Learning through emotional experiences during teaching practice : a narrative study of four student teachers
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
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This thesis focuses on student teachers’ emotional learning experiences during their teaching practice abroad. The aim is to give voice to student teachers and explore what they consider the role of emotional experiences to be in their learning. This thesis draws on transformative learning theory and specifically on emotional transformative learning. Using purposeful sampling, four student teachers from the Intercultural Teacher Education Program at the University of Oulu, Finland participated in this study. An integral part of the students’ education involves completing teaching practice in a multicultural context which could either be within Finland or out of Finland. Many students choose to do their practice out of Finland, and all those who participated in this study carried out their teaching practice in countries out of Finland. Data was gathered and analysed within the framework of narrative research. The data was gathered through in-depth interviews with the participants, and were analysed using thematic narrative analysis. Each participant’s narrative was analysed as a whole and themes emerging from their stories in line with the research question were presented. Thematic analysis of narratives was used to analyse similarities in the experiences of participants. The theoretical framework of the study guided the interview and analysis process. Participants described the kinds of emotions they experienced ranging from negative emotions like confusion, anxiety, shame, frustration and anger to positive ones like joy and fulfilment. They expressed the relevance of these emotional experiences in terms of identifying and resolving practices they perceived as unethical, overcoming fear through the power of example, finding joy in teaching, learning to have an open mind, and understanding their privilege as young European adults. Professional and personal learning was described as being intertwined, with an emphasis however, on personal growth. Deliberate discussions within their teacher training program about the role of teachers emotions was a need raised by the participants. Considering that this work is situated within the constructivist paradigm and within the framework of narrative research which aims to give voice to very subjective knowledge, it is therefore not the aim of this study to make generalisable results. Effort is made to persuade the readers that I gathered and analysed the data in a trustworthy manner, and that I remain aware of my own biases resulting from my life experiences. The participants in this research have remained anonymous.
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