Emotions, Politics and Pedagogy: A Trilogy of Labour in Teaching about Gender in Schools

Year: 2019

Author: Cahill, Helen, Dadvand, Babak

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this paper, we examine different types of ‘labour’ that teachers are called upon to perform when teaching programs that address issues of gender, gender identity and gender-based violence. Drawing on the findings from research into the implementation of the Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships (RRRR) program in Australia, we demonstrate how three types of labour, namely emotional, political and pedagogical, are at work when teaching these topic areas. In analysing interview data gathered from 129 teachers from primary (N: 71) and secondary (N: 58) schools, we borrow and extend Hochschild’s (1979) notion of ‘emotional labour’ in conjunction with the notion of ‘assemblage’ (Deleuze & Guattari, 1988) to show how the trilogy of labour intersects to affect teachers’ decisions and actions in classrooms. Our aim is to shed light on the complex, less-visible and often-unacknowledged dimensions of educators’ work in teaching for gender equity, diversity and the prevention of gender-based violence. We maintain that the use of a framework which offers an account of the intersections between emotional, political and pedagogical labour can help provide a better understanding of the challenges that teachers face and the possible points of dissonance in their work. This framework has implications for those investing in professional development, policy reform and program implementation.