Quality Teachers and Quality Teacher Education: Can Affective Teachers Be Effective?
This paper presents a rationale for examining the field of scholarship on care with a particular emphasis on critiquing the link between care and quality within the teaching profession. This paper details the emerging findings of a research study involving four Irish primary schools engaging with a programme of care in each of their schools. Two key questions are examined. First, can more than adequate academic achievement be attained when children in primary education are cared for, care for themselves and learn to care for others? Second, how is care related to the contemporary wellbeing movement in education? Education in the present political climate has undergone profound changes in recent decades with sharp increases in anxiety and feelings of helplessness, particularly among young people, in Western society. Yet, too often, the professionalization of teaching creates a dispassionate distance dictating how teachers should conduct their professional lives. It is well documented that teachers are the most powerful determinants of pupil achievement. Unsurprisingly, the most effective teachers use care; enthusiasm; humour; kindness; passion and positivity in their daily lives. This paper details a programme that is built upon the central themes of care--caring for self, for others, for strangers and global others, for the natural world and its nonhuman creatures, for the human-made world, and for ideas. It demonstrates how teachers can be their own leaders in defining what quality education is in their school: connection and relationships. This paper is a timely and important intervention in the contemporary debates about care, wellbeing, quality teachers and quality teacher education.