Teachers’ Emotions in a Context of Reforms: To a Deeper Understanding of Teachers and Reforms

  • Klaas Van VeenEmail author
  • Peter Sleegers


We begin our chapter by reviewing studies of teachers’ emotions in relation to reforms. We examine different theoretical perspectives and methods and elaborate on the strengths and weaknesses of this relatively new field of research, adopting a social-psychological approach to emotions. We argue that this field is still in need of a coherent conceptual framework for adequately understanding teachers’ emotions. Our central assumption is that reforms strongly affect teachers’ emotions due to divergent reasons, varying from feeling insecure and threatened, to feeling reinforced and enthusiastic. What those studies into teachers’ emotions show in general is that most reforms affect teachers’ professional sense of self or identity; teachers feel their core beliefs and assumptions are at stake. At a deeper level, teachers often feel that they are not recognized as professionals, rather as employees or executors of the ideas of others. We also attempt to provide an overview of the potential issues at stake for teachers in the contexts of reforms, referring to the content, process of implementation, and teachers’ agency


Teacher emotions Educational reform Social psychology 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ICLONLeiden UniversityLeidenthe Netherlands

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