On the Frontline: Exploring the Perceptions of Lahore’s Inner-city School Teachers Regarding Children Problems

  • Nazish IMRAN Dept. of Child & Family Psychiatry, King Edward Medical University/Mayo Hospital, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Atif RAHMAN Institute of Psychology, Health & Society, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • Nakhshab CHAUDHRY Dept. of Basic Sciences, King Edward Medical University, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Aftab ASIF Dept. of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, King Edward Medical University/Mayo Hospital, Lahore, Pakistan
Keywords: Qualitative, Teachers, Child behavior problems, School mental health promotion, School, Children


Background: We aimed to explore inner city school teachers’ perceptions of problems faced in schools, it causes and role of schools and teachers in promoting child social and emotional well-being, using qualitative approach. Methods: Following ethical approval and informed consent, In-depth interviews were conducted in 2017 with twenty teachers belonging to four private schools in inner city area of Provincial capital, Lahore, Pakistan. Inclusion criteria were at least 12 years of formal education and minimum of 5 years’ experience in teaching profession. Framework Analysis was used to analyze data. Results: Teachers identified learning problems, inattention, disobedience, aggression, lying & disrespect as the most commonly encountered problems of children, with very few teachers mentioning emotional difficulties. Teachers view the family, parenting practices and home environment alongside media (in particular social media) as being the main causes of child behavioral problems. With prompts, however, they did identify various school and teacher-related factors having negative impact on children. Fair conceptualization of good school and good teacher was observed. Need for teacher awareness and training for strategies promoting child emotional and social wellbeing was highlighted. Conclusion: As perceived by teachers, children studying in inner city schools have several behaviour problems. Study results and the gaps identified will help in ensuring that teachers receive training targeted towards their needs. Findings of the study also substantiate the need for targeting whole school-wide preventive approach as efforts begin to implement school mental health initiative in Pakistan.    


1. Santor D, Short K, Ferguson B (2009). Tak-ing mental health to school: A policy-oriented paper on school-based mental health for Ontario. http://www.excellenceforchildandyouth.ca/sites/default/files/position_sbmh.pdf
2. Severson HH, Walker HM, Hope-Doolittle J et al (2007). Proactive, early screening to detect behaviorally at-risk students: Is-sues, approaches, emerging innovations, and professional practices. J Sch Psychol, 45(2):193-223.
3. Graham A, Phelps R, Maddison C, Fitzger-ald R(2011). Supporting children’s mental health in schools: Teacher views. Teachers and Teaching, 17(4):479-96.
4. Athanasiou MS, Geil M, Hazel CE, Copeland EP (2002). A look inside school-based consultation: A qualitative study of the beliefs and practices of school psychologists and teachers. Sch Psychol Q, 7(3):258-298.
5. Crone DA, Horner RH (2000). Contextual, conceptual, and empirical foundations of functional behavioral assessment in schools. Exceptionality, 8(3):161-72.
6. Walker SO, Plomin R (2005). The nature–nurture question: Teachers’ perceptions of how genes and the environment influ-ence educationally relevant behaviour. Educ Psychol, 25(5):509-16.
7. Nungesser NR, Watkins RV (2005). Pre-school teachers’ perceptions and reac-tions to challenging classroom behavior: Implications for speech-language pathologists. Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch, 36(2):139-51.
8. Gottfredson GD, Gottfredson DC (2001). What schools do to prevent problem be-havior and promote safe environments. J Educ Psychol Cons, 12(4):313-44.
9. Manual of school mental Health (2014) World Health Organization, Eastern Mediterranean Regional office.
10. Creswell JW (1998). Five qualitative traditions of inquiry. Qualitative inquiry and re-search design: Choosing among five tra-ditions. 65-6. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage,
11. Gale NK, Heath G, Cameron E, Rashid S, Redwood S (2013). Using the framework method for the analysis of qualitative data in multi-disciplinary health research. BMC Med Res Methodol, 13:117.
12. Adhikari RP, Upadhaya N, Gurung D et al (2015). Perceived behavioral problems of school aged children in rural Nepal: a qualitative study. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health, 9: 25.
13. Alisauskas A, Simkiene G (2013). Teachers’ experiences in educating pupils having behavioural and / or emotional prob-lems. Special Education,1(28): 62–72.
14. Vijayalakshmi K, Kumar CV, Rajamanickm H, Cherian A (2007). Child rearing prac-tices and psychological problems of chil-dren. Nursing and Midwifery Research Journal, 3(2): 49-56.
15. Bharati S, Takao H (2010). Schooling: knowledge, perception and practices of parents. J Educ Res, 2:44–51.
16. Dutton Tillery A, Varjas K, Meyers J, Collins AS(2010). General education teachers’ perceptions of behavior management and intervention strategies. J Posit Behav Interv, 12(2): 86-102.
17. Spence S, Burns J, Boucher S et al (2005). The beyond blue Schools Research Initia-tive: conceptual framework and interven-tion. Australas Psychiatry, 13(2): 159-64.
18. Nelson JR, Martella RM, Marchand-Martella N (2002). Maximizing student learning the effects of a comprehensive school-based program for preventing problem behaviors. J Emot Behav Disord, 10(3): 136-48.
19. Sugai G, Horner R (2002). The evolution of discipline practices: School-wide positive behavior supports. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 24(1-2): 23-50.
20. Mashburn AJ, Henry GT (2004). Assessing school readiness: Validity and bias in pre-school and kindergarten teachers' ratings. Educational Measurement: Issues and Prac-tice.23(4): 16-30.
How to Cite
IMRAN N, RAHMAN A, CHAUDHRY N, ASIF A. On the Frontline: Exploring the Perceptions of Lahore’s Inner-city School Teachers Regarding Children Problems. IJPH. 47(10):1537-45.
Original Article(s)