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Book part
Publication date: 26 October 2015

Pablo Fraser and Sakiko Ikoma

Amidst a worldwide concern with teacher quality, recent teacher reforms often focus on how to certify teachers, how to evaluate teachers, how to recruit the best and…

Abstract

Amidst a worldwide concern with teacher quality, recent teacher reforms often focus on how to certify teachers, how to evaluate teachers, how to recruit the best and brightest people to be teachers, and how to fire bad teachers. The political discourse of these policy reforms oftentimes depicts teachers as largely inactive transmitters of knowledge and does not recognize the agency they have in affecting standards. Yet, such a narrow framework may suppress teacher pedagogy, practices, and also teacher beliefs. In this chapter, we seek to understand the extent that two types of math teacher beliefs – traditional and constructivist orientations – are related to national cultural factors. In doing so, we test both “culturist” and “neo-institutional” hypotheses by observing how those beliefs vary across different nations.

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Promoting and Sustaining a Quality Teacher Workforce
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-016-2

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Book part
Publication date: 9 May 2017

Kieron Sheehy

The origin of this chapter lies in a presentation by a colleague whose work I admire. Drawing on their extensive experience, they have developed guidance for schools to…

Abstract

The origin of this chapter lies in a presentation by a colleague whose work I admire. Drawing on their extensive experience, they have developed guidance for schools to support children with special educational needs. Their conclusion was that teachers could adopt an eclectic approach, utilizing and combining different interventions as appropriate. The notion of utilizing different teaching approaches to facilitate inclusive education seemed accepted as unproblematic. However, I began to wonder about what happens when teaching approaches are based on conflicting views about the nature of how children learn. This led me to consider a more fundamental question. Do teachers’ own beliefs about how knowledge is created and how children develop (their personal epistemological beliefs) have an impact on their practice and children’s experiences in inclusive classrooms? Answering this question leads to the ethical issue of whether all ways of thinking about how children learn are compatible with teaching in inclusive schools, and the consequences that arise in seeking an answer.

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Ethics, Equity, and Inclusive Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-153-7

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2020

Olga Khokhotva and Iciar Elexpuru Albizuri

The study aims at exploring the perspective of three English as a Foreign Language teachers after their year-long involvement in the Lesson Study project in the context of…

Abstract

Purpose

The study aims at exploring the perspective of three English as a Foreign Language teachers after their year-long involvement in the Lesson Study project in the context of Kazakhstan in order to capture and list any perceived changes in teachers’ educational beliefs over the period of the Lesson Study intervention. The main argument of the study suggests that the school-based Lesson Study initiative is conducive to triggering changes in teachers’ educational beliefs, and thus, might lead to positive changes in school culture in Kazakhstani schools. Shaped following Hill et al., (1982) in Swales, 1990 hour-glass model of a research project (Swales, 1990), the article reflects the third concluding part of the Ph.D. thesis focusing on the implementation of the Lesson Study methodology in Kazakhstan.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopts the qualitative research design and follows the narrative inquiry methodology. The three narrative interviews (Bauer, 1996) are utilized as the main method of data collection. The data were analyzed as text following a general inductive approach (Thomas, 2003), where emerging themes were identified employing data reduction and further sub-categorized through the conceptual and theoretical lenses of the study. The emerged categories reflecting the perceived shifts in teachers’ educational beliefs were dialectically linked to implications for school culture in Kazakhstani schools.

Findings

As data suggest, the respondents’ active engagement in the Lesson Study professional learning community and exercising leadership through implementing changes in their classroom practice has made a positive impact on teachers’ rethinking their teaching practice, attitudes to students and their learning, collegiality, and professional self-identification. We conclude that, if organized properly, Lesson Study has enormous potential to facilitate changes of teachers’ educational beliefs: from direct transmission beliefs toward constructivist beliefs, from restricted professionals’ beliefs toward reflective practitioner beliefs and attitudes, toward beliefs in the power of student’s voice, and collaboration. Those shifts are linked to establishing a more positive, child-friendly and rights-based school culture with teachers’ shared visions and capacity for innovation.

Research limitations/implications

We acknowledge that the abundance of the reported positive changes or perceived shifts in teachers’ thinking might not be the indicators of actual changes in their beliefs. We emphasize that the study was carried in a controlled context, i.e. the three ELF teachers were constantly supported, and the teacher talk was systematically guided by a trained facilitator. Warned by Giroux et al. (1999), we are aware of the major challenge of the fundamental assumption of critical pedagogy that teachers are willing and able to undertake “the practice of analyzing their practice” (p. 27) voluntarily. Thus, the question remains open: if the facilitator’s support is eliminated, will the results point to the occurrence of the disruption and disorientation as a necessary condition for the beliefs change?

Originality/value

Carried out in the largely overlooked by the academic literature context of the Reform at Scale (Wilson et al., 2013) in Kazakhstan and building on the original combination of conceptual and theoretical lenses, the research contributes to the academic literature by connecting teachers’ educational beliefs, Lesson Study and school culture. The findings might be of value for the school leaders, educators, teacher trainers, and policymakers to advocate Lesson Study as a systematic approach to the whole-school improvement, as a tool to facilitate positive changes in school culture, as well as give impetus to studies employing the school culture perspective in developing Lesson Study impact evaluation tools.

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International Journal for Lesson & Learning Studies, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-8253

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Article
Publication date: 15 March 2013

Siebrich de Vries, Wim J.C.M. van de Grift and Ellen P.W.A. Jansen

Teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD) should improve teacher quality and teaching practices, though teachers vary in the extent to which they participate in…

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Abstract

Purpose

Teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD) should improve teacher quality and teaching practices, though teachers vary in the extent to which they participate in CPD activities. Because beliefs influence working and learning, and teachersbeliefs about learning and teaching influence their instructional decisions, this study aims to explore the link between teachersbeliefs about learning and teaching and their participation in CPD.

Design/methodology/approach

This study features two belief dimensions (student and subject matter orientation) and three types of CPD activities (updating, reflective, and collaborative). Survey data from 260 Dutch secondary school teachers were collected and analyzed using structural equation modeling.

Findings

Student‐oriented beliefs relate positively to teachers’ participation in CPD: the more student‐oriented teachers are, the more they participate in CPD. No relationship emerges between subject matter–oriented beliefs and CPD.

Practical implications

To intensify teachers’ participation in CPD and thereby improve teacher quality and teaching practices, schools should emphasize a student orientation among their teachers.

Originality/value

The original empirical study examines the relationship between teachersbeliefs about learning and teaching and their participation in CPD and thus furthers understanding of factors that influence teachers’ participation in CPD.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 51 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 29 April 2019

Mike Metz

The purpose of this study is to support the integration of scientifically grounded linguistic knowledge into language teaching in English Language Arts (ELA) classrooms…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to support the integration of scientifically grounded linguistic knowledge into language teaching in English Language Arts (ELA) classrooms through building an understanding of what teachers currently know and believe about language.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 310 high school English teachers in the USA responded to a survey about their language beliefs. Statistical analysis of responses identified four distinct constructs within their belief systems. Sub-scales were created for each construct, and hierarchical regressions helped identify key characteristics that predicted beliefs along a continuum from traditional/hegemonic to linguistically informed/counter-hegemonic.

Findings

Key findings include the identification of four belief constructs: beliefs about how language reveals speaker characteristics, beliefs about how society perceives language use, beliefs about how language should be treated in schools and beliefs about the English teacher’s role in addressing language use. In general, teachers expressed counter-hegemonic beliefs for their own role and their view of speaker characteristics. They expressed hegemonic beliefs for societal perceptions and the dominant school language narrative. Taking a linguistics class was associated with counter-hegemonic beliefs, and teaching longer was associated with more hegemonic beliefs.

Practical implications

The findings of this study suggest that the longer teachers teach within a system that promotes hegemonic language practices, the more they will align their own beliefs with those practices, despite having learned linguistic facts that contradict pervasive societal beliefs about language. The Dominant School Language Narrative currently accommodates, rather that disrupting, linguistic prejudice.

Originality/value

A current understanding of teachers’ language ideologies is a key step in designing teacher professional development to help align teaching practices with established linguistic knowledge and to break down a socially constructed linguistic hierarchy based on subjective, and frequently prejudicial, beliefs.

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English Teaching: Practice & Critique, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1175-8708

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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2019

Edgar Mayrhofer

The purpose of this paper is to show, from a theoretical perspective, how lesson study (LS) can initiate processes that have an effect on most fundamental teachers’ (and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show, from a theoretical perspective, how lesson study (LS) can initiate processes that have an effect on most fundamental teachers’ (and teacher–students’) personal beliefs which are the basis of a teacher’ interactions. On the basis of research referring to educational beliefs and good practice, the paper’s approach is to bring underlying beliefs into relation to Pierre Bourdieu’s sociocultural concept of the habitus. Awareness of these unconscious fundamentals is a requirement for improvement. Developing a professional habitus will allow inappropriate beliefs to be changed by informed knowledge. LS can support that.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a theoretical paper aiming at illustrating the potential of LS to initiate learning and reflection among teachers, and challenge and ultimately affect deep ranging beliefs. Guided by the idea that beliefs are not only a random collection acquired in a biography, the paper applies the Bourdieuian idea of habitus and field, suggesting habitus as the origin and source of beliefs and, therefore, ultimately of classroom practice. The paper defines LS as a tool in teacher education that has the potential to make teachers change inappropriate concepts by reflecting on their habitus and develop a more professional habitus.

Findings

Research agrees that teachers’ decisions and actions are strongly rooted in their unconscious beliefs, which have accumulated during their biographies, especially during their own school days whereas informed knowledge is neglected. The Bourdieuian theory of habitus is a heuristic concept that provides an integrative social perspective on beliefs as both a part and a result of a teacher’s habitus. Reflection on practice and teacher cooperation is essential for teacher learning. LS is an ideal setting providing these essentials, and the paper finds that the negative effects of habitus-rooted unconscious beliefs and practices can be affected by developing awareness through LS.

Originality/value

This paper aims at bringing together Bourdieu’s sociocultural theory of habitus and field, and LS. Inappropriate beliefs guiding practice can hinder informed knowledge on education to be integrated. An analysis of the habitus as the foundation of beliefs can create awareness of the effects resulting from biographical and social sources in both pre- and in-service teacher training. Rather than changing single beliefs, developing a professional habitus allows to integrate informed knowledge and affect a lasting change. The Bourdieuian approach opens up a new perspective of the capacity of LS and makes a relevant contribution in developing a professional habitus.

Details

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-8253

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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2019

Marie Lockton

How teachers collectively address conflicting beliefs about reforms and come to privilege some over others is critically important in understanding instructional change…

Abstract

Purpose

How teachers collectively address conflicting beliefs about reforms and come to privilege some over others is critically important in understanding instructional change and stability. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on in-depth qualitative data gathered in interviews and observations of teachers’ formal collaboration time, this study focuses on teacher dialogue to examine the voicing and debate of teachersbeliefs about reform efforts in their schools. Specifically, in two urban middle schools engaged in math instructional reforms, what are the conditions of teachers’ collaboration time that shape their dialogue about the feasibility of these reforms?

Findings

The findings reveal that the beliefs teachers voice vary widely depending on the topic of conversation. Teachers’ conversations about student achievement data and tracking elicited doubts about the possibility of instructional change, and conversations about other forms of student data and instructional strategies elicited a wider range of beliefs. Further, opportunities to meet with trusted colleagues as well as with wider groups provide teachers with different, but both useful experiences in exploring their own conflicting beliefs.

Practical implications

Avenues for shifting institutionalized beliefs about instruction in schools that have struggled to embrace equitable instructional practices for struggling students are discussed, along with implications for future research.

Originality/value

There is considerable research highlighting the characteristics of productive collaboration, but this paper provides a deeper understanding of the way teachers collectively negotiate beliefs about instructional changes in schools struggling to meet that mark.

Details

Journal of Professional Capital and Community, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-9548

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Article
Publication date: 24 January 2018

Mandie B. Dunn, Jennifer VanDerHeide, Samantha Caughlan, Laura Northrop, Yuan Zhang and Sean Kelly

The purpose of this paper is to report findings from a study of preservice teacher (PST) beliefs about teaching English language arts (ELA).

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report findings from a study of preservice teacher (PST) beliefs about teaching English language arts (ELA).

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was administered to 56 preservice secondary ELA teachers at three universities to measure their beliefs about curriculum, authority and competition in schools. This study explores the beliefs of 17 of these PSTs who participated in an additional interview following up on six of the survey responses.

Findings

Although the survey forced a choice between various levels of agreeing and disagreeing, interview responses revealed that PSTs wrestled with tensions in what they believed about instructional and curricular choices. When describing situations that influenced their beliefs, they referenced situations from field placements, coursework and their own experiences as students. These tensions reflected the PSTs’ internally conflicting beliefs across their perceived binaries of teaching English.

Originality/value

This study suggests that these beliefs are formed in part by experiences in teacher preparation programs, particularly in field placements. However, even though PSTs recognized their internally conflicting beliefs, they understood them and their subsequent actions as dichotomous, rather than on a continuum. This study has implications for teacher educators; by understanding PSTs’ tendencies to understand their beliefs in binaries, teacher educators can provide reflective opportunities for PSTs to problematize these dichotomies and look for teaching identities and practices that are more nuanced.

Details

English Teaching: Practice & Critique, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1175-8708

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Book part
Publication date: 25 March 2019

Marja-Kristiina Lerkkanen and Eija Pakarinen

The role of parental involvement in their child’s education and academic success has been widely acknowledged in recent educational theories, policies, and practices…

Abstract

The role of parental involvement in their child’s education and academic success has been widely acknowledged in recent educational theories, policies, and practices. Parental beliefs and expectations concerning their child’s learning and success have been shown to be reflected in the parents’ involvement in their child’s education and their practices with their offspring, thereby shaping the child’s motivational development in school. In addition, parental trust in their child’s teacher is a key factor in enhancing the home–school partnership and in supporting a child’s academic motivation and successful schooling. However, political, economical, and technological changes in society and uncertainty about the future may present several challenges for raising children in the twenty-first century. The aim of this chapter is to present recent theories and empirical research focusing on the role of parental beliefs, expectations, and trust in their child’s teacher in supporting children’s interest in learning, self-concept of ability, and achievement behaviors in the challenging and unpredictable future. We will also reflect on how the changing world and uncertainty in society may influence parental beliefs and expectations in their child’s success.

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Motivation in Education at a Time of Global Change
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-613-4

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Book part
Publication date: 12 September 2017

Kate Rollert French

Beliefs about teaching influence practice and can play a powerful role in the day-to-day decision-making of teachers. Pre-service teachers commonly accrue their original…

Abstract

Beliefs about teaching influence practice and can play a powerful role in the day-to-day decision-making of teachers. Pre-service teachers commonly accrue their original set of beliefs on teaching from teacher preparation programs or personal experiences, but unlike teachers with more experience, new teachers are more susceptible to changing their beliefs on teaching once they become official teachers of record. If these beliefs change in a negative way, such as by adopting a set of beliefs that views students through a deficit lens, or capable of achieving less than their privileged counterparts, then schools will continue to foster tendencies for social reproduction instead of tendencies for social justice. In urban schools, this increase in negative perceptions of students is even more common as new teachers face challenges that are less likely to occur in non-urban schools. Findings suggest that new teachers do change their beliefs during their first year, and that these beliefs often reflect the beliefs of trusted and close colleagues within their social networks. While some teachers experienced positive changes in their beliefs and teaching practices, other teachers experienced negative changes in their beliefs that unfavorably affected students. Most teachers were unaware of their belief changes, but offered explanations for how and why their beliefs could have changed without their noticing over the course of the study. Implications and possible directions for future research are discussed.

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The Power of Resistance
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-462-6

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