Embracing ‘the stranger’ in us: Heterogeneity and ambivalent ways of being in classrooms

Anna Pauliina Rainio, Kaisu Mälkki, Marita Mäkinen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


In this study, we inquire a real-life case from a Finnish early elementary school classroom and elaborate how the teacher and student(s) together create space for heterogeneous ways of being in the classroom that support their social and emotional competence and well-being. Our study offers conceptual tools and knowledge to support teachers to harness heterogeneity in classrooms – to embrace the ‘stranger’ in both the student and the teacher – to develop pedagogical interaction in challenging classroom contexts. Based on the study, we propose a map for embracing challenging situations in heterogenous classrooms through transformative teaching stance. Central dimensions of the map are (i) dialectical nature of fostering learning in institutional context, (ii) its embodiment in co-regulative processes in students and teachers as experiences of ambivalence and edge-emotions, and (iii) sources of support for teacher to sustain transformative teaching stance. Implications for supporting SEL with a view on teachers’ well-being are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Approaches to Promoting Social and Emotional Learning in Schools
Subtitle of host publicationA Framework for Developing Teaching Strategy
EditorsMarkus Talvio, Kirsti Lonka
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-003-09305-3
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-55331-9, 978-0-367-55332-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021
Publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 3


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