to a changing picture of how emotional knowledge could be understood.
The research outcomes showed associations between the participating student teachers and emotional knowledge. 1. By filtering the data for the emotional knowledge categories, all except ‘achievement’ were found (possibly because it was too vague to identify). 2. Those with well-developed emotional knowledge engaged in high levels of reflective practice (corroborated by high written assignment scores) 3. Emotional knowledge was used most obviously in the management of pupil behaviour and building trusting respectful relationships with pupils and adults. 4. The data also showed awareness and management categories of emotional knowledge as inseparable. The framework was refined to represent emotional knowledge as six awareness categories which a transformation of teacher knowledge triggered by any of eleven emotionally-intrinsic experiences (formerly the management categories in the initial framework). This dynamic perception of emotional knowledge emerging from Romania makes the revised framework a potentially powerful tool for student teachers. It shows them how to transform their teacher knowledge into emotional knowledge, equipping them to deal better with emotional aspects of teaching. The main recommendation is that teacher educators prepare student teachers, firstly, to identify emotions and, secondly, to share the revised emotional knowledge framework as an aid to deal with emotions. This has relevance to any work experiences from an international perspective insofar as it involves dealing with emotions. The significance for those responsible for teacher education and development is that this explicit understanding of emotional knowledge can accelerate student teacher progress in building trusting relationships and managing pupil behaviour and, at a personal level, show the resilience to avoid teacher burnout and have a satisfying career in teaching. Although empirical research into this re-theorised model is needed, the author is looking forward to discussing with ECER participants if or how cognitive teacher knowledge can be transformed into emotional knowledge.
Baumfield, V., Hall, E., and Wall, K. (2012) Action Research in Education: Learning Through Practitioner Enquiry. Sage, London, UK. Black, P and Wiliam, D (1998) 'Assessment and Classroom Learning', Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 5(1): 7-74 Brătianu C and Orzea I (2009) Emergence of the Cognitive-Emotional Knowledge Dyad, Review of International Comparative Management 10(5) Brătianu C and Orzea I (2014) Emotional Knowledge: The Hidden Part of the Knowledge Iceberg Management Dynamics in the Knowledge Economy 2(1): 41-56. Braun V and Clarke V (2013) Successful Qualitative Research: a practical guide for beginners, London: Sage. Corcoran R and Tormey R (2013). Does emotional intelligence predict student teachers' performance? Teaching and Teacher Education 35(1): 34-42 Day C and Gu Q (2011). Teacher emotions: wellbeing and effectiveness. In Schutz PA and Zembylas M (Eds.), Advances in teacher emotion research (pp. 15–31). Heidelberg: Springer. Fram, SM (2013) The constant comparative analysis method outside of grounded theory. The Qualitative Report, 18(1) Hawkey, K (2006) Emotional intelligence and mentoring in pre-service teacher education: a literature review, Mentoring & Tutoring, 14 (2) Kelchtermans G (2016) The Emotional Dimension in Teachers’ Work Lives: A Narrative-Biographical Perspective in: in Zembylas M and Schutz P (eds.) Methodological Advances in Research on Emotion and Education Switzerland: Springer 31-42. Locke, E (2005) Why emotional intelligence is an invalid concept Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26(1), 425–431 Matthews G, Zeidner M and Roberts R, (2012), Emotional intelligence: A Promise Unfulfilled? Japanese Psychological Association 54 (2), 105-127 Nonaka, I, Takeuchi, H (1995) The Knowledge Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation. New York: Oxford University Press Punch K (2015) Introduction to Research Methods in Education London: Sage. Shutz P and Zembylas M (2011) ‘Advances in teacher emotion research: the impact on teachers' lives’, 2nd edn. Springer Verlag Sutton, R, Mudrey-Camino, R and Knight C (2009) Teachers’ Emotion Regulation and Class Management, Theory into Practice 48, 130-137 Uitto M, Jokikokko K and Estola E (2015) Virtual special issue on teachers and emotions in Teaching and teacher education (TATE) in 1985-2014 Teaching and Teacher Education 50(1): 124-135 Van Veen, K, and Lasky, S, (2005) Emotions as a lens to explore teacher identity and change: Wolff, S (2005) Emotional Competence Inventory, Hay Group, McClelland Center for Research and Innovation Zembylas, M (2007) Emotional ecology: The intersection of emotional knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge in teaching, Teaching and Teacher Education, 23 (4)
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