Manage The Classroom, Manage The Teaching-Learning Process


Faced with the emotional conflicts in the university classroom, generated during the teaching-learning process in the master's studies in teachers, the teaching activity has decided to face this problem, implementing the empathy map as an innovative tool to start classroom management. The empathy map is a way to activate, by the teaching staff, a communication based on active listening and to identify the frustrations, needs and aspirations of the students, it also allows analyzing the sequence of thinking, feeling and acting that determines the attitude and student behavior. For students, completing the empathy map means a process of self-knowledge, self-management and motivation for the development of their intrapersonal emotional intelligence. The analysis and interpretation of the data obtained in the implementation of the empathy map in the classroom describe a mental state of cognitive dissonance among the students. To achieve a state of cognitive consistency in the sequence of thinking, feeling and acting that facilitates the development of a positive proactive attitude among students, the teaching leadership displays persuasive communication in classroom management, a communication based on the development of emotional intelligence. In classroom management, a space for collective learning, the activity of teachers must integrate four dimensions: the emotional space, the curricular space, the space of social interaction and the space of cultural diversity.

Keywords: Classroom managementempathy mapteaching-learning processcognitive dissonance


How to teach in a Master's classroom? How to face the new didactic conflicts? The creation of the European Higher Education Area has introduced changes in the teaching-learning processes for the construction of student knowledge, the changes affect the didactics, the techniques and methods necessary to impart skills.

The new didactic framework and the peculiarities of university graduates enrolled in the Master's Degree in Compulsory Secondary Education, Baccalaureate, Vocational Training and Language, Artistic and Sports Teaching generates a new type of conflict, the didactic conflict. Following the theoretical foundation of Cortina (1997), the conflict situation arises from the confrontation in the opposition of interests, causing anguish when there is no glimpse of an exit. The conflict is incubated in the academic experience of the Master, due to difficulties in learning expectations and uncertainty in obtaining the Master's degree.

To address the new educational context, this article analyzes the implementation of the didactic resource map of empathy and its impact on finding out the frustrations, aspirations and desires of students and also on the leadership of classroom management by the teacher.

Problem Statement

What characterizes the Master students? A peculiarity of the students enrolled in a Master is the return to the classrooms. In the Master in Compulsory Secondary Education, Baccalaureate, Vocational Training and Language, Artistic and Sports Teaching (hereinafter Master), the experience begins returning to the physical space of the university, but with another age, students are no longer eighteen.

What does it mean with another age? The Master's degree is accessed by graduates who have successfully reached the end of the educational system, academically the best prepared people, however there is a characteristic feature that defines new university students and influences their academic performance: the duty to reconcile ongoing training with personal, family and work life. It is an age for learning different from the previous ones, and yet the continuation of the process of the elementary, secondary, high school and university stages, a stage where graduates must demonstrate that they have the capacity to learn to learn throughout the life, according to Paricio (2019) ability to get involved in active and constructive learning.

According to the survey conducted at the beginning of the course, all graduates enrolled in the Master have the intrinsic motivation to obtain the title of the Master that enables them to practice the teaching profession. The Master qualifies for the exercise of the regulated professions of Professor of Compulsory Secondary Education and Baccalaureate, Professional Training, Professional Artistic Teaching, Sports Education and Language Teaching, according to Resolution of December 17, 2007 of the Secretary of State for Universities and Research, Royal Decree 1393/2007, of October 29, which establishes the organization of official university education and what is established by the Organic Law of Education, in chapter II, articles 95, 96, 97 and 98, referred To the Teaching staff of the different teachings, regulating the training requirements for the teachers of Compulsory Secondary Education, Baccalaureate, Professional Training, Professional Artistic Teaching, Language Teaching and Sports Education.

The Master in Teaching Staff is an example of ongoing training, following the instructions of the European Parliament (2006), a training for personal fulfillment, to exercise active citizenship, social inclusion and employability, training aligned with the key competences described in Order ECD/ 65/2015 of January 21, and which include the guidelines of the European Union for the acquisition of basic skills by citizens, for personal, social and professional training, which makes economic development possible linked to knowledge.

What problems have been detected? The student joins the classrooms after the first semester, the classroom is the space of coexistence for each student and among students and teachers, of fellowship and empathy, also of conflicts and toxic relationships. To begin to know the classroom, the brainstorming technique has been implemented (Osborn, 1979), the objective is to collect spontaneous opinions of each student, without filters. The perceptions recorded on the Master's experience have been classified in three dimensions, defining the emotional, social and learning state of students' competencies:

  • Emotional perception Uncertainty for the achievement of the Master's degree produces demotivation and loss of self-confidence.

  • Social perception. The effects on coexistence in the classroom generate a state of confusion hindering commitment and self-regulation in the teaching-learning process.

  • Perceptions about learning skills. In relation to curricular learning, students express overwhelm with excess work and effort, feeling of not learning the contents and methodologies.

Is the Master responding to student challenges? Students' perceptions, obtained through brainstorming activity, challenge teachers. Teachers committed to continuous improvement must initiate innovation processes to analyze and mitigate the effects of negative attitudes, to positively influence the classroom climate and begin the management of the teaching-learning process.

Classroom management is the teacher's actions to create the climate that facilitates relationships for learning. According to Uruñuela (2018), the classroom climate must be built by the interaction between students and teachers, to improve attention, commitment and cooperation. It has been shown that there is a close relationship between the effectiveness of the teaching-learning process and classroom management by the teacher (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2007).

Research Questions

The data obtained in the application of the technique of brainstorming in the classroom, suggest the need to introduce teaching innovation in the teaching of the teaching-learning process of students. The didactics in the Master's degree no longer consist in being in the physical classroom, sitting, aligned watching and listening to the teacher. The age of learning of the students of the Master challenge the professor so that he becomes a manager of the classroom.

According to Vaello (2009) the educational scenario must overcome two assumptions that flood the teachers' mind, irrational ideas that make classroom management difficult:

  • Irrational idea of the student's willingness to learn, carefully follow the teacher's classes.

  • Irrational idea of the teacher to be prepared, spontaneously, to effectively manage the classroom.

In the daily reality of the classroom, both idealized visions are fulfilled, in order to objectively address this type of irrational ideas it is necessary to resort to tools that facilitate communication between each student and the teacher, tools that activate active and empathic listening.

How to face the classroom to minimize the feeling of emotional wear, demotivation, loss of time and lack of understanding of the contents? Facing problems in the classroom means initiating innovation processes in teaching models, to work a collaborative climate between teachers and students, creating circular and networked learning spaces to generate attitudes and values proactive to education, Medina and Medina (2019) question about where lies the innovative sense of teaching models:

In the potential to anticipate and assess the keys to formative interaction, by unveiling the most relevant of each teaching-learning process in uncertain, complex and intercultural contexts, but focused from a holistic and integrated vision, in close combination and fullness of the most changing facts of the knowledge society, human relations and the organizational plurality of institutions and companies. (p. 46)

How to get students to get involved and become aware of their teaching-learning process by competencies? It is about knowing each student, of being on permanent alert and observation, to obtain information about the attitudes that trigger behaviors to acquire skills. Managing the classroom means introducing innovation in the classroom, and for quality improvements to occur, it is necessary to systematically systematize these changes, therefore, to record, analyze and interpret the data obtained in the classroom. Among the most popular analysis tools are the empathy map and the SWOT analysis.

Does managing the classroom mean managing the teaching-learning process? For Davis and Thomas (1992), Kounin (1970) and Vaello (2009, 2011), behavior management strategies are measures aimed at conflict prevention, taking four dimensions that structure classroom management, therefore necessary for the Climate management, coexistence and the teaching-learning process:

  • Emotional space management. Management of emotional intelligence through the management of intrapersonal intelligence and interpersonal intelligence.

  • Social interaction space management. Design of the classroom space, climate in the classroom, interpersonal relationships between students and between students and teachers, teacher leadership, roles of each student, participation and cooperation, coexistence, compliance with rules and discipline, responsibility, solidarity, etc.

  • Curriculum space management. Didactic innovation as a process of continuous improvement of methodologies and activities in the teaching-learning process of skills. It includes managing creativity, enthusiasm, motivation, discipline and attention.

  • Management of cultural diversity. Cultural expression, values, multiculturalism and diversity in the democratic context.

Does the empathy map activate classroom management? The empathy map is intended to understand the concerns, desires and desires of students, obtaining information through observation, dialogue and analysis of the context around them. Know the classroom as a team, to intervene in the welfare of students and to optimize the commitment and productivity of the teaching-learning process.

Purpose of the Study

To ensure that students become aware of the sense of the Master's experience, of the evolution from the initial uncertainty to a feeling of self-confidence, intervention in the classroom of the teaching activity is necessary. The implementation of the empathy map in the classroom becomes a way for students to perceive that it is the center of the teaching-learning process and also an initial route for classroom management by the teacher.

From the goal, implementing the empathy map to activate classroom management, as a general objective, four specific objectives are derived that indicate the way forward:

  • Prepare a synthesis of the conceptual framework that underpins the empathy map as a tool to activate classroom management.

  • Describe the action design and implementation in the classroom of the empathy map.

  • Analyze the students' perceptions about the experience of the teaching-learning process in the Master.

  • Analyze the impact of the analysis of the data obtained from the concept map in the classroom management.

The empathy map has the purpose of better understanding the classroom, of facilitating social relationships, obtaining information through the students' opinions about their perceptions, dialoguing about the surrounding context: needs, concerns, frustrations, desires and aspirations. Understanding students better means being able to intervene in the classroom to meet needs and solve problems.

Research Methods

Population and Sample Under Study

The population under study is formed by the students of the Master in Compulsory Secondary Education, Baccalaureate, Vocational Training and Language, Artistic and Sports Education, taught at the Faculty of Education of the University of Zaragoza, during the 2018/2019 academic year. The Master's Degree consists of 18 specialties, the selected sample is formed by the students enrolled in the Professional Training specialty of the families of Administration, Commerce, Hospitality, Computer Science and Labor Training and Orientation.

The population under study is formed by the students of the Master in Compulsory Secondary Education, Baccalaureate, Vocational Training and Language, Artistic and Sports Education, taught at the Faculty of Education of the University of Zaragoza, during the 2018/2019 academic year. The Master consists of 18 specialties, the selected sample is formed by the students enrolled in the Professional Training specialty of the families of Administration, Commerce, Hospitality, Computer Science and Labor Training and Orientation (FOL).

The sample size consists of 30 students, in the gender distribution, 70% are women and 30% are men. The age range of enrollments ranges from 26 to 56 years, with the range of 30 to 50 years being the most numerous, adding up to 70%. The majority of the students have accessed the Master's degree through previous studies in Law, Economics, Business, Labor Relations, Marketing, Social Work and Tourism.

Qualitative Methodology: The Empathy Map

For effective classroom management, this research proposes the implementation of the empathy map, with the aim of analyzing the sequence of the way of thinking, feeling and acting of graduates who return to the classroom in a context of uncertainty, not control the variables of success or failure in obtaining the Master's degree, where students form a heterogeneous group by reaching a difference of thirty years in the age range and diversity in studies of access to the Master.

The empathy map is the proposal of teaching innovation to initiate a communication based on active listening, to identify frustrations, needs and aspirations, to analyze the rational and emotional dimensions of students, individually and in groups. The ultimate goal of implementing the empathy map is based on obtaining data for effective classroom management.

The empathy map as a research methodology, provides a systematic procedure for obtaining data, and whose analysis will help and guide the teacher's leadership to manage the classroom learning climate and for innovation in the design of teaching methodologies and activities. The empathy map as a turning point to start classroom management, to activate students in the self-evaluation of their learning experience in the Master, to express their feelings and finally to intervene in the behavior of students towards proactive learning.

Where does the empathy map come from? The empathy map is a current tool in marketing, very useful to understand the problems and needs of customers, with the aim of guiding the products or services to the customer. The empathy map has become one of the successful techniques of the design thinking methodology (Mootee, 2014), it has also become an essential tool in the Business Model Canvas (Osterwalter & Pigneur, 2016), disseminated in the manual "Generation of business models".

Can the empathy map be applied to the educational field? Marketing and education have in common the objective of analyzing people and influencing their behaviors. Knowing the age, sex and studies of access to the Master is insufficient if you want to guide the didactics to the quality of the teaching-learning process of the student body. The empathy map is the way to initiate deeper knowledge, obtain information on the way students think, feel and act. Following the logic of Zuboff (2019), we would try to direct each student through external stimuli, in addition to predicting behaviors, classroom management consists in triggering behaviors favorable to learning.

The empathy map design is based on a template with six sections (Figure 01 ), each of the sections integrates questions related to the students' way of thinking, feeling and acting. The empathy map applied to education consists in activating social or emotional intelligence (Goleman, 2016) and activating the metacognitive capacity of students (Mayor, 1996) to begin the process of learning to learn.

When and how do I implement the empathy map? In the first class at the beginning of the second semester of the 2018/29019 course, the brainstorming technique (Osborn, 1979), revealed that the teaching activity should intervene in the perceptions of the teaching-learning process of the students. The intervention begins with the design and implementation of the empathy map, an activity lasting thirty minutes and structured in two phases:

  • Individual work. Completion of the template, as described in Figure 1 , metacognitive activity where each student reflects on the perception of the environment and personal learning experience in the Master.

  • Group-classroom work: The template is projected on the board to share and write the opinions, filling in all the blocks of questions.

Figure 1: Empathy map (Source: Osterwalter & Pigneur, 2016)
Empathy map (Source: Osterwalter & Pigneur,
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The empathy map technique begins its process under the normative assumption that all students have in common aspirations, needs and frustrations, from these three vectors, the empathy map generates six qualitative questions (Figure 01 ) to access to know the student:

  • What does each student think and feel about the learning experience in the Master? Find out what moves students, their real concerns, even if they don't verbalize explicitly, find out what matters. Students must express their interests, concerns and aspirations.

  • What does each student see? Describe the social environment and the partners that influence you.

  • What do you hear? Difference between listening to the family and their peers. Find out what media each student uses in listening: in the classroom, in digital social networks.

What does he say and do? Observe the behavior in the classroom of each student, their presence and ways of behaving, what verbalizes, observe what their social networks are (with the people who speak), distinguish between what they say, do and what they really think. Find out what is truly important for each student.

  • What efforts do you make? Discover fears and how you verbalize them. Know the elements and obstacles that produce fear and frustration, the barriers and difficulties that must be overcome. The objective is to design an intervention aimed at overcoming them, designing strategies to achieve their objectives.

  • What are the results you expect to get? It is the engine that is born from the inner strength of each student, the meaning of success. Know the objectives, needs and desires. Know the means used to achieve the objectives.

The empathy map process provides the necessary information to meet the students and thus manage the classroom, the data obtained allow the investigation to be operationalized and finally verify the research hypotheses: The implementation of the empathy map, a didactic tool to persuade the students towards a proactive attitude and start the management of the classroom in the teaching-learning process.


According to Organic Law 2/2006, of May 3, on Education, with the modifications introduced in Organic Law 8/2013, of December 9, for the Improvement of Educational Quality, students are the center of the teaching process -learning, the work of teachers must organize the classroom to implement the teaching-learning process, a space where the student becomes the protagonist of his process, with autonomy and responsibility, building significant learning in the development of talents and competences.

The implementation of the empathy map in the classroom provides two ways of knowledge, to obtain data to meet students and also for the design of teaching work:

  • Meet the students. Activate the metacognitive capacity in students, an exercise of intrapersonal intelligence, for the awareness and verbalization of feelings, attitudes and behaviors before the experience lived in the Master, a self-evaluation of the way of understanding and interpreting the context.

Classroom Management. Activate the empathy in the teaching staff, to understand the students and manage the climate and human resources of the classroom, create a collaborative team: discover the needs of each student, the reasoning processes, the way of understanding learning, the relationship between thinking , feel and act, the ability to learn.

Knowing the students: cognitive dissonance

At the beginning of the second semester the teacher knows the data of the segmentation of the classroom in relation to age, gender and previous studies of access to the Master, information necessary but insufficient for the management of the classroom. The classroom management includes integrating the emotional, social interaction, curricular and cultural diversity spaces to activate the quality teaching-learning process.

In relation to the perceptions of the students, the tabulation of the expressions on the way of feeling, thinking and acting (Table 01 ), allow to obtain the frequencies that reveal what the attitude towards learning, the classroom and the experience lived in the Master.

Table 1 -
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Also, the objective of classroom management pursues coexistence, through training in communicative, emotional and social skills, so that each student gets involved and acquires the necessary commitment to form a team, turning the classroom into a collaborative work space and cooperative The communicative interaction, according to the results of the empathy map, reveals the student's mood and behavior:

As the results of the empathy map reflect, the student's mood is insecure and critical, a spontaneous predisposition to the stimuli of difficulties and problems they perceive in the Master. 90% expose a negative attitude, a feeling of defeat to the teaching-learning process and therefore uncertainty in achieving the objective of obtaining the Master's degree.

However, in the face of stimuli that produce negative feelings, 95% of the students respond with proactive behavior, oriented to the effort of doing the work, class attendance and even have the perception that the Master is a satisfactory experience.

Through the empathy map, students have evaluated their interaction with the Master, spontaneously expressed their perceptions and attitudes integrating the dimensions, cognitive, affective and behavioral (Morales, Rebolloso, & Moya, 1994). Visual, auditory and cognitive stimuli lead students to form negative feelings, related to fear, frustration, sadness, hopelessness and even anger, so they express themselves and communicate, creating a tense classroom atmosphere of distrust and insecurity.

Empathy map data reveals an inconsistency between feelings and behaviors, feelings are negative and behaviors are positive. This tension generates a mental state of cognitive dissonance in the majority of students (Festinger, 1975) by generating the perception of incompatibility between two simultaneous cognitions, between how the teaching-learning process should be and how it is said process in reality.

What role do negative feelings and negative attitude fulfill? Feelings are blocks of data about the desires, values and needs of each student, it is the emotional component that guides the attitude and guides the behavior (Bisquerra, 2009). The students react with negative attitudes towards the experience in the Master, project a defensive function of adaptation to the environment, to minimize the conflict, also activate an interested attitude, as a strategy to pave the way in obtaining the Master's degree.

Classroom management: teacher persuasion

Cognitive dissonance is the response of students to the stimulus of experience in the Master's Degree after completing the first semester. The state of cognitive-affective dissonance in students is the inconsistency between feelings, thoughts and final behavior. The teacher must intervene to achieve a change in attitude and to achieve cognitive consistency.

The common denominator in the management of the four spaces of the classroom is the persuasive communication of the teacher (Roiz, 1996) so that each student gets to engage in a rational process of a planned behavior:

Emotional space management. Teachers have the intrinsic motivation of students to get the degree, and must create images and messages of an attractive destination, define emotionally achievable objectives to justify the effort that must be made in the teaching-learning process. Enthusiasm is the message of persuasion in learning a positive attitude, changing the way of thinking and acting, to drive the transition from the need for immediate satisfaction to the self-regulation of learning.

Social interaction space management. To deal with uncertainty and ambiguity, teaching must rely on a normative system. The teaching guides of the subjects present the formative or continuous evaluation, an evaluation system that tries to move away from the cognitive process based on remembering and repeating information, it is possible to combine knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes. The work of the teaching staff is to develop the retributive mentality, through the design of activities and methodologies that value the effort and the path. According to Cuevas (2016), unleashing judgment and responsibility so that the student acquires confidence in commitment and enthusiasm, reduces cognitive dissonance and recomposes a coherent image of the Master's experience.

Management of the curriculum space. Given the effects of overwhelming and overwhelming workload, in the European Higher Education Area the training processes are expressed in terms of competences (Cano, 2015), entail a profound change in the way of learning, students become in the responsible of its formation and implies a more active role, with less master classes and greater importance to the realization of autonomous and team work, in the construction of knowledge. The teaching-learning process divided into small objectives and content units mobilize small achievements and positive behaviors that allow reaching the goal of obtaining the title of the Master.

Management of cultural diversity. Presence of democratic values to face inequality due to economic, geographical, gender and cultural factors, to form a critical and responsible citizenship. Establish a cognitive congruence between the values of the Master and the values of society.

The four dimensions that integrate classroom management are activated socially, through the interaction of students and the teacher, turning the climate in the classroom into the space of the next development zone (Vigotsky, 2010) of the teaching-learning process. Attitudes and knowledge are acquired and socially elaborated. The strength of the group emerges from the cooperation between the students and the teacher's leadership, stimulating different points of view, spreading behaviors to activate the development of knowledge.


In the return to the classrooms of university graduates, to study the Master, there is the irrational idea of the predisposition of students to attend and follow the teaching classes with attention. It is also assumed, in this new age of learning, that students have acquired the necessary skills to learn to learn.

After a few months, students express demotivation, lack of orientation, excessive work and difficulties in learning skills, causes that generate a negative attitude towards the experience of the teaching-learning process.

To confront this conflict that generates emotional wear, demotivation, perception of wasted time and learning difficulties, the teaching activity has decided to intervene by implementing, as an innovation, the empathy map. The general objective is to activate classroom management through the implementation of the empathy map.

The empathy map is the way to initiate a communication based on active listening, to identify the frustrations, needs and aspirations of the students. Also, a way of analyzing the sequence of thinking, feeling and acting, to intervene in triggering proactive attitudes and behaviors, favorable to learning.

The tabulation of the data obtained in the empathy map indicates that 90% of the students express a negative feeling towards the learning experience, before this stimulus 95% of the students respond with a behavior oriented to the effort of doing the work. The stimulus-response data reveal a mental state of cognitive dissonance, as a defensive function of adaptation to the environment, to pave the way in obtaining the Master's degree.

To achieve cognitive consistency, a change in attitude, teacher leadership must be oriented towards communicative persuasion in classroom management. Classroom management is structured in the integration of four dimensions to achieve a learning-oriented classroom climate: emotional space, social interaction space, curricular space and cultural diversity space.

The final results of the research demonstrate the adaptability of the empathy map to the educational field, the current tool in marketing and business can be implemented in the initial management of the classroom, building proactive attitudes in the students to influence the quality of the process of teaching-learning.


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27 May 2020

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Teacher training, bullying, child abuse, abusive relationship, neglected child, neglected teenager, cognitive psychology

Cite this article as:

Salvador, J. C., Laborda, J. L. A., & Rabanos, N. L. (2020). Manage The Classroom, Manage The Teaching-Learning Process. In C. Salavera, P. Teruel, & J. L. Antoñanzas (Eds.), Observatory for Research and Innovation in Social Sciences, vol 84. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 136-147). European Publisher.