Research corner

`The importance of teachers' emotions and instructional behaviour for their students' emotions - an experience sampling analysis' by Becker, E S, Goetz, T, Morger, V et alTeaching and Teacher Education

October 2014 (Elsevier)

Have you ever had the sense that your students have intuitively picked up that you're in a bad mood and have become disruptive as a result? If so, it may not be the fevered imaginings of your paranoid mind, according to new research.

Academics carried out a study of teenagers at a number of Swiss schools, asking students to identify how they were feeling, how they imagined the teacher was feeling and how well the teacher was teaching at periodic points during English, French, German and maths lessons.

The results show that although the quality of teaching is a factor in how students feel about lessons, teachers' emotions play an equally important role.

So even if your teaching is excellent, if you are in a bad mood your students will pick up on it and their attitude will be affected accordingly.

So what is the lesson you should take from this? According to the paper: "[A teacher's] emotions play a major role [in how students feel] and should not be disregarded in the daily and often busy teaching profession. Teachers should therefore care about their emotions, not only for their students' sake, but also because it is important for themselves."

If you feel hassled this week, take a moment to breathe. It won't just improve your outlook - it might make a difference to your students', too.

Sarah Cunnane

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