Efforts to move higher education instruction online en masse highlight the necessity of affective labor—work that a person does to suppress their feelings so as to create a desired feeling in others (in this case, a sense of calm)—as well as the toll it can take.
Apr 21, 4:45 AM 30 min
Speakers:Lee Skallerup Bessette and Susannah McGowan
Openness can be fraught for faculty; the classroom has often been a sanctuary of academic freedom and teaching approaches are personal in the strongest sense. In preparing our faculty for the Fall 2020 semester, we, as faculty developers and academic technologists at CNDLS at Georgetown University, were working with faculty who were openly discussing their pedagogy and the limits of their knowledge of digital tools and learning strategies.
The work moved us past knowing “what works” or “what’s possible” (Hutchings, 2000) in using tools into the realm of affective labor (Horthchild, 2012), where we managed a complex interplay of support, emotions, and uncertainty in order to evoke the proper emotions from faculty. To make our expertise on pedagogy and digital tools “stick” (Ahmed, 2010) we worked within our own emotions while fielding the emotions of faculty. But this work, while taxing, has borne fruit: more faculty are embracing open pedagogical practices such as Domains, ungrading (Blum & Kohn, 2020), and flipping the classroom (Talbert, 2017). The presentation will work to uncover the affective labor we have been practicing, ways to acknowledge it, and what joys it can bring.
- Ahmed, S. (2010). The Cultural Politics of Emotion. Routledge.
- Blum, S. D., & Kohn, A. (2020). Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (And What to Do Instead). West Virginia University Press.
- Hochschild, A.R. (2012). The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling (3rd ed.). University of California Press.
- Hutchings, P. 2000. Approaching the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. In Opening Lines: Approaches to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, edited by P. Hutchings, 1–10.
- Talbert, R. (2017). Flipped learning: A guide for higher education faculty. Stylus Publishing, LLC.