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A Qualitative Study of Hong Kong Teachers' Emotional Experiences at Work

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A Qualitative Study of Hong Kong Teachers' Emotional Experiences at Work



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A Qualitative Study of Hong Kong Teachers' Emotional Experiences at Work by Kwok Kuen Tsang
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This dissertation, "A Qualitative Study of Hong Kong Teachers' Emotional Experiences at Work" by Kwok-kuen, Tsang, 曾國權, was obtained from The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) and is being sold pursuant to Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License. The content of this dissertation has not been altered in any way. We have altered the formatting in order to facilitate the ease of printing and reading of the dissertation. All rights not granted by the above license are retained by the author. Abstract: In recent years, many teachers in Hong Kong are reported as dissatisfied, stressful, and burnt out. The literature has suggested the negative emotions affect both teachers' well-being and teaching quality. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the phenomenon of teachers' emotional experiences at work in Hong Kong. Since a large number of teachers in Hong Kong are found to be unhappy, their emotional experiences can be regarded as a social issue more so than a psychological one. Thus, this research studies teachers' emotional experiences from sociological perspective. In order to have an in-depth understanding about Hong Kong teachers' emotional experiences, this study interviewed 21 Hong Kong secondary school teachers who were selected by maximum variation sampling and snowball sampling, investigated the documents of the informants' schools, and analyzed the education policy documents and the Hong Kong educational news which were published between 1980 and 2011. The findings show that all the informants were committed to making a difference in students' lives as their major teaching purpose. When there was a mismatch between how they perceived their work and what in actual the teaching purpose was, they would feel negatively; otherwise, they would feel positively. The study also finds that positive student-matters were the source of teachers' positive emotions because the positive student-matters signified the informants that they successfully made a difference in students' lives. On the other hand, workload, especially the administrative or what the informants called "non-instructional work," tended to signify to the informants that they spent a lot of time on work that was unhelpful in making a difference. Therefore, the teachers were dissatisfied with heavy workload not only because the workload gave them no leisure, but because they perceived their work as purposeless and unworthy. However, when this study took a closer look at the "non-instructional work," it found that most of the "non-instructional work" suggested by the informants were "instructional" or had "instructional" values in nature. The phenomenon was a result of the power relation between school administrators and teachers which was embedded in and structured by career stage, school administration, and education reforms. Under this relation, the power of school administrators overpowered the teachers in school when it came to the decision-making process. In other words, the teachers often were unable to access the "instructional" values behind their work, school policies and measures decided by the administrators. Under this situation, they might find it difficult to make a difference in students' lives by doing their work, resulting in a negative self-concept. Therefore, they were inclined to experience negative emotions at work. Nevertheless, it is noted that different groups of teachers enjoyed different levels of power in the power relation. For example, the late-career teachers tended to have more power because they were the members of school administrators, but the early- and mid-career teachers were more powerless because most of them were front-line classroom teachers excluded from many school decision-making processes. In addition, some school administrative practices might favour the overpowering relation, but some school administrative practices might not. Accordingly, Hon...
Release date NZ
January 27th, 2017
Created by
Country of Publication
United States
colour illustrations
Open Dissertation Press
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