Affective learning for effective learning? Data, numbers and teachers’ learning

Year: 2019

Author: Hardy, Ian

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This article draws upon literature and theorising in relation to the affective qualities of the effects of the datafication of education to reveal the nature of teachers’ work and learning under current policy conditions. Empirically, the research draws upon interview data with experienced teachers from one school in northern Queensland, Australia, to elaborate the nature of the affective qualities of increased policy attention to different forms of numeric targets, and the data to which such targets referred. The research reveals that the increased datafication of education has led to significant, increased pressure upon teachers to ensure enhanced results. Such pressures are explicitly felt by teachers and students in relation to their learning, with sometimes problematic effects. This pressure is understood as a manifestation of particular affective qualities of the increased use of data and enhanced enumeration of education in schooling. At the same time, there is also evidence of more positive and productive engagement with data, as evident in teachers’ willingness to engage with various forms of ‘data conversations’ as a vehicle for their own, and their students’ learning. In this way, the research reveals the multifaceted nature of the affective qualities of the datafication of education, even as it cautions against the erosive emotive effects of the unrelenting push for enhanced data as a proxy for learning.