What Constitutes a ‘Classroom Problem’ for Today's Teacher? An Exploratory Study

Sergio Sepúlveda-Vallejos, Carla Muñoz, Claudia Contreras, Manuel Monzalve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Teachers face situations that are difficult to solve, which affect their practices in the classroom. Teachers´ability to face problematic situations been related to educators' adaptive and metacognitive capacity. This study aimed to contrast the recent literature on classroom problems with reports from Chilean teachers regarding what they mean today as critical situations in the classroom. The major problems with the highest prevalence were categorized based on a literature review. Subsequently, teachers from three educational levels (pre-school, primary and secondary) were asked to relate situations in which they had experienced a crisis in their profession. After a filtering based on the relevance and textual richness present, the stories (n=145) were subjected to a thematic analysis and contrasted with the categories obtained from the reviewed literature. The results show a low proportion of problems associated with learning management in the classroom and, on the other hand, a high proportion of behavioral problems in students focused on situations of aggression towards the teacher. These conclusions are discussed to reconsider the concept of "classroom problem situations" and, based on this, questioning the role of teacher training in the development of skills for the management of authentic problem situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-73
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Methodology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical incidents
  • teacher competencies
  • teacher education programs
  • teacher-student relationship


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