09 SES 07 A, Teacher Characteristics and Practices – Exploring Relations to Student-, School- and System-level Variables
Teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching can affect students’ learning (Darling-Hammond, 1998) and constructivist beliefs are ones positively contributing to students’ achievement (e.g. Staub & Stern, 2002). Students’ learning is also influenced by teachers’ practices (Hattie, 2003) which are shown to hinge on teachers’ beliefs, besides other important factors (OECD, 2014). According to Guskey (2002), professional development aims at changing classroom practices of teachers, their beliefs and attitudes and students’ learning outcomes, hence these aspects are inevitably interconnected and cannot be considered separate of each other. Understanding of interplay between them is even more challenging in the context of countries that have faced post-socialist transformation. Such a transformation posed new demands before education systems characterized by authoritarian and teacher-centered learning, overloaded and centrally mandated curricula, insufficient attention to the quality and nature of individual student learning etc. (Silova & Bray, 2006). Teachers in post-socialist countries had to reorient their beliefs and practices towards creating knowledge, learner-centred processes, innovative changes, taking responsibility for outcomes even if they initially appeared uncertain, problem-solving activities (Zogla, 2006).
TALIS study shows that majority of teachers reported holding constructivist beliefs and seeing learning as a student-centred process (94% reported 3 or 4 on four degree Likert scale). It also shows that two out of three items that are the most informative about teachers’ beliefs are 1) involving small groups and 2) projects taking longer than a week. Further, results show that teachers (in many countries) who participated in professional development are more likely to report frequent use of these active teaching practices. Finding that 12% of variance in teachers’ constructivist beliefs is still accounted for at country level, opens the space for consideration of differences in constructivist beliefs between countries with similar economic and historical background but with different learning outcomes (percentage of students below PISA math level 2 of achievement) (OECD, 2014). Additionally, it opens the space for relating these differences to their correlates - teaching practices and teachers’ professional development.
Since teachers’ beliefs, teachers’ practices, teachers’ professional development and students’ outcomes are dynamically intertwined, and given that TALIS 2013 results provide insights in these phenomena, we find that, by secondary analysis of TALIS 2013 data, wider understanding of this dynamic relationship across post-socialist countries could be established. Hence, purpose of this paper is to consider and compare teachers’ constructivist beliefs (constructivist beliefs about teaching and learning - TCONSBS) across similar educational post-socialistic systems participating in TALIS in relation to students' learning outcomes. In doing so, effective professional development (extent to which professional development included cooperation, active learning methods, collaborative activities, extended time-period - TEFFPROS) and teaching practices (involving small groups to come up with a joint solution to a problem - TT2G42B; Students work on projects that require at least one week to complete - TT2G42G) are taken into consideration along with history of implementation of professional development policies in chosen countries.
Additionally, selection of variables for the comparative analysis follows the findings that beliefs arise from the experience and/or authority (Nespor, 1987; Rokeach, 1968). Further teachers’ practice is more likely to change as teachers participate in professional communities which support struggle involved in transforming practice (Putnam & Borko, 2000), and also the association between students’ outcomes and teachers’ beliefs is mediated by teachers’ instructional behaviour (Woolfolk Hoy, Davis & Pape, 2006).
Darling-Hammond, L. (1998), “Teachers and teaching: Testing policy hypotheses from a national commission report”, Educational Researcher, Vol. 27/1, pp. 5-15. Enachescu, V.A. (2011). Managing Decentralization of the Romanian Educational System, Review of International Comparative Management, 12 (2) European Commission. (2013). Education in Estonia. Retrieved January 2, 2016, from https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/education-estonia_en Guskey, T. R. (2002). Professional development and teacher change. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 8(3), 381-391. Hattie, J. (2003). Teachers make a difference: what is the research evidence? (p. 4). Melbourne: Australian Council for Educational Research. Jakubowski, M. Patrinos, H.A., Porta, E.E., & Wisniewski, J. (2010). The impact of the 1999 Education Reform in Poland (The World bank Policy Research Paper 5263). Washington: The World Bank Kovács-Cerović, T. (2006). National report: Serbia. The Prospects of Teacher Education in South-east Europe. Ljubljana: Centre for Educational Policy Studies, University of Ljubljana. Ministry of Education of Estonia (2001). The Development of Education. National Report of Estonia, International Bureau of Education, retrieved from: http://www.ibe.unesco.org/International/ICE/natrap/Estonia.pdf Nespor, J. (1987). The role of beliefs in the practice of teaching. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 19(4), 317–328. OECD (2014), Talis 2013 Results: An International Perspective on Teaching and Learning, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264196261-en Pavin, T., Vizek Vidović, V., & Miljević-Riđički, R. (2006). National report–Croatia. The prospects of teacher education in South-East Europe, 251-287. Putnam, R. T., & Borko, H. (2000). What do new views of knowledge and thinking have to say about research on teacher learning?. Educational researcher, 4-15. Rokeach, M. (1968). Belief, attitudes, and values: A theory of organization and change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Schroeder, S., Richter, T., McElvany, N., Hachfeld, A., Baumert, J., Schnotz, W., Horz, H. & Ullrich, M. (2011). Teachers’ beliefs, instructional behaviors, and students’ engagement in learning from texts with instructional pictures. Learning and Instruction, 21(3), 403-415. Silova, I., & Bray, M. (2006). The context: Societies and education in the post-socialist transformation. Education in a hidden marketplace: monitoring of private tutoring, 41. Vescio, V., Ross, D. and Adams. A. (2008). A review of research on the impact of professional learning communities on teaching practice and student learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24, 80-91. Woolfolk Hoy, A., Davis, H., & Pape, S. J. (2006). Teacher knowledge and beliefs. Handbook of educational psychology, 2, 715-738. Zogla, I. (2006). Leading educators' relearning in a post-Soviet country.Theory into practice, 45(2), 133-142.
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