14 SES 07 A, Migrating/International/Minority Families, Community and Schooling
Since 1993 the OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation has initiated the “What Works in Innovation” project to offer policy-oriented studies in areas of emerging importance (CERI, 1997). One of those studies focused on parent involvement, Parents as Partners in Schooling, which shows that governments give families and communities more power to involve in the education offered by local schools in nine OECD countries.
Decentralization is also one of the major characteristics of the recent educational reform in Taiwan. Although teachers gain more power on decisions of their teaching, their job stress increases at the same time. One of the sources of teachers’ stress comes from the increasing requirement for their interactions with parents (Chiang, 2009). Right now parents have the rights to select the form and content of education and to participate in educational affairs of local schools for the best wellbeing of their children. To interact with parents not only brings pressure upon teachers but also affects their emotions (Chen, 2010).
In fact, for teachers, emotions are at the heart of teaching, comprising its most dynamic qualities (Hargreaves, 1998). After reviewing research on teachers’ emotions, Sutton and Wheatley (2003) found that positive and negative emotions are an integral part of teachers’ lives and teachers’ emotions may influence their own cognition and motivation and their students’ emotions, behavior, and motivation. Educational researchers have paid more and more attention to the roles of emotions in teaching (Lasky, 2005; van Veen, Sleegers, & van de Van, 2005).
In order to improve the quality of teacher-parent interactions, it is important to understand what teachers feel about their interactions with parents and how teacher-parent interactions shape teachers’ emotions.
Purpose of Research
The purpose of this study was to describe teachers’ emotional experience in teacher-parent interactions in grades 1-12 in Taiwan. It is valuable because teacher-parent interactions are one of the essential parts of teaching and teachers’ emotions may affect the interactions and have further impact on other parts of teachers’ work.
Denzin (1984) thought that emotions are self-feelings embedded in social actions and interactions with others. An individual’s emotions are determined by the emotional intersubjectivity which enables individuals engage in each other’s fields of emotional experience. Emotional understanding refers to the intersubjective process of which a person could enter another person’s experiential field and experience his/her same or similar experience. Because emotional understanding may be complete or partial, correct or wrong, suspicious or pretend, and reciprocal or one-way, emotional misunderstanding could also result from emotional intersubjectivity.
Emotional understanding and emotional misunderstanding result from not only personal emotional competence level, but also surrounding conditions which may facilitate or hinder shared experience. Emotional geographies are the spatial and experiential patterns of closeness and/or distance in human interaction and relationships that help create, configure, and colour the feelings and emotions we experience about ourselves, our world and each other (Hargreaves & Lasky, 2004). Teachers not only actively construct emotional geographies in teaching, but also affected by them (Hargreaves, 2001).
Centre for Educational Research and Innovation. (1997). Parents as partners in schooling. Paris, France: OECD. Chen, Y. -M. (2010). The teachers’ emotional geographies of parent-teacher interaction. Journal of National Pingtung University of Education (Education), 35, 231-262. Chiang, W. -T. (2009). Behind smiling and suppressing: Psychological processes in emotional labor of elementary school teachers. Bulletin of Educational Psychology, 40, 553-576. Denzin, N. K. (1984). On understanding emotion. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-bass. Denzin, N. K. (1989). Interpretive biography. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Hargreaves, A. (1998). The emotional practice of teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 14, 835-854. doi: 10.1016/S0742-051X(98)00025-0 Hargreaves, A. (2001). Emotional geographies of teaching. Teachers College Record, 103, 1056-1080. Hargreaves, A, & Lasky, S. (2004). The parent gap: The emotional geographies of teacher-parent relationships. In F. Hernández & I. F. Goodson (eds.), Social geographies of educational change (pp. 103-122). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer. Lasky, S. (2005). A sociocultural approach to understanding teacher identity, agency and professional vulnerability in a context of secondary school reform. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21, 899-916. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2005.06.003 Sutton, R. E., & Wheatley, K. F. (2003). Teachers’ emotions and teaching: A review of the literature and directions for future research. Educational Psychological Review, 15, 327-358. doi: 10.1023/A:1026131715856 van Veen, K., Sleegers, P., & van de Van, P. –H. (2005). One teacher’s identity, motions, and commitment to change: A case study into the cognitive–affective processes of a secondary school teacher in the context of reforms. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21, 917-934. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2005.06.004
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