Teachers' distress tolerance experiences associated with teaching dilemmas: A hermeneutic phenomenological exploration

Doctorate other than PhD

Hargreaves, Lorette Stacey. 2023. Teachers' distress tolerance experiences associated with teaching dilemmas: A hermeneutic phenomenological exploration. Doctorate other than PhD Doctor of Education. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/x8zxy

Teachers' distress tolerance experiences associated with teaching dilemmas: A hermeneutic phenomenological exploration

TypeDoctorate other than PhD
AuthorsHargreaves, Lorette Stacey
1. FirstProf Peter McIlveen
2. SecondDr Chris Kossen
2. SecondDr Susan Carter
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Education
Number of Pages209
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/x8zxy

School teaching today occurs within extraordinarily complex contexts with increasing pressures influencing teaching practice. The present research explores experienced teachers’ lived experiences of distress tolerance associated with their teaching dilemmas. Teaching dilemmas are inherent within teaching contexts. They represent situations where the teacher is faced with two or more competing values or commitments and actions are required in the knowledge that there is no “right” solution and that the consequences will disadvantage some involved. These dilemmas are associated with psychological discomfort for teachers and have negative associations with teachers’ wellbeing. The extant literature lacks sufficient research into experiential knowledge relevant to coping with this discomfort in teaching practice. The present research involved two studies with the first involving individual interviewing of experienced teachers. Two phases of interviews provided opportunities for participants to present additional experiences of distress tolerance and to check my interpretations of their data. The second study utilized synectics protocols to elicit teachers’ conceptual metaphors within a focus group context. The hermeneutic phenomenological methodology of Max van Manen provided a suitable framework for this exploratory research. Data was interpreted through the existential lenses of corporeality, spatiality, relationality, and temporality. Themes were identified that represented commonalities within the data. Findings indicated that distress tolerance provided an embodied means of sustaining teaching practice. The present research suggested that the concept of distress overtolerance may provide a useful explanatory concept for the discomfort articulated by the experienced teacher participants. Future research may explore possible relationships between the embodiment of teachers’ coping and their implicit knowledge, given that coping within complex contexts such as teachers’ dilemmatic spaces can involve the use of implicit strategies. Conceptual metaphors may provide a research method of value in exploring these hypothesized connections. Exploration and development of this understanding may have ramifications for wellbeing practices, not only within teaching, but also other contexts of high complexity.

Keywordsdistress tolerance, teaching dilemmas, hermeneutic phenomenology
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390412. Teacher and student wellbeing
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsSchool of Education
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