Teachers’ Beliefs and Classroom Practices

Authored by: Simon Borg

The Routledge Handbook of Language Awareness

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138937048
eBook ISBN: 9781315676494
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315676494.ch6

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Abstract

Within the broader field of teacher cognition, the study of teachers’ beliefs has been a feature of educational research for more than 30 years, and for well over 20 years in the specific field of language teaching. Different motivations have driven the emergence and sustained growth of this work but two recurring justifications have been that studying beliefs allows us to better understand teachers and teaching and also facilitates educational reform (Skott, 2014). I would add that insights into teachers’ beliefs also contribute positively to the process of supporting teacher learning. In their overview, Phipps and Borg (2009) note that teachers’ beliefs:

may be powerfully influenced (positively or negatively) by teachers’ own experiences as learners and are well established by the time teachers go to university

act as a filter through which teachers interpret new information and experience

may outweigh the effects of teacher education in influencing what teachers do in the classroom

can exert a persistent long-term influence on teachers’ instructional practices

are, at the same time, not always reflected in what teachers do in the classroom

interact bi-directionally with experience (i.e. beliefs influence practices and practices can also lead to changes in beliefs)

influence how teachers react to educational change.

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