1st Edition

Emotions and English Language Teaching
Exploring Teachers’ Emotion Labor

ISBN 9781138832145
Published February 22, 2017 by Routledge
206 Pages

USD $49.95

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Book Description

Taking a critical approach that considers the role of power, and resistance to power, in teachers’ affective lives, Sarah Benesch examines the relationship between English language teaching and emotions in postsecondary classrooms. The exploration takes into account implicit feeling rules that may drive institutional expectations of teacher performance and affect teachers’ responses to and decisions about pedagogical matters. Based on interviews with postsecondary English language teachers, the book analyzes ways in which they negotiate tension—theorized as emotion labor—between feeling rules and teachers’ professional training and/or experience, in particularly challenging areas of teaching: high-stakes literacy testing; responding to student writing; plagiarism; and attendance. Discussion of this rich interview data offers an expanded and nuanced understanding of English language teaching, one positing teachers’ emotion labor as a framework for theorizing emotions critically and as a tool of teacher agency and resistance.

Table of Contents



1 Introduction

2 Theorizing Emotions

3 Theorizing Emotion Labor

4 High-Stakes Literacy Testing and Emotion Labor

5 Responding to Student Writing and Emotion Labor

6 Plagiarism and Emotion Labor

7 Attendance and Emotion Labor

8 Conclusion and Pedagogical Implications


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Sarah Benesch is Professor Emerita of English, College of Staten Island, The City University of New York, USA.


"Providing an empirically based theoretical framework for understanding teachers’ emotions, Benesch makes a major contribution to the growing literature on emotions in the field of applied linguistics. Benesch elaborates the notion of emotion labor and argues that such labor is central to our work as teachers. In making this move, she rejects the notion that teachers’ emotions should be experienced privately or bracketed when it comes to their professional lives and honors the full work that we do."

--Jennifer Mott-Smith, Applied Linguistics