The 'Hunger Games': emotions of student teachers on school placements

The 'Hunger Games': emotions of student teachers on school placements


Elizabeth McClure




Having the opportunity to teach in a school alongside a more experienced teacher is a crucial part of the learning and development of a student teacher. This research focuses on the one-year Professional Graduate Diploma in Education Programme (primary), during which student teachers spend 50% of their time in placement in two schools. School placements can be a rollercoaster for many student teachers, generating a range of emotions, from happy and comfortable to deflated and fearful. Yet, although teaching has been described as an emotional practice (Hargreaves, 1998), little is known about the emotional experiences of student teachers during their school placement. This study set out to identify and address this gap. The research is grounded in a sociocultural perspective which sees the emotions as highly situated. As such the research focus aimed to explore the dynamic interplay between individuals and their contexts in order to understand more about the ways student teachers understood their emotions, regulated their emotions and engaged in emotional labour. Hargreaves’s emotional geographies provided the theoretical framework for the study. Data was built around individual weekly audio recordings, responses to semi-structured interviews and guided focus groups. While data analysis is still on going, some tentative emerging themes will be discussed towards the end of the paper.


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emotions, emotional labour, emotional geographies, student teachers, initial teacher education


Published in Volume 29(1) For students by students,