, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 447-461,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 26 Sep 2012

Teachers’ emotional responses to new pedagogical tools in high challenge settings: illustrations from the Northern Territory

Abstract

This paper explores the role of teachers’ emotions in adopting new pedagogical tools in urban and remote schools in the Northern Territory. The discussion is illustrated through case study material of Northern Territory teachers who had taken up using a web-based early childhood literacy resource called ABRACADABRA. A sociocultural perspective is used to examine the relationships among the teachers, the new resource, and teachers’ emotional responses to using the resource. The ABRACADABRA case study material suggests that the teachers did not embrace using the new tool purely on the basis of their ability and willingness to use it. Rather, the whole school context played an important role in both technical and emotional support for teachers. Teachers’ negative feelings of frustration and reluctance to use the new tool, as well as their positive feelings of confidence and fun, were triggered in part by their own interaction with the tool, but also by other factors within the school environment, such as collegial support. Hence, the emotional filters through which teachers thought about ABRACADABRA themselves became a mediating factor in their use of the tool. This study has implications for how we conceptualise teachers’ adoption of new resources in challenging settings such as Indigenous education, and highlights the relationship between teacher effectiveness and their feelings about their work.