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the Forbidden Apple in Pedagogy: N egotiating Relationship Boundaries in the Classroom Windi D. Turner Virginia Tech November 2011. Is there something in the chalk dust?. http://

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the Forbidden Apple in Pedagogy: Negotiating Relationship Boundaries in the ClassroomWindi D. TurnerVirginia TechNovember 2011

Is there something in the chalk dust
Is there something in the chalk dust?

T he classroom is a minute community in itself where students and teachers intermingle
the classroom is a minute community in itself where students and teachers intermingle

Share their ideas and culture
share their ideas and culture

And influence the behaviors of one another
and influence the behaviors of one another

I t is more than knowledge skills and competencies
it is more than knowledge, skills, and competencies

perceptions and attitudes towards teachers

and subject matter are formed

(Okoro & Washington, 2011)

A n erotic classroom
an “erotic” classroom?

positive and negative connection exists between:





Some feminists enunciate the correlation between

sexuality and pedagogy as either oppressiveoremancipatory.

Other feminists consider the relationship to be both

enabling and hindering (Trethewey, 2004).

Are twisted teachers on the loose karnasiewicz 2006

“twisted teacher?”

The education profession loses a level of

credibility with each report of educator sexual

exploitation (Shoop, 2004).

The media and pop culture in general have

manipulated these accounts as a platform for

scenes in sitcoms, plots for the big screen,

and even in-so-far as stereotyping teachers.

Are “twisted teachers on the loose?” (Karnasiewicz, 2006)

Recognizing how teachers cross the

emotional, physical, and ethical boundaries

is an essential dialogue for educational

research encompassing teacher embodiment

(Johnson, 2004).

images and stories suggest mixed social opinions of where the boundary between mentor, friend, and lover exists

Lacking insufficient tools and a mentorship

necessary to understand the eroticism within

the classroom can lead to unresolved romantic

dilemmas for both teachers and students (May, 2009).

Love and pedagogy in the same sentence
“love” and “pedagogy” in the same sentence?

“I love teaching”

Love can function as the inspiration for students to

pursue knowledge and it can unify a teacher and

student in their quest for knowledge.

The love of learning can rouse students to challenge knowledge, thus, pressing its parameters.

Although love has been regarded as a positive power in teaching

and learning, its necessity has been confronted by the problematic

phenomenon of teacher-student sex scandals (Cho, 2005).

Professional development
Professional Development

Future research of the emotional dynamics of the

teacher-student relationship would provide greater clarity

for investment in professional development addressing the many professional complexities in teaching.

Stakeholders in education should be aware of the complex eroticism that exists in pedagogy and understand ways to manage the boundaries.


Cho, D. (2005). Lessons of love: Psychoanalysis of teacher-student love. Educational Theory. 55(1), 78-95.

Johnson, T. S. (2004). “It’s pointless to deny that the dynamic is there: Sexual tensions in secondary classrooms.

English Education. 37(1), 5-29.

Karnasiewicz, S. (2006). In student-teacher sex scandals, is there a double standard?

May, J. (2009). A challenging vision: the teacher-student relationship in The Heartbreak Kid. Journal of Australian Studies. 33(4). 405-415. doi: 10.1080/14443050903308642

Okoro, E., & Washington, M. (2011). Communicating in a multicultural classroom: A study of students’

nonverbal behavior and attitudes toward faculty attire. Journal of College Teaching & Learning,

8(7), 27-37.

Shoop, R.J. (2004). Sexual exploitation in schools: How to spot it and stop it. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

Trethewey, A. (2004). Sexuality, eros, and pedagogy: Desiring laughter in the classroom. Women and Language. 27(1).

34- 39.