Teacher Beliefs and Emotion Expression in Light of Support for Student Psychological Needs: A Qualitative Study
1.1. Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness Support
1.2. Teacher Emotions
1.2.1. Teacher Emotional Experience
1.2.2. Teacher Emotion Expression
1.3. Teacher Beliefs
1.4. Interplay between Teacher Beliefs, Need Support, and Emotions
2. Research Questions
- What are teachers’ self-reports of emotion expression?
- What are teachers’ beliefs inferred from their accounts of experiences during teaching?
- Which emotions in the list do you experience when teaching Class X? (The list included calm, confident, affectionate, inspired, friendly, caring, relaxed, happy, nervous, annoyed, worried, tired, displeased, angry, distracted, and indifferent.)
- Do you show (or hide) them? How do you show (or hide) them?
- Could you describe a situation in which you experienced and showed (or hid) an emotion? What happened at that time?
3.4. Data Analysis
4.1. Teacher Emotion Expression
4.1.1. Natural Expression
4.1.2. Direct Staging
Well, my class, they could ask anything … If they have problems with something in school, I’ll try to help them … I want to be there for them and also guide them and be their mother or sometimes the father.
I feel displeased because they don’t have patience. They ask me to come here, and they don’t try to solve the problem by themselves or together in a group, and that makes me displeased … sometimes I have to talk about that. I tell them “Try to solve it by yourself first, look at the theory, ask friends to help you” and so on.
I care that they have their equipment with them, they have their textbooks, they have their notebooks. So, the caring is taking care of all of these things. Of course, students should take care of them on their own, but teachers should also check that students have their textbooks and they have done their exercises or homework, and things like that. I think that’s all caring … and of course because I’m the home class teacher as well, the caring expands to that, so I’ll be caring about whether or not they’re sick.
Let’s say there’re two kids at the back talking together and making you annoyed, you just put them up, so “Tommy, you sit there,” as simple as that. Or whatever—I mean, let’s say there’s a kid that looks tired, and he’s not participating, and I get a little bit annoyed. “Ok, Tommy, can you put something on the board? Can you write that answer and put that word on the board for us?” So he has to get up and walk around a bit and get some fresh air, and maybe you wake up someone.
If they are making a lot of noise, and I’ve told them a couple of times, then I might take my book and drop it on the table, and that’s a signal: had enough. (Q: When you make this signal, are they clear that you are angry?) Yes, it’s both, the noise it makes, and it’s my posture and the way I look at them.
If they have worries, we talk about those. If they have quarrels between female and male students, we try to be there for them and talk with them as adults … I always ask if there’s something I can help them with. It’s important to educate, talk with them about their fears too, not just teach.
I am worried about their future because they should be more mature … We discuss how you speak with people, with friends, how you speak in class. If they swear, I always complain, no swearing, not those words. I said my ears ache; I can’t listen to them.
With one class, they used the racist card for each other, and they started calling each other’s mums. Then I just hit my fist on the table, “This is the last time I hear. I will never want to, and nobody in my class can behave like that.” When I’m really angry, I’m usually beyond words, I can’t say anything, I just look at people, and this is what people have said to me; they say that “It can be very scary.”
You realize after that you have mentioned the whole story at least twice, even sometimes three times. Then someone who has been talking or doing something else after that asks you, “Teacher, I didn’t understand. Could you explain again?” … Well, usually I’ll just take a breath, and then I’ll repeat the things again for the third or the fourth time.
There are some students who sort of look for, in a teacher or teacher trainee, something that they can use to make them sort of lose control or get nervous or something … And then it’s very important not to show that you actually got me there by saying that “you make me angry” or something because then they know that they can use it again … It’s good to hide that, to keep inside.
What happens to me is that I try to turn it and express it in a humorous way. Most of the time when I am … (sighing) … My sense of humor is very strange, and many of the students don’t actually realize that I am making a joke, and I am not being serious. It takes them a couple of months; some of them never learn. I tell them, “Never take me seriously and expect that I am serious.” Then they are puzzled, “How am I going to know?”
I think it’s very important sometimes for teachers to be fake angry. You say and use a strict voice, and people say, “Now she’s angry.” But you’re not angry, but you’re making a show of it.
I just thought maybe sometimes I’m indifferent. I don’t mean thinking about humans, but just because I want them to try by themselves, I mean my actions are indifferent … only my behavior or action … I kind of try to educate them to think by themselves first, so I don’t react immediately. I just do something else or stay with somebody else there.
4.2. Teacher Beliefs
4.2.1. Teacher Beliefs about Their Roles
I want to be there for them and also guide them and be their mother or sometimes the father.
And of course, because I’m the home class teacher as well, the caring expands to that, so I’ll be caring about whether or not they’re sick. Or, during the lesson, if I realize that someone is not feeling very well, of course, I’ll try to care about that, to see how or could he or she go to see a nurse or things like that.
I care that they do have their equipment with them, they have their textbooks, they have their notebooks. So the caring is taking care of all of these things. Of course, students should take care of them on their own, but teachers should also check that students have their textbooks and they have done their exercises or homework, and things like that. I think that’s all caring.
Nowadays, you know, kids–they have so much turbulence in their lives. There’s much uncertainty. They just have a person that shows up when he’s supposed to show up, does his job, he’s caring. If I promise that I’m going to have their homework corrected by Thursday, they would be corrected by Thursday. They know how I evaluate their work, it’s very clear to them … The evaluation is very straightforward. So just this kind of visibility and certainty … Yeah, these are important for young people nowadays.
Many of the students come from families that are very troubled families, so we adults might be the only adults who treat them properly. And if we don’t treat them properly, then they’ll have no adults that they can trust.I have to be like a radar; I have to observe the class all the time. Even if they are working in groups or pairs, I have to … if somebody looks at me, I would look back. They have to be in my control all the time, so they know they have to do what they are asked to do.
If they have worries, we talk about those. If they have quarrels between female and male students, we try to be there for them and talk with them as adults … They don’t talk about it if they have a problem or when they are worried about something. Perhaps they discuss with their girlfriends and go to the toilet and cry there. I always ask if there’s something I can help them with.That’s why I think it’s important to educate, talk with them about their fears too, not just teach. I think these days we are more educators than teachers, and how to choose information, because so many things come from the computers, from TV, from everywhere, newspapers, and they hear a lot of stuff.
4.2.2. Teacher Beliefs about Their Negative Emotion Expression
But usually I think it’s also good when you have a class that is like … that they’re all sort of “what has happened today”, “why are you like that” … very often they had an exam, or they will have a test in the next lesson, or they had been playing football for two hours or something, and they’re still in that mood, and then you understand that now we have to calm down. So just shouting the “shut up and …” doesn’t help ever.
Of course, it’s like a safety belt for me. It shows the students that I don’t like what’s going on. It reduces my anger.
If a teacher has a bad day, it shouldn’t worry them because the next day is a new start … That’s my attitude … You don’t want to get too serious, I mean. They see I’m human. I have good days and bad days. They have good days and bad days. We just accept that. Change what we can move forward.
4.2.3. Teacher Beliefs about Professional Distance
When I had them in the 7th grade, I got them paper to draw something; they drew guns and airplanes that were bombing, and things like that they have experienced before. That’s why I think it’s important to educate, talk with them about their fears too, not just teach.
Because in my life before becoming a teacher … if you’re in customer service, you can’t always say, “Oh, you …”, just have to sort of keep it, so it actually helps a teacher to … you can sort of take a bit of distance.
4.2.4. Teacher Beliefs about Teacher-Student Power Relations
I want to think that we’re equal as human beings. I am their teacher, but I don’t want to be higher than them—just tell them to do this and do that. I want to be so normal, so equal, that they can ask me for help in anything if they want to, if they think that I am worthy of trust … I don’t want to be normative, like just have the authority in everything. I don’t want to be like that. I want to trust them that they can behave and they want to study.
They have to be in my control all the time, so they know they have to do what they are asked to do.
They do something because they want to have the audience and the power, so then it’s very important not to go into that … for the teacher to take part in that and sort of feed him with the attention and the power.
5.1. Teacher Emotion Expression
5.2. Teacher Beliefs
5.3. Insights into Teacher Beliefs and Emotion Expression in Relation to Need Support
5.5. Strengths and Limitations
Conflicts of Interest
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|Teacher||Gender||Teaching Subject||Teaching Class||Years of Teaching Experience||Homeroom Teacher (Yes/No)|
|Natural expression||Sincere and spontaneous responses to an emotion-eliciting situation without trying to regulate (alter or hide) an experienced emotion||“It’s my real genuine feeling. I don’t praise them because I know it has a good effect. I need to be sincere.”|
|Direct staging||Consciously or intentionally expressing an emotion after down-regulating an undesirable emotion or up-regulating a desirable emotion||“I praise them and show it on my face. It is very important that we teachers don’t just simply say ‘yes’, but we say ‘very good’, ‘that is an excellent point’.”|
|Suppression||Inhibition of emotion expression, such as hiding an experienced emotion or masking a negative emotion with a positive one||“It’s very important not to show that you actually got me there by saying that ‘you made me angry’. It’s such good to hide that and keep inside.”|
|Faking||Intentionally expressing an unfelt emotion||“You say and use a strict voice … You’re not angry but you’re making the show of it.”|
|Beliefs about teacher roles||Teachers have multiple roles e.g., friends, protectors, mentors, carers, controllers, and gatekeepers||“I want to be there for them and also guide them and be their mother or sometimes the father.”|
|Beliefs about negative emotion expression||Whether displays of negative emotions serve a purpose or have specific consequences||“If I show any of the negative emotions, it would destroy the atmosphere in the class.”|
|Beliefs about professional distance||Close or detached emotional understanding about students||“I got them paper to draw something; they drew guns and airplanes that were bombing, and things like that they have experienced before.”|
|Beliefs about teacher-student power relations||Emphasis of teacher authority or equality between teachers and students||“They have to be in my control all the time, so they know they have to do what they are asked to do.”|
|Categories of Emotion Expression||Specific Ways of Emotion Expression||Emotions Experienced by Teachers|
|Natural expression||Being there for students||Affectionate (Kirsi)|
|Being in a good mood||Happy (Oliver)|
|Being genuine||Happy (Risto)|
|Direct staging||Helping and guiding students||Affectionate and friendly (Kirsi)|
|Talking about it||Displeased (Kirsi)|
|Telling a joke and laughing||Happy (Oliver)|
|Checking students’ learning materials and showing concern for their physical health||Caring (Oliver)|
|Stopping teaching||Distracted (Oliver)|
|Keeping silent||Annoyed (Oliver)|
|In equilibrium||Calm, relaxed, and friendly (Sam)|
|Adjusting student behaviors||Annoyed (Sam)|
|Giving positive personal feedback, praising students, and showing it on his face||Inspired and happy (Risto)|
|Giving a negative signal (dropping a book on the table)||Angry (Risto)|
|Taking care of student feelings||Caring (Jenni)|
|Discussing the issue with students||Worried (Jenni)|
|Discussing the issue with students outside the classroom||Distracted (Jenni)|
|Giving students instructions||Annoyed (Milla)|
|Addressing her emotional state, hitting her fist on the table and staring, and keeping silent||Angry (Milla)|
|Suppression||Taking a breath||Displeased (Oliver)|
|Masking it with his own humor||Annoyed (Risto)|
|Hiding it||Angry (Milla)|
|Faking||Not reacting immediately||No indifference (Kirsi)|
|Using strict words and tones||No angry (Milla)|
|Themes of Teacher Beliefs||What the Belief Is||Teachers Who Hold This Belief|
|Beliefs about teacher roles||Students’ carer||Kirsi, Oliver, Risto, and Jenni|
|Provider of reassurance||Sam|
|Beliefs about teacher negative emotion expression||Not effective for desirable goals and outcomes||Oliver|
|Destructive for teaching||Sam|
|Destructive for teacher-student relationship and classroom atmosphere||Risto|
|Teachers’ safety belts||Risto|
|Hurtful for students||Milla|
|Helpful to maintain classroom discipline||Milla|
|Beliefs about professional distance||Closeness to students||Jenni|
|Keeping a certain distance from students||Milla|
|Beliefs about power relations||Equality between teachers and students||Kirsi|
|Authority of teachers||Risto|
|Students competing for power with teachers||Milla|
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Jiang, J.; Vauras, M.; Volet, S.; Salo, A.-E. Teacher Beliefs and Emotion Expression in Light of Support for Student Psychological Needs: A Qualitative Study. Educ. Sci. 2019, 9, 68. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9020068
Jiang J, Vauras M, Volet S, Salo A-E. Teacher Beliefs and Emotion Expression in Light of Support for Student Psychological Needs: A Qualitative Study. Education Sciences. 2019; 9(2):68. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9020068Chicago/Turabian Style
Jiang, Jingwen, Marja Vauras, Simone Volet, and Anne-Elina Salo. 2019. "Teacher Beliefs and Emotion Expression in Light of Support for Student Psychological Needs: A Qualitative Study" Education Sciences 9, no. 2: 68. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9020068