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Emotion and moral purposes in higher education teaching: Poetic case examples of teacher experiences

Quinlan, Kathleen M. (2018) Emotion and moral purposes in higher education teaching: Poetic case examples of teacher experiences. Studies in Higher Education, 44 (9). pp. 1662-1675. ISSN 0307-5079. (doi:10.1080/03075079.2018.1458829) (KAR id:66890)


Although teaching is emotionally and ethically demanding, higher education teachers’ emotions, values and sense of moral purpose are under-researched. This study examines 66 case examples of teachers’ emotional experiences to see whether and what kinds of moral concerns underpin those emotional moments. Analysis was based on Graham, Nosek, Hadit, Iyer, & Ditto’s (2011) moral foundations theory, which posits five main moral concerns: care/harm, fairness/reciprocity, ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity. Care/harm and authority/respect were the most common single moral concerns underpinning these emotional experiences, though there were examples of all five moral concerns within the set. Approximately one third of the cases referenced multiple moral concerns, suggesting the complexity of both emotional and ethical demands in teaching. Implications for research, teaching and educational development are highlighted.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/03075079.2018.1458829
Additional information: This article analyses poems contained in Quinlan, K. M. (2016). How Higher Education Feels: Commentaries on Poems That Illuminate Emotions in Learning and Teaching. [Online]. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers, which is available at:
Uncontrolled keywords: ethics, emotion, professionalism, faculty development, teacher identities
Subjects: L Education
Divisions: Divisions > Directorate of Education > Centre for the Study of Higher Education
Depositing User: Kathleen Quinlan
Date Deposited: 02 May 2018 10:47 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 00:22 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Quinlan, Kathleen M..

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