Introduction: A critical incident is an event that occurs in a delimitated place and time producing in the professional an emotional state -usually negative- and destabilizing his/her professional identity. Critical incidents have been used to study teachers' professional development and identity. This study aim is to better understand the effect of critical incidents in higher education. Method: 11 university teachers and 88 of their students participated in this study. During one semester they filled out three different surveys weekly. During six weeks each teacher and her students reported the occurrence of critical incidents in the classroom using the first survey. After the six weeks, the survey answers were exchanged: the teachers could read the students' and vice versa. In the second survey the participants reported their reactions after reading the first survey answers. In the third survey students and teachers reported their reactions to the second survey exchange and, additionally, the teachers reflected on their pedagogical strategies. Results: Teachers and students reported different events as critical incidents. Teachers reported challenges to their authority or lack of students' motivation. Students reported as critical incidents problem during collaborative activities, lack of understanding about tasks' goals and arguments among peers. Additionally teachers reported to have gained new insights about their pedagogical strategies and proposed changes in their teaching style and classroom activities. Conclusions: The students' and teachers' divergent interpretation of events as critical incidents points out the importance of the role of the "educational agent". This is, teachers are usually in a more salient role as they are directing the classroom and, therefore, have different goals than the students. For this reason they experience critical incidents from different events challenging their role as teachers. The methodology of shared reports is appropriate to provoke reflection and changes on the teachers' pedagogical strategies. © Education & Psychology I+D+i and Ilustre Colegio Oficial de Psicología de Andalucía Oriental (Spain).
|Journal||Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Apr 2014|
- Critical incidents
- Higher education
- Shared reports
- Teacher professional identity
- Teacher training