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Emotion transmission in the classroom revisited: A reciprocal effects model of teacher and student enjoyment
Frenzel, A. C., Becker-Kurz, B., Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., Lüdtke, O.

Emotion transmission in the classroom revisited: A reciprocal effects model of teacher and student enjoyment

Journal of Educational Psychology, 110(5), 628–639. DOI: 10.1037/edu0000228

Enjoyment is one of the most relevant and frequently experienced discrete emotions for both teachers and students in classroom learning contexts. Based on theories of emotion transmission between interaction partners, we propose a reciprocal effects model linking teachers’ and students’ enjoyment in class. The model suggests that there are positive reciprocal links between teachers’ and students’ enjoyment and that these links are mediated by teachers’ and students’ observations of each other’s classroom behaviors. The model was tested using 3-wave longitudinal data collected across the 1st 6 months of a school year from N = 69 teachers (78% female) and their 1,643 students from Grades 5 to 10 (57% female). A multilevel structural equation model confirmed our mediation hypotheses. Teacher enjoyment at the beginning of the school year (Time 1 [T1]) was positively related to student perceptions of teachers’ enthusiasm during teaching 4 weeks later (T2), which was positively related to student enjoyment at midterm (T3). Further, student enjoyment at T1 was positively related to teacher perceptions of their students’ engagement in class at T2, which was positively related to teacher enjoyment at T3. This study is the first to provide longitudinal evidence of reciprocal emotion transmission between teachers and students. Implications for future research and teacher training are discussed.