One’s beliefs influence
working and learning, and teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching
influence their instructional decisions and practices. Most of the studies that
have been conducted agreed that in general education studies, teaching is a
cognitive activity and that teachers’ beliefs greatly impact their
instructional decisions in the classroom (Shavelson, & Stern, 1981;
Many studies have explicated
aspects of teaching practice which affecting the classroom learning
effectiveness and student achievements. Borg (2003) suggests, “teachers
are active, thinking decision-makers who make instructional choices by drawing
on complex practically-oriented, personalized, and context-sensitive networks
of knowledge, thoughts, and beliefs”. But the challenge is are teachers
capable in making effective professional instructional decisions and practices.
According to Johnson (1994)
educational research on teachers’ beliefs shares three basic assumptions: (1)
Teachers’ beliefs influence perception and judgment. (2) Teachers’ beliefs play
a role in how information on teaching is translated into classroom practices.
(3) Understanding teachers’ beliefs is essential to improving teaching
practices and teacher education programs.
2.1 Teachers’ Beliefs
Different researchers gave
different definitions for beliefs. For example, Pajares (1992) reviewed a
literature of beliefs and reported that beliefs were defined in most studies as
a ‘conceptual tool’. He defined belief as an “individual”s judgment of the
truth or falsity of a proposition, a judgment that can only be inferred from a
collective understanding of what human beings say, intend, and do”.
One of the factors that are
believed to influence the implementation and establishment of new activities in
the classroom is teacher beliefs (Binghimlas & Hanrahan, 2010). According
to Pajares (1992), the investigation of teacher beliefs is a necessary way of
educational inquiry for research and education. Being able to identify and
describe the influence of teacher beliefs on instructional actions would deepen
and enrich our understanding of the teaching process (Aguirre & Speer,
Several studies have examined
the relationship between teachers’ beliefs and their practices in the
classroom. According to Aguirre and Speer (2000), current definitions of
teacher beliefs found in the education literature focus on how teachers think
about the nature of teaching and learning. In this context, beliefs are defined
as “conceptions” (Thompson, 1992), worldviews, and “mental models” that shape
learning and teaching practices (Ernest, 1989). Standen (2002) stated that
beliefs can be classified in terms of personal assumptions about relationships,
knowledge and society; professional beliefs about teaching and learning; and
beliefs about change and development.
Yero (2002) states, if
teachers believe a program they have been told to use is based on a solid
foundation, and if the program is based on beliefs similar to their own, they
will notice ways in which the program works. If they believe it is a waste of time,
they will notice evidence supporting that belief.
A study by Lacorte and Canabal
(2005), concerns the relevance of the perceptions and attitudes that teachers
bring with them into the classroom. Ernest (1989) argued that the autonomy of
the teacher depended on three factors:
teacher’s intellectual contents, particularly the systems of beliefs concerning
the nature of teaching and learning;
social context of the teaching situation, particularly the constraints and
opportunities it provides; and
teacher’s level of thought processes and reflections.
2.2 Teaching Attitude
Two important factors that
affect teacher factors in education, pedagogy and attitude, influence much of
what happens in science instruction and the resulting student learning (Shrigley, 1983; Tobin, Tippins, &
Attitude means the
individual’s prevailing tendency to respond favorably or unfavorably to an
object (person or group of people, institutions or events). Attitudes can be
positive (values) or negative (prejudice). Attitudes determine what individual
will see, hear, think and do and they are rooted in experience and do not
become automatic routine conduct (Souza-Barros & Elia, 1997).
2.3 Classroom Practices
knowledge and actual practice may diverge not only among countries but also
teachers within a country. Johnson et.al (2007) in their study of teacher
effectiveness and student achievement in science demonstrated that effective
teachers positively impact student learning and found that effective teaching
increases student achievement and closes achievement gaps for all students.
On the other side, Judson
(2006) states that there are some inconsistencies between teachers’ beliefs
about instructional practice and their actual teaching.