Effective or affective schools? Technological and emotional discourses of educational change

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British schools have been positioned by recent educational policy discourses as sites of innovation and transformation in new technological contexts, but more recent concerns about well-being suggest a more ‘affective turn’ in educational policy-making. This article provides an analysis of a project which has explored the ways in which schools are being re-imagined as spaces of effective technology-centredness, as well as sites for more emotional or affective child-centredness. I argue that far from being mutually exclusive categories, these technology-centred and child-centred orientations are conjoined in what I call ‘high-touch-tech’ discourse where the effective and the affective are mutually constitutive. Finally, I situate these changes as consequent upon ‘emotion management’ in work and social life, and suggest that an implication of the new policy focus on well-being for schools will be their requirement to perform ‘affect management’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-441
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Early online date14 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012


  • technology
  • media
  • emotion
  • affect
  • high-tech
  • high-touch


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