This set of resources is designed to help educators examine their beliefs about student learning and how those beliefs affect their interactions with students.
The attitudes and beliefs of educators explicitly and implicitly affect their interactions with students, and influence their students’ beliefs about themselves and their abilities to learn. We know that “Teachers want students to learn, and many make an effort to be particularly responsive to racially and ethnically diverse students” (Hawley). However, because of the complexity of individual experiences, biases, and perceptions, positive intentions do not ensure positive outcomes for students. Sometimes we are not aware of unintended outcomes or impacts of beliefs that we hold: “Many of the beliefs we hold and lessons we are taught about racially and ethnically diverse students and how best to facilitate their learning have positive effects. Others, however, while seemingly sensible and well-intended, can have negative consequences” (Hawley). “without addressing the underlying deficit beliefs influencing educators’ behavior, providing “high-quality” or “research-based” professional development does little to change practice...” (Guerra, 2009).
Educator beliefs should be examined in order to:
The activities in this action will have educators examine their beliefs by responding to a survey in which they provide responses to common education situations and then that information is collected anonymously. By reflecting on the responses, the participants may challenge and possibly change their beliefs in ways that are more supportive of equitable learning. Also, having a shared understanding of the beliefs of colleagues may enhance the effectiveness of collaborative work in developing a standards-based system. The products of the analysis of the beliefs survey will be utilized in the culminating action of this strategy, the development of a vision for instruction and curriculum
The portal provides an activity to help plan and conduct an examination of educator beliefs.
Guerra, P.L., & Nelson, S.W. (2009). Changing professional practice requires changing beliefs, Phi Delta Kappan, 90(5), 354-359.
Hawley, W., Jordan Irvine, J., & Landa, M. (n.d.). Common beliefs survey: teaching racially and ethnically diverse students. In Teaching Tolerance. Retrieved from https://www.tolerance.org/professional-development/common-beliefs-survey-teaching-racially-and-ethnically-diverse-students