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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton January 22, 2019

Caring to Teach: Exploring the Affective Economies of English Teachers in Singapore

Andrew J. Pereira


The ethical project of education hinges on the ideal of caring relations between teachers and students, an ideal that entails deep emotional commitments on the part of teachers. Drawing on interview data from a larger study of teachers’ lived experiences in Singapore’s secondary schools, this paper examines the cultural politics of caring as an emotional practice in teaching. The ethic of care serves to construct normative accounts of good teaching based on “feeling rules,” and becomes a disciplinary technology for evaluating the professional, social and emotional competencies of teachers. I suggest that this project in turn entails an ideological effort to mobilize teachers’ emotional attachment to this ethical ideal. The ethic of care shapes the subjectivities, beliefs, and practices of English teachers, particularly as they circulate through the neoliberal imperatives of educational accountability regimes.


This work was funded by the Office of Educational Research (OER), National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore under OER5/11 LCY. Opinions stated and conclusions drawn do not represent the views of the Institute but are the author’s own.


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Published Online: 2019-01-22
Published in Print: 2018-11-27

© 2018 FLTRP, Walter de Gruyter, Cultural and Education Section British Embassy

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