Emotion versus Cognition in Teacher Workplace Learning: A Case Study

Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Applied Research in Education

Year: 2023



Emotion versus Cognition in Teacher Workplace Learning: A Case Study

Ewa Toloczko, PhD




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the interaction between affective and cognitive responses to the work realities as demonstrated by an academic teacher in his professional setting. A case study was designed to explore this psycho-cognitive phenomenon in context and to collect data, the source of which was a record of observations and judgments formulated over a prolonged period of time. The material was analyzed, both statistically and descriptively, to address the research questions regarding the range of emotions triggered by the participant’s daily duties, the character of self-evaluative comments vis-à-vis the teacher’s expertise, and the impact of controlled reflective interventions on his pattern of behavior. The results support the assumption that work in higher education poses an emotional challenge, which can be effectively handled with methodical cognitive processing. The teacher’s affective responses to work improved as for the transparency and duration of his negative states. Although limited in its sample, this study contributes to the existing literature on expert teachers and their emotion management strategies. Its novelty lies in the approach which facilitated the application of cognitive tactics, such as problem-solving, inductive logic, or evidence review, to formulate informed statements about the external/internal reality and to utilize the new knowledge for adaptation purposes. It is proposed that the structured practice of inquiry into one’s affective behavior be an ever-going procedure and learning resource among faculty, constituting an integral part of quality assurance mechanisms in all HE institutions.  

keywords: expertise, higher education, professional judgments, reflection, self-regulation