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Teacher, National Teachers College

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How personal beliefs influence teaching practices?

According to Schommer-Aikins beliefs unconsciously influence the selection of teaching strategy.


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  • Mar 19 2013: A belief is something we hold true; whether it is true or not. That said, all beliefs of an individual are personal. Beliefs of how we see the world around us, people we interact with, experiences in life, and even our perception of our spirituality all influence us as individuals. Within this concept we develop opinions and prejudices. These may either cloud or sharpen our awareness of reality. The question is, are we willing to have our beliefs challenged and allow ourselves to be open to the possibility of our beliefs being wrong?

    Decades ago, it was believed after having your appendix removed you had to stay in bed because your insides would fall out. We know decades later this 'belief' - as it was - was wrong. How does this influence teaching? If as educators, we are not willing to explore and challenge our beliefs, we force those we teach to 'believe' as educators are right without exception. However, if we engage our pupils to confront their beliefs, we teach them to challenge, not only themselves, but what they are taught.

    Most Americans were taught the Pilgrims found America. People dared to confront this belief; just like people confronted the belief the world was flat. What I find more often than not, educators don't want to be wrong. But if as educators we cant model the search for knowledge out of fear of our own fallibility, then why are we teaching? Isn't the objective to educate tomorrows generation in hopes they become better than us? I tell clients to model the behavior you want to see. Gandhi said,"Be the change you wish to see in the world." Without this concept, we would not have confronted slavery, segregation, or confronted genocide and war. People have had polar shifts in their ideas and beliefs simply because someone confronted them. Which in effect, that person became a teacher.

    As the Buddhist proverb says, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."
    • Mar 20 2013: Thank you very much, it helps me to broaden my understanding about the topic.

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