Exploring the affective dimension of teachers' work in alternative school settings
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The affective dimension of teachers’ work is a vital element in shaping inclusive, child-centred classrooms. It is particularly important for students who lack certain aspects of care and support within their personal lives. Recently, neoliberal educational paradigms of data gathering, external testing and competition have increased pressure upon students and teachers in mainstream schools. Many teachers feel that they have been taken away from their core business of teaching and caring for young people. Students with the highest needs often leave or become excluded from mainstream settings; some find their way to alternative/flexi/second chance schools. Our research indicates that within such sites, teachers and workers appear to be committed to the implementation of an educational environment and ethos explicitly framed by concepts of affective justice and an ethics of care. Despite its challenges and because of its rewards, they strongly assert the significance of their emotional labour when working with, usually disadvantaged, young people and helping them to overcome marginalisation. We contend that this redefinition of schooling as inherently ‘relational’ implies forms of teacher activism that transcend the obligation to student ‘well-being’ as commonly understood in mainstream settings, and which is failing to meet the needs of many young people.
Comparative and Cross-Cultural Education