CfP: Special Issue on ‘Teacher Emotions across Greater China’ in the Beijing International Review of Education journal



Teacher Emotions across Greater China

Photo by burak kostak from Pexels

The Beijing International Review of Education is a new start-up journal published by Brill Academic Publishers ( starting in 2019. The journal is calling for expressions of interest for the Volume 4 Issue 1, on the theme Teacher Emotions across Greater China. We invite papers based on both empirical research and theoretical debates. Please send an abstract of 300 words to Dr. Kwok Kuen Tsang by 30 November 2020 at The deadline for submitting the full paper is 31 May 31 2021.


Over the past decades, the research on teachers’ emotions has burgeoned exponentially in the western literature (e.g., Hargreaves, 2000; 2001; Schutz & Zembylas, 2009; Zembylas, 2003; 2007). Arguably, without positive emotions, teachers may not be passionate to, motivated to, and interested in facilitating students’ academic, social, moral and psychological growth (Demetriou, Wilson, & Winterbottom, 2009; Sutton & Wheatley, 2003). Consequently, teacher emotions, as a quintessential aspect of teaching, has gained traction. However, most of the current studies are conducted in the western educational contexts without considering the dynamic Asian socio-cultural backgrounds (Deng et al., 2018; Tsang, 2019; Zembylas, 2005). In the western-hegemonic discourse, the Asian voice, particularly those from the Greater Chinese contexts, are silenced. [i]

The present mainstream explanations and frameworks arising from the western landscape may not accurately correspond to teacher emotions in non-Western contexts, especially the Greater-Chinese societies, since human emotions are socially and culturally constructed rather than pure psychologically and physiologically constructed (Ekman, 1973; Peterson, 2006; Turner, 2011). The differences between the Western and Chinese sociocultural contexts are notably distinct. First, the Chinese societies emphasize collectivism or social orientation, whereas Western societies emphasize individualism (Ho, 1979; Yang, 1995). Second, the Chinese historically and culturally values examination-oriented learning and thus regards learning as the means to exchange a better life chance because of Confucian heritage, while the Western, influenced by Dewey’s philosophy, tends to treat learning as a means of self-actualization (Li, 2012; Sun, 2012). These cultural differences not only produce different educational systems to the societies, but also value systems and social systems that define how teachers behave, interpret, and feel (Ryan & Louie, 2007).

Additionally, teachers all over the world have been emotionally drained, resulting in the flurry of negative or even alienated emotional experiences, such as exhaustion, stress, frustration, anxiety, and depression in teaching since the implementation of managerialistic education reforms in 1980s (Ball, 2003; 2012). Against the backdrop of performativity, these adverse emotions not only have detrimental impacts on the quality of teaching, but also the attritions and well-beings of the teachers (Biesta, 2015; Day & Qing, 2009). The culture of teacher performativity, along with the penetrating managerialistic teacher reform, is looming large in the Greater Chinese society. This external context unavoidably contributes to the uncertainties of teacher emotion and the accompanying resilience, vulnerability, professional identity, and the well-beings across the multilayered contexts.

With that being said, we need a more sophisticated perspective and methodology, which explicitly accounts for the multilayered Chinese sociocultural contexts, to better probe into the nuances of teacher emotions in the Greater Chinese societies. This approach entails both a diversified theoretical lens and methodological approach to understanding teachers’ emotions in various contexts.

Aims and Scope

Accordingly, the special issue aims to invite researchers to investigate teacher emotions in Chinese societies, especially Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, with an indigenous approach, which highlights the importance of Chinese values, concepts, cultures, and social structures in the explanation and theorization of social phenomena in societies (Yang, 1997), to understand teachers’ emotional lives and well-being. In particular, the special issue would like to achieve the following goals:

  1. To develop a perspective or framework that can take the Chinese sociocultural contexts into consideration in the investigation and explanation of teacher emotions in Chinese societies;
  2. To communicate with the existing literature that is dominated by the Western perspective; and
  3. To identify similarities and differences between the mechanisms of teacher emotions in Chinese and Western societies;

Key Themes/Topics

The following are the potential topics of interest for this special issue:

  • Emotional culture and labor of teaching in Chinese societies
  • Teacher emotions and social interactions in Chinese education systems
  • Education reform and teacher emotions in Chinese societies
  • Teacher emotions and teacher will-being in Chinese societies
  • Teacher emotions and Chinese school organization and administration
  • Teacher emotions and teacher professional development in Chinese societies
  • Teacher emotions and Chinese pedagogical practices
  • Antecedents and consequences of positive and negative emotions of teachers in Chinese societies
  • Comparison of the mechanisms of teacher emotions in Chinese societies with Western societies

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Gang Zhu

East China Normal University

Dr. Kwok Kuen Tsang

Beijing Normal University

Dr. Lianjiang Jiang

Education University of Hong Kong


Ball, S. J. (2003). The teacher’s soul and the terrors of performativity. Journal of education policy18(2), 215-228.

Ball, S. J. (2012). Global education inc: New policy networks and the neo-liberal imaginary. Routledge.

Biesta, G. J. (2015). Good education in an age of measurement: Ethics, politics, democracy. Routledge.

Day, C., & Qing, G. (2009). Teacher emotions: Well being and effectiveness. In P. A. Schutz & M. Zembylas (Eds.), Advances in teacher emotion research: The impact on teachers’ lives (pp. 15-31). New York: Springer.

Demetriou, H., Wilson, E., & Winterbottom, M. (2009). The role of emotion in teaching: Are there differences between male and female newly qualified teachers’ approaches to teaching? Educational Studies, 35(4), 449-473.

Deng, L., Zhu, G., Li, G., Xu, Z., Rutter, A., & Rivera, H. (2018). Student teachers’      emotions, dilemmas, and professional identity formation in the teaching      practicums. The Asia-pacific Education Researcher27(6), 441-453.

Ekman, P. (1973). Cross-cultural studies of facial expression. In P. Ekman (Ed.), Darwin and facial expression (pp. 169-222). New York: Academic Press.

Hargreaves, A. (2000). Mixed emotions: Teachers’ perceptions of their interactions with students. Teaching and Teacher Education,16(8), 811–826.

Hargreaves, A. (2001). Emotional geographies of teaching. Teachers College Record,  103(6), 1056–1080.

Ho, D. Y. F. (1979). Psychological implications of collectivism: With special reference to the Chinese case and maoist dialectics. In L. H. Eckensberger, W. J. Lonner, & Y. H. Poortinga (Eds.), Cross-cultural contributions to psychology (pp. 143-150). Lisse: Swets and Zeitlinger.

Li, J. (2012). Cultural foundations of learning: East and West. Cambridge University Press.

Peterson, G. (2006). Cultural theory and emotions. In J. E. Stets & J. H. Turner (Eds.), Handbook of the sociology of emotions (pp. 114-134). New York: Springer.

Ryan, L., & Louie, K. (2007). False Dichotomy? ‘Western’ and ‘Confucian’ concepts of scholarship and learning. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 39(4), 404-417. doi:10.1111/j.1469-5812.2007.00347.x

Schutz, P. A., & Zembylas, M. (2009). Advances in teacher emotion research: The impact on teachers’ lives. New York: Springer.

Sun, C. T. L. (2012). Themes in Chinese psychology (2nd ed.). Singapore: Cengage Learning Asia.

Sutton, R. E., & Wheatley, K. F. (2003). Teachers’ emotions and teaching: A review of the literature and directions for future research. Educational Psychological Review, 15(4), 327-358.

Tsang, K. K. (2019). Teachers’ work and emotions: A sociological analysis. London: Routledge.

Turner, J. H. (2011). The problem of emotions in societies. New York: Routledge.

Yang, K. S. (1995). Chinese social orientation: An integrative analysis. In T. Y. Lin, W. S. Tseng, & E. K. Yeh (Eds.), Chinese societies and mental health (pp. 19-39). Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.

Yang, K. S. (1997). Indigenous compatibility in psychological research and its related problems. Indigenous Psychological Research in Chinese Societies, 8, 75-120 (in Chinese).

Zembylas, M. (2003). Emotions and teacher identity: A poststructural perspective. Teachers and Teaching, 9(3), 213–238.

Zembylas, M. (2005). Discursive practices, genealogies, and emotional rules: A    poststructuralist view on emotion and identity in teaching. Teaching and     Teacher education, 21(8), 935–948.

Zembylas, M. (2007). Emotional ecology: The intersection of emotional knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge in teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23(4), 355–367.

[i] Note:

In this special issue, the Greater Chinese society encompasses Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

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