Teachers play an important role in pupils’ education and upbringing, encouragement of motivation and readiness for further learning, and getting pupils accustomed to studying and acquiring learning skills. They also play an important part in pupils’ personal development, establishing a cooperative relationship in the department and establishing an encouraging classroom atmosphere. Nowadays, we are facing constant challenges and changes in different areas of society and the teacher’s role is facing new challenges as well. This applies particularly to the teachers of combined classes, who must have adequate pedagogical, psychological, and professional knowledge. Due to the nature of their work, it is very important they are flexible, resourceful, and appropriately qualified for such work. In the research, we try to establish how the teachers evaluate their competence in teaching combined classes, how they faced the challenges and the trouble at the beginning of their combined class teaching, which teaching methods and forms they used, the criteria they applied for choosing them, and how they combined them. We try to determine how the teachers changed in the process of planning, choosing, and carrying out the teaching methods and which factors influenced these changes. We also try to determine if the teachers feel fully qualified to work in combined classes. In structured non-standardized interviews, we questioned twelve female teachers from different parts of Slovenia who have been teaching combined classes for at least five years. We determined what the teachers estimate to be the differences that have happened in their methodical competences through the years of teaching combined classes and the factors that affect these differences.
The research shows that the teachers had problems in choosing teaching methods and forms at the beginning of teaching in combined classes. They used the teaching methods and forms less knowingly and strategically in terms of their effect. Through the years of teaching, they have gained experience, broadened their knowledge, and started to combine the teaching methods and forms more knowingly and strategically. The teachers have improved both professionally and personally.