Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Konstantinos Alexakos

Committee Members

Kenneth Tobin

Gillian Bayne

Wladina Antoine Alexakos

Subject Categories



oximeters, emotions, teaching, learning, emotionally adaptive pedagogy


Part of teaching a learner includes the emotions of the teachers and learners, as emotional experiences arise throughout teaching | learning that can be better addressed and coped with. The Sheffer stroke (|) is used to emphasize that teaching and learning are both simultaneous and dependent on the social interaction of learning as both the roles, teacher and learner, are interchangeable. Emotional experiences of teachers and learners impact their emotional state of being. Reflective tools such as heuristics, emotion diaries, clickers, cogenerative dialogues, and oximeters have been used alongside video recordings to prompt awareness of experienced emotions. When educators intentionally discuss and practice awareness, being mindfully aware of our emotions while teaching | learning, a “safe” academic space is developed where teaching | learning fosters ways of tackling difficult conversations and tasks (Alexakos et al., 2016). In such a space, there is room for discussion regarding the impact of experienced emotions, or lack thereof, in an effort to address and cope with these emotions, offering a healthy choice between accepting or letting go of them.

The research presented in this thesis combines three investigations exploring physiological responses to emotional experiences in the classroom revealed through heartrate readings. The first investigation was of Petra who was wearing a finger pulse oximeter while co-presenting on gender and education in a 2012 Science Methods Education course during the Spring Semester at CUNY Brooklyn College that Konstantinos Alexakos taught. The second investigation was of Leah, Matt, and Christian wearing finger pulse oximeters while presenting on race and education in a 2015 Science Methods Education course during Spring Semester at CUNY Brooklyn College that Alexakos taught. The third investigation was of myself and Alexakos wearing finger pulse oximeters as he taught on Veterans Day in 2014 at The CUNY Graduate Center. Events emerging during each of the investigations revealed contradictions between what was normal or constant for the participants during interactions in learning environments (Tobin, 2009).

This research comprises both data and reflections through the use of finger pulse oximeters and cogenerative dialogues. The narratives and voices of the participants highlight the physiological expression and the awareness of the emotional experience.

During this research, the need for uniting the body of work investigating emotional state of being in teaching | learning became evident. Ontologies were challenged as the very nature of one’s being was questioned through the experience of tackling something that the self considers a challenge while bringing awareness to all participants and researchers involved based on observed events. Emerging from this work and expanding Tobin’s work (2009; 2015) and that of others on researching emotions with respect to teaching | learning using heuristics and then oximeters, three themes—bringing awareness, transformative knowledge, and making cases for emotional experiences in teaching and learning—underpin and strengthen the argument for the development of a theoretical framework for emotionally adaptive pedagogy. My fifth chapter discusses such a pedagogy and the need for a theoretical framework that addresses research in emotional adaptivity of teachers and learners. In my sixth and closing chapter, I look back and reflect on this research, what I have learned and how it has changed me.

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