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Pre-service teachers’ emotions and wellbeing during secondary school teacher training placements

   School of Education

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  Dr Jim King, Dr Fay Baldry  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Project Highlights:

  1. Will gain an in-depth account of the in-class emotional experiences of pre-service secondary teachers working on school placements.
  2. Will establish how pre-service secondary teachers engage in the management of their emotions when interacting with students and whether/how this affective work influences well-being
  3. Impact potential to produce research-informed training for pre-service teachers aimed at enabling them to better deal with the emotional aspects of teaching through the use of targeted emotion regulation strategies.

Project Summary

At the heart of teaching are the numerous interactions that occur between teachers and students within the classroom setting, and these interpersonal exchanges represent a key emotional aspect to the profession. Effective teaching is not merely about good subject knowledge and a familiarity with pedagogical techniques. Good teachers are able to emotionally connect with their students and bring a positive emotional tenor to interactions within classrooms (Hargreaves, 1998, 2000; Zembylas, 2005). During such exchanges, teachers may manufacture, suppress or maintain emotions in order to produce public in-class emotional displays that are appropriate to their professional context (King, 2016). This managed display of a teacher’s emotions helps to maintain good interpersonal dynamics with students which, in turn, facilitates learning and provides students with a model of how to regulate and display their own emotions (Chang & Davis, 2009). Teachers also regulate their emotions in order maintain wellbeing in what can be a challenging and stressful profession (Morris & King, 2019).

The purpose of this project is to investigate the in-class emotional experiences that trainee teachers encounter whilst on teaching placements within secondary schools and to explore potential strategies these novice instructors may use to regulate their emotions in order both to achieve pedagogical goals and maintain their own emotional well-being. Using classroom observations, stimulated recall interviews and focus group interviews for data collection, the research is a response to the lack of understanding about the emotional challenges faced by trainee educators on teaching practice placements within secondary schools. The study comes at a critical time for teaching in the UK. Teachers are leaving the profession in numbers never seen before, with attrition rates amongst secondary early career teachers of Maths, Modern Foreign Languages and Science being particularly high (Worth & De Lazzari, 2017). Teaching is a psychologically demanding profession and novice teachers are particularly susceptible to emotional stress and burnout (Joiner & Edwards, 2008). This study takes the position that the ability to manage one’s emotions in the classroom represents a professional competence and that a better understanding of pre-service teachers’ emotions would therefore have constructive applications for both teacher training and growth.

Start date: Sept 2023


UK and International* applicants are welcome to apply.

Entry requirements:

Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 or better in a relevant subject or overseas equivalent.  

The University of Leicester English language requirements may apply.

To apply

Please refer to the information and How to Apply section on our web site

Please ensure you include the project reference, supervisor and project title on your application.

Funding Notes

Future 50 Scholarship
Studentships provide funding for 3.5 years to include:
• Tuition fees at UK rates
• Stipend at UKRI rates for 2023 to be confirmed in early 2023 (currently £17,668 for 2022 entry)
• Access to a Research Training Support Grant of up to £1,500 pa for 3 years.
• Bench fees of £5,000 per annum for three years for laboratory-based studies
International applicants will need to be able to fund the difference between UK and International fees for the duration of study.
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