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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    Feb 21 2013: Beliefs unconsciously drive all action so why would teaching be excluded?
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    Feb 21 2013: As teaching strategies are a choice in the moment based on judging the needs of the student(s) at hand, how could beliefs (about what might be effective for a particular student) not influence teaching strategy?
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    Mar 20 2013: You are welcome Annaliza. Since you are a teacher, you are on the right way to ask this question here. My favorite teacher once told me that the best way to learn a subject is to teach it. I can now appreciate the value of that advice.
    Learning is an internal process and it cannot be induced. A great teacher facilitates the learning by participating in the process in a meaningful way. Beliefs certainly influence teaching practices so please believe that through teaching you are relearning the subject each time. Believe you are not a master, you are a facilitator.
    I wish you all the best.
  • 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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    Feb 23 2013: Annaliza, In order to provide you with a meaningful answer ... Could you define "personal beliefs"

    Thanks. Bob.
    • Mar 20 2013: Thank you, this is the definition according to Schomme: personal epistemologies are personal theories, conceptions, or beliefs about knowledge and knowing. These beliefs affect or mediate knowledge acquisition and knowledge constrution processes.
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        Mar 20 2013: Wow. If Marlene talked like that all the time I bet it really limited her dating LOL. As I understand it she made a learning line. On one end (Naive) beliefs support basic level thinking. On the other end (sophisticated) students have strong beliefs in complex tentative knowledge that is derived from reason and evidence. To label the ends of a contimum as naive and sophisticatred is judgemental.

        However, that may be possible if you specify the domains and further isolate the materials although that is highly improbable over the general spectrum of learning.

        Edmund Gettier stated that we have two large pools ... truths and beliefs and if you ovelap them there is a mutual area which we call knowledge. Using this .. then beliefs are a foundation in the acquisation of knowledge. Hard to teach dancing when you were raised that dancing is wrong.

        In the US the government and book publishers have solved the strategy problem. They give you the text, teachers guide, a schedule, a test and you follow it. You are not a teacher with thoughts and training. You teach the test. Further you are evaluated on the test results of the students.

        Deep stuff for a country bumpkin like me.

        I wish you well. Bob.
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    Feb 23 2013: The best example is Khan Academy. Salman believed that it was possible to teach subjects/topics without being tied down within any curriculum and he created no less than a revolution. Teaching practice and teaching philosphy are two entirely different matter. Any person who is unable to keep separate his personal beliefs regarding a topic being taught and presents it as academic consensus, is not a teacher but a preacher.
    • Feb 26 2013: I agree that teaching practice and teaching philosophy are entirely different. Thank you very much
    • Mar 20 2013: Thank you so much
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    Feb 22 2013: I agree with others that personal beliefs about teaching can and should influence teaching practices. It's my opinion that teachers' personal beliefs about the material should be used carefully, however. Passion for the subject and personal stories can make teaching really stick, but it can also risk imposing a belief system on students, rather than allowing them to develop their own.
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    Gail .

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    Feb 22 2013: Of course. It can be no other way.

    Take a teacher who believes that the "child" or "student" is inferior, and it is their job to sit and learn.

    Compare that with a teacher who believes that there is as much a teacher can learn from students as there is that students can learn from teachers. A teacher who strives to unfold each child's recognition of his or her potential.

    Which class would you rather be in?
    • Mar 20 2013: sorry for late reply, In our school most of our class are heterogeneous type. I observed that teachers focus more on the superior students in terms of academics performance. I believed that as a teacher we should exert more effort for those striving student to accomplish something in their academics.