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‘I don’t think I could, you know, just teach without any emotion’: exploring the nature and origin of university teachers’ emotions

Hagenauer, G. and Volet, S.ORCID: 0000-0001-8450-6663 (2013) ‘I don’t think I could, you know, just teach without any emotion’: exploring the nature and origin of university teachers’ emotions. Research Papers in Education, 29 (2). pp. 240-262.

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This article addresses the issue of university teachers’ emotions generated through teaching and interacting with students. While research on school teachers’ emotions is on the increase, interest in the significance of university teachers’ emotions is still limited. In light of the growing attention given to the quality of university teaching around the world, and evidence of the impact of emotions on school teachers’ well-being and teaching practice, a better understanding of the origin and nature of emotions experienced by university teachers is needed. This article presents the findings of a small longitudinal study with 15 university teachers from two public Australian universities. Two in-depth interviews with each teacher generated rich accounts, examples and reflections on their emotional experiences during teaching. The qualitative analysis revealed the range of positive and negative emotions triggered in specific teaching–learning situations. Three major themes related to the emergence of emotions were identified: first, the importance of the intrinsic value and social nature of the professional practice of teaching; second, the criticality of the degree to which expectations of students’ engagement were fulfilled or not; and third, the realisation that the professional practice of teaching was only partly controllable. The findings are discussed with reference to previous research, limitations are addressed, and directions for future research are proposed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Publisher: Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group
Copyright: 2012 Taylor & Francis
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