Wednesday 12 April 2023
08.30 - 10.30
„At the time, I started with pretty much desire to do my own job well“ . Motivation and Emotions of West-German and Swiss School Teachers in the 1970s and 1980s
Lukas Boser :
“He loved Teaching and he loved his Students.” The Teaching Profession in the Context of Social Desirability
There are many reasons to become a teacher, and there are many reasons to carry on this profession for years (cf. Bieri 2006). The love for children, the trust in the power of education, the belonging to some sort of a ‘corps’ that has a special task, or a calling ... (Show more)
There are many reasons to become a teacher, and there are many reasons to carry on this profession for years (cf. Bieri 2006). The love for children, the trust in the power of education, the belonging to some sort of a ‘corps’ that has a special task, or a calling of some sorts, job security, family tradition, and many other reasons come to mind. Although every individual has his or her own reasons for becoming and being a teacher, those reasons are not purely individual as they are bound to historical and cultural notions of love, trust, belonging, calling, security, tradition, and the like. People in the teaching profession are therefore also confronted with strong social desirability and taboos regarding their job (cf. Hoffmann-Ocon 2020). Although love for their students might be a strong motive for teachers, not every kind of love for children is socially (and legally) acceptable for a teacher at any given time. Social desirability and taboos are often vague, empirically difficult to grasp, and subject to change. Yet, since people are social beings, it might be reasonable to assume that social desirability and taboos have an influence on individual career choices. Therefore, if one wants to know more about people’s motivation to pursue a career in teaching, one should not only focus on their individual reasoning alone.
This is where this paper sets in. The underlying hypothesis of this paper is that people’s statements about the reasons to become or to be a teacher do not only describe their individual motivation and feelings but, because those statements are uttered publicly, they also mirror what is socially desired (or acceptable) regarding the teaching profession in a certain context and at a certain time. Based on two types of sources (biographical sketches enclosed in applications for teacher training, and obituaries of passed-away teachers), this paper aims at reconstructing the social desirability attached to the teaching profession in the decade from 1970 to 1980 in Switzerland. The leading research questions of this paper read as follows: Are there patterns of reasoning detectable in the texts under scrutiny which can be attributed to social desirability? What role does the expression of emotions play in this reasoning? If there are such patterns, more questions will follow: Are the patterns of reasoning and/or the expression of emotions the same in the two source corpora? If not, how do they differ? How do the patterns and/or the expression of emotions correspond to the political and social context of the historical period under study? Do the patterns and/or the expression of emotions remain stable throughout the whole decade or are they subject to change?
Bieri, Thomas (2006). Lehrpersonen. Hoch belastetet und trotzdem zufrieden? Bern: Haupt.
Hoffmann-Ocon, Andreas (2020). Praktiken der Eignungsabklärung von angehenden Zu?rcher Primarlehrpersonen. In Hoffmann-Ocon, Andreas, De Vincenti, Andrea & Grube, Norbert (eds.), Praxeologie in der Historischen Bildungsforschung (pp. 171-203). Bielefeld: transcript. (Show less)
Andreas Hoffmann-Ocon :
"Commitment and Disappointment" – on the Psychologization of the 'Teacher-Student Relationship' in German-speaking Switzerland
The 1960s and 1970s are often described as decades in which, in a future-optimistic atmosphere so-called psycho-knowledge began to shape teacher education slowly but increasingly in German-speaking countries. The 1980s, however, are considered as a phase in which, in a mood of crisis, lifestyles oriented toward inwardness slowly outgrew the ... (Show more)
The 1960s and 1970s are often described as decades in which, in a future-optimistic atmosphere so-called psycho-knowledge began to shape teacher education slowly but increasingly in German-speaking countries. The 1980s, however, are considered as a phase in which, in a mood of crisis, lifestyles oriented toward inwardness slowly outgrew the milieus of alternative culture and became popular mass phenomena. Research findings at that time revealed that an overwhelming majority of teachers rejected their own educational behaviour in everyday conflict situations. Consequently, the new teacher personality striven for was to be "socially inclusive" and would teach in a less autocratic way. Conveying feelings of trust and warmth to students as well as carrying out non-directive, facilitative activities in the classroom were seen as expressions of teachers’ humane approaches, which were in turn considered as first steps towards changing society. Group expertise seemed particularly suitable to interlink the teacher’s position with issues like emancipation from authority or self-help. In this context, approaches based on humanistic psychology and psychoanalysis called not only for observation of the child, but also for intensive self-observation. Teachers were seized by an increasing wave of therapeutization accompanied by a frequently shared conviction that educators had to submit to procedures of “subjectification”.
The presentation will explore how sometimes competing conceptions of improving ‘teacher-student relationships’ based on psycho-knowledge were debated in teacher education and how they affected training practices. One context to be elucidated is that, especially positions critical of schools identified traditional concepts of the pedagogical relationship between teachers and students as unscientific, in part as repressive, and in some cases even argued for a withdrawal of trust. Instead of the teacher observing the students, the students were to observe the teacher and evaluate his or her behaviour. Insights into different conceptions based on psycho-knowledge and descriptions of practice in the training and further education of teachers in the German-speaking part of Switzerland shall be used to extrapolate the spectrum of interpretations of 'the authoritarian or anti-authoritarian teacher' prevailing at the time. Thus, annual reports of teachers' seminars, publications by lecturers who were involved, programs of continued teacher training and contemporary studies in educational psychology will reveal interpretation schemes shared by teachers regarding the meaning of warmth, understanding, and authenticity towards students. Additionally, certain group-dynamic practices for the further development of the teacher personality will come into view. In this context, the question needs to be clarified as to what extent these group practices served to impart psychological knowledge or to introduce members to a “moral community”. Another aspect to be addressed and discussed are the implications which arose from the therapeutically guided search for interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts, which led to a characterization of psychology instruction in Swiss-German teachers’ seminars as being uncomfortable and leading to “commitment and disappointment”. (Show less)
Sylvia Kesper-Biermann :
How “1968” Transformed Schooling. Teacher-student Relationships in Hamburg, 1970s–1980s
The West German school system experienced profound changes during the 1960s and 1970s. This period is generally referred to as an era of educational reform and educational expansion (cf. Rudloff 2016). Subsequently, remarkable shifts became apparent in everyday school life, most notably in teacher-student relationships. It has been claimed that, ... (Show more)
The West German school system experienced profound changes during the 1960s and 1970s. This period is generally referred to as an era of educational reform and educational expansion (cf. Rudloff 2016). Subsequently, remarkable shifts became apparent in everyday school life, most notably in teacher-student relationships. It has been claimed that, in the entire history of the Federal Republic, teachers and students have never become as close as during the 1960s and 1970s (Reimer 2000, p. 349). This diagnosis was made with regard to the German city of Hamburg. Instrumental in this process proved to be the fact that recently trained young pedagogues, alive with the ideas and ideals of ’68, started their professional career at that time.
This paper explores the motivations and emotions of teachers in West Germany who perceive themselves as members of the generation of ’68. It analyses 20 oral history interviews with men and women focusing on their work at schools in Hamburg during the 1970s and 1980s. To this end, it addresses three aspects. First, it analyses the motivations of the interviewees regarding their choice of teaching as a profession. Did political motives play a role, i.e., did they want to bring about a revolution from within educational institutions? Were social motivations prevailing, such as the wish to transform and improve society with regard to equality of opportunities and democratisation? Or were individual biographical and other factors crucial? Second, the paper focuses on teacher-student relationships and the emotions that were relevant in everyday school life from the pedagogues’ point of view. The interviews mention, for instance, love, trust, empathy and enthusiasm, on the one side, but also frustration, on the other side. In addition to that, the (presumed) emotions and motivations on the side of the students mattered. Finally, the conclusion discusses whether these analyses shed new light on the history of schooling in West Germany during the 1970s and 1980s as well as on the ’68 movement and its “march through the institutions”.
Fend, Helmut (1988): Sozialer Wandel in Erziehungsbedingungen und Mentalitäten der Lehrerschaft von den 60er zu den 80er Jahren, in: Johannes Bastian (ed.): 1968-1988. Eine Pädagogen-Generation zieht Bilanz, Hamburg: Bergmann Helbig, p. 102–118
Frevert, Ute/Caruso, Marcelo (eds.) (2012): Schwerpunkt: Emotionen in der Bildungsgeschichte, special issue of Jahrbuch für Historische Bildungsforschung, Bad Heilbrunn: Julius Klinkhardt
Reimer, Uwe (2000): “1968” in der Schule. Erfahrungen Hamburger Gymnasiallehrerinnen und -lehrer, Hamburg: Kova?.
Rudloff, Wilfried (2016): Ungleiche Bildungschancen: Bildungsforschung, öffentlicher Diskurs und Bildungsreform in England und der Bundesrepublik in den Jahren des Bildungsbooms, in: Carola Groppe/Gerhard Kluchert/Eva Matthes (eds.): Bildung und Differenz. Historische Analysen zu einem aktuellen Problem, Wiesbaden: Springer, p. 361–386. (Show less)
Sandra Wenk :
Suffering from School and the Struggle for Authority. Emotions in Teachers’ Diaries in the 1970s and 1980s
After 1968, the “march through the institutions” led many critical academics into schools. They entered schools as young teachers with the vision to form new people and to build a better society. After a short time, many of them were already frustrated because they realized that their high ambitions had ... (Show more)
After 1968, the “march through the institutions” led many critical academics into schools. They entered schools as young teachers with the vision to form new people and to build a better society. After a short time, many of them were already frustrated because they realized that their high ambitions had failed. Pedagogical institutions weren’t as changeable as reformers and protesting students had presumed. Struggles for educational and social reform had to be fought on the ground: in the teachers’ lounge, in the classroom, or at parent-teacher conferences.
In this context a new medium arose: published teachers’ diaries. Teachers used them to reflect on their experiences in schools, writing about the unreasonable demands that working in them entailed from their perspective (cf. Topfhoven, 1983). These teachers’ reports are not only an expression of individual frustration. They also mirror a new language and a new attitude in talking about education. Previously, teachers had rarely talked about their feelings in public. From the 1970s onwards, emotions played an important role. Suffering from school became an almost ubiquitous topic in the pedagogical press (Tändler 2015, p.107–109).
The paper asks how changed demands on the teaching profession occur within the teachers’ diaries by analysing how the teachers talked about themselves, about school, and social relationships in school. Which emotions were expressed in which way? I want to argue that the articulation of suffering from school was connected to a renegotiation of authority. On the one hand, critical teachers exhibited the fragility of pedagogical authority. It served to distance themselves from competing groups of teachers, researchers and parents: those were seen as technocratic, power-obsessed, or authoritarian as well those from educational sciences and politics who hoped for radical change in society through school. On the other hand, the expression of feelings can also be understood as a strategy of authorization in the struggle for influence in school and in school politics. Teachers hoped for social and political recognition of the achievements of the teaching profession. The sensitive teacher was a critical and reflective teacher who was able to articulate the complexity of teaching, to understand the needs of the students as well as the limits of pedagogical action and social reform via school.
I intend to understand the sources as reflections on new challenges to teaching und teachers’ behaviours in the aftermath of “1968” and of educational reform (cf. Tändler 2015). I will analyse the 1970s and 1980s as a transformative phase, when the articulation and reflection on one’s feelings became a core requirement of teaching.
Tändler, M. (2015). Erziehung der Erzieher. Lehrer als problematische Subjekte zwischen Bildungsreform und antiautoritärer Pädagogik, in: Eitler, P. & Elberfeld, J. (Ed.). Zeitgeschichte des Selbst. Therapeutisierung – Politisierung – Emotionalisierung (85-112), Bielefeld: transcript.
Tophoven, Klaus (1983). Pädagogische Erfahrungsliteratur. Ein Auswertungsversuch im Wege systematischer Studien zu einem Ansatz pädagogischer Handlungsforschung als Erfahrungsforschung, doctoral thesis Münster. (Show less)