Advertisement

‘I have Felt the Tears Welling Up’: Private Troubles and Public Discussions in the Sociological Classroom

  • Pam Lowe
Chapter

Abstract

The sociological imagination requires students to consider the connections between private troubles and public issues. This inevitably means that many of the areas we ask students to consider are sensitive. Issues such as discrimination and inequality are a constant in the curriculum, and degree studies often cover topics such as rape, abortion and death. Yet there is very little discussion of how these sensitive issues impacts on the emotional learning journeys of students or how staff manage teaching and learning of these issues. Focusing on the accounts of staff within a small qualitative research project with students and staff primarily in the West Midlands in the UK, this chapter will illustrate how whilst teaching and learning can be discomforting or distressing, this does not mean we should aim to eliminate negative emotions. It will highlight staff’s own emotional labour in their concern and management of students’ emotional journeys. Staff foregrounded the need for critical engagement with the literature as a way to manage potentially difficult subjects. The chapter will argue that it is through a constant balance between the emotions and academic activities that staff both recognise and contain the emotional aspects of teaching and learning sensitive issues.

References

  1. Amsler, S. (2011). From ‘therapeutic’ to political education: the centrality of affective sensibility in critical pedagogy. Critical Studies in Education, 52, 47–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beard, C., Clegg, S., & Smith, K. (2007). Acknowledging the affective in higher education. British Educational Research Journal, 33(2), 235–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 77–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. British Sociological Association (2002). Statement of ethical practice for the British Sociological Association. http://www.britsoc.co.uk/about/equality/statement-of-ethical-practice.aspx. Accessed 09 Apr 2014.Google Scholar
  5. Constanti, P., & Gibbs, P. (2004). Higher Education teachers and emotional labour. International Journal of Education Management, 18, 243–249.Google Scholar
  6. Curzon-Hobson, A. (2009). Higher Education and the Critical stance. Studies in Higher Education, 28, 201–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Duckworth, V., Lord, J., Dunne, L., Atkins, L., & Watmore, S. (2016). Creating feminized critical spaces and co-caring communities of practice outside patriarchal managerial landscapes. Gender and Education, 28(7), 903–917.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ecclestone, K., & Hayes, D. (2009). The dangerous rise of therapeutic education. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Ecclestone, K., Hayes, D., & Furedi, F. (2005). Knowing me, knowing you: the rise of therapeutic professionalism in the education of adults. Studies in the Education of Adults, 37, 182–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Furedi, F. (2003). Therapy culture: cultivating vulnerability in an uncertain age. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Gill, S. S., & Worley, C. (2010). ‘How did it go?’ Negotiating race, racialisation and identity when teaching issues of race and equality in HE. Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences, 2. https://doi.org/10.11120/elss.2010.02030004.Google Scholar
  12. Hagenauer, G., & Volet, S. (2014). ‘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, 240–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hayes-Smith, R., Richards, T. N., & Branch, K. A. (2010). ‘But I’m not a counsellor’: the nature of role strain experienced by female professors when a student discloses sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences, 2. https://doi.org/10.11120/elss.2010.02030006.Google Scholar
  14. Hochschild, A. (1983). The managed heart. Berkley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  15. Housee, S. (2010). ‘To veil or not to veil’: students speak out against Islam(ophobia) in class. Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences, 2. https://doi.org/10.11120/elss.2010.02030005.Google Scholar
  16. Hughes, B., Huston, T., & Stein, J. (2011). Using case studies to help faculty navigate difficult classroom moments. College Teaching, 59, 7–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Koster, S. (2011). The self-managed heart: teaching gender and doing emotional labour in a higher education institution. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 19, 61–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Leathwood, C., & Hey, V. (2009). Gender/ed discourses and emotional sub-texts: theorising emotion in UK higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 14, 429–440.Google Scholar
  19. Lowe, P. (2015). Lessening sensitivity: student experiences of teaching and learning sensitive issues. Teaching in Higher Education, 20, 119–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lowe, P., & Jones, H. (2010). Teaching and learning sensitive topics. Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences, 2. https://doi.org.10.11120/elss.2010.02030001.Google Scholar
  21. Miller, D., Mills, T., & Harkins, S. (2011). Teaching about terrorism in the United Kingdom: how it is done and what problems it causes. Critical Studies on Terrorism, 4, 405–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mills, C. W. (1967). The sociological imagination. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Morley, L. (1998). All you need is love: feminist pedagogy for empowerment and emotional labour in the academy. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 2(1), 15–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mortiboys, A. (2005). Teaching with emotional intelligence. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. New York Times (2014). Warning: The Literary Canon could make students squirm. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/18/us/warning-the-literary-canon-could-make-students-squirm.html. Accessed 04 Dec 2015.Google Scholar
  26. Ogbonna, E., & Harris, L. C. (2004). Work intensification and emotional labour among UK university lecturers: an exploratory study. Organization Studies, 25, 1185–1203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Postareff, L., & Lindblom-Ylänne, S. (2011). Emotions and confidence within teaching in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 36, 799–813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Roberts, P. (2013). Happiness, despair and education. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 32, 463–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Robson, J., & Bailey, B. (2009). ‘Bowing from the heart’: an investigation into discourses of professionalism and the work of caring for students in further education. British Educational Research Journal, 35, 99–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tarc, A. M. (2013). ‘I just have to tell you’: pedagogical encounters into the emotional terrain of learning. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 21, 383–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Thompson, C. (2004). What are the bounds of critical rationality in education? Journal of Philosophy of Education, 38, 485–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aston UniversityBirminghamUK

Personalised recommendations