Emotion in teaching : developing an understanding of the emotional side of teaching through the importance of context and role amongst teachers and classroom assistants in Scottish schools

  • Derek Thomson

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Emotion in organisation research has become an important aspect of work and employment research and has expanded from commercial interactive service work to include professionals and the public sector. However, teaching has received little focus from emotion in organisation research from this work and employment perspective, instead favouring a narrower education studies perspective. Resultantly, the significant modernisation of education in the UK has received a limited focus, while the unique Scottish context has also been largely overlooked. This paper brings a greater understanding of emotion in teaching for both teachers and classroom assistants working in Scotland, as well as bringing a more pronounced work and employment perspective to emotion in teaching. The research was exploratory and utilised a qualitative case study approach, with the school-based education system in Scotland chosen as the case study. The thesis reports on data from 69 semi-structured interviews, principally with teachers and classroom assistants in public sector primary, public sector secondary and private sector all-through schools, but also with other important stakeholders in Scottish education.The findings show that teachers and classroom assistants share a passion for their role and consider their relationship with pupils to be important, while support from colleagues is considered essential. Equally, there is concern around burnout and the level of training received for additional support needs, while teachers were critical of the Curriculum for Excellence and classroom assistants indicated that their role is vaguely defined and that they can be stretched into teaching. The research has also shown that all three emotion in organisation theories from a work and employment perspective can be used within a single piece of research and that such an approach is appropriate for studying emotion in teaching. Therefore, the research has made both an empirical and theoretical contribution to knowledge.
Date of Award20 Sept 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorDennis Nickson (Supervisor) & Ian Cunningham (Supervisor)

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