Teachers’ emotions in the context of education reform: Labor process theory and social constructionism

Kwok Kuen TSANG, Tsun Lok KWONG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In recent years, many teachers suffered different kinds of negative emotions in the context of education reforms. A typical explanation was that the education reforms disempowered teachers in teaching, so teachers were forced to do much non-instructional work. Teachers considered their work meaningless but were powerless to change it, and eventually indulged themselves in negative emotions. However, the present research suggested that this explanation had neglected teacher agency and might be incomplete. Arguing from the perspective of social constructionism, the research showed that teachers in Hong Kong experienced negative emotions in education reforms because, on top of the disempowerment, the reforms structurally displaced teachers’ educational goals with administrative goals. The goal displacement impeded teachers’ evaluation of the instructional values of their work. Thus, teachers perceived their work as inconsistent with their major purpose of teaching (i.e. making a difference) and they felt negative towards work. Copyright © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-855
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Volume38
Issue number6
Early online dateMay 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Citation

Tsang, K. K., & Kwong, T. L. (2017). Teachers’ emotions in the context of education reform: Labor process theory and social constructionism. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 38(6), 841-855. doi: 10.1080/01425692.2016.1182007

Keywords

  • Teacher emotions
  • Labor process theory
  • Social constructionism
  • Goal displacement
  • Purpose of teaching

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