T6-AD1-4 - Dealing with emotions - Engineering teachers’ observations of students’ emotional reactions to receiving feedback on their work

3. Research Work In Progress
Päivi Kinnunen1
1 Helsinki University

Dealing with emotions - Engineering teachers’ observations of students’ emotional reactions to receiving feedback on their work



This work in progress short paper reports on a pilot study on engineering teachers’ observations of students’ emotional responses to situations in which students receive feedback on their work. Academic emotions have been a less studied phenomenon compared to the cognitive and social dimensions of teaching and learning in the field of engineering education. However, the interest in academic emotions has been growing during the past decade, as researchers and educators have started to recognize the role emotions play in students’ motivation, self-efficacy beliefs and academic success.

In this qualitative study we explored engineering educators’ experiences on the emotional reactions they have observed in their students at the time students receive feedback on their work. We also asked teachers to elaborate on the emotions they could remember encountering when they were students themselves and received feedback on their work. The preliminary results revealed a variety of emotions from strongly positive to extremely negative emotional responses. We classified each emotion using Pekrun’s taxonomy of emotions. As we analyzed the teachers’ accounts of student emotions we noted the following aspects: 1) whether the emotion was positive or negative, and 2) whether the emotion was activating or deactivating. The preliminary results showcase both activating and deactivation positive and negative emotions.

We concluded by discussing the possible practical implication of our results to engineering teachers. The role of academic emotions in a student’s wellbeing and academic success poses a need to recognize the importance of cultivating the art of giving and receiving feedback skills throughout engineering degrees. We discuss what teachers can do when planning a course as well as when providing the feedback to avoid and manage at least some unnecessary detrimental student emotions. The art of receiving feedback – and handling the emotions it might trigger – are part of students’ study skills that universities should promote.

Pekrun, R. (2016). Academic Emotions. In Wentzel, R. & Miele, D. Handbook of Motivation at School, 120–144. New York: Routledge.