Emotional Geographies of Teaching
by Andy Hargreaves - 2001
This paper introduces and develops a new idea in education and in social science-that of emotional geographies. The concept of emotional geographies is used to explain the nature of teachers' recollections of emotionally laden interactions with those around them. In the case of this particular paper, teachers' interactions with parents are the focal point of concern. Methodologically, the paper draws on a study of the emotions of teaching funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. In the study, 53 teachers were interviewed in depth about a range of issues concerning the emotional aspects of teaching. Teachers were asked about what brought them into and kept them in teaching. They described the emotional impact of educational change and also of professional development experiences; and they discussed how their emotions and emotionality were affected by various aspects of their identity such as age, gender, and ethnocultural identification. Teachers were also invited to describe extended critical incidents of both positive and negative emotional encounters with four different parts of their role set-students, colleagues, administrators, and parents. The sample of teachers was drawn from 15 schools, with up to four teachers per school included. Schools and their principals were asked to identify a teacher sample including teachers of different genders, varying ages, different inclinations towards change, and, where possible, including at least one teacher from an ethnocultural minority. The sample included both elementary and secondary teachers. All interviews were tape recorded, transcribed, and analyzed in detail.
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