Therapeutic discourse in teacher professional discourse: on multidimensionality and elasticity of psychology-based reasoning

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Abstract

Educational discourses have embraced therapeutic discourse, a psychology-based system of assumptions about the self, its boundaries, development and social relations. While scholars have debated the virtues of this therapeutic turn, there has been little empirical study of therapeutic discourse in teacher pedagogical discourse. This article, using theoretical frameworks of teacher learning and the sociology of therapeutic discourse and employing linguistic ethnographic methods, features close analysis of therapeutic discourse in teacher workplace conversations. The focal case, in which a teacher consults with her colleagues regarding a non-compliant student, features four episodes of therapeutic reasoning (ETRs) in which various therapeutic logics are employed. Analysis uncovered three central manifestations of therapeutic discourse especially pertinent to education: the role of emotions; perceptions of the self; and temporality. Attending to these manifestations in each ETR reveals conditions under which they may enhance or impede potential for teacher learning and pedagogic action. When therapeutic modes of reasoning are deployed by teachers to discuss their problems of practice, they are found to be multifaceted, elastic, and to bear potential for agentive teacher action under certain conditions. This article calls for a more nuanced, temporally-sensitive perspective on therapeutic discourse in education, and addresses implications for theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch Papers in Education
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Discourse Analysis
  • Ethnography
  • Teacher Learning
  • Therapeutic Discourse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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