10 SES 05 A, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
The paper describes a study focusing on teachers’ beliefs of the teacher’s role. A substantial body of research suggests that teachers’ beliefs and values about teaching and learning affect their teaching practices (e.g. Kagan 1992). Influencing teachers’ beliefs, therefore, may be essential to cause change in classroom practices. It is assumed that inertia in teachers’ change can be attributed to their beliefs that work as a filter through which teachers interpret their education and experience ( e.g. Stipek at. al. 2001). In our study teachers’ beliefs were investigated through metaphors. According to research, metaphors reflect teachers’ beliefs about teaching and the teacher’s role, i.e. they illustrate teachers’ professional identity (Bullough 1991). Metaphors tend to exhibit coherent and internal consistency, providing insights into ideas that are not explicit or consciously held (Saban, 2004) and thus can serve as a tool making implicit beliefs explicit (Leavy & al. 2007). Metaphors also play a central role in conceptualizing and reflecting upon the nature of teaching and learning, and are used as a way to making connections between personal beliefs and educational theories (e.g. Martinez et al, 2001; Alger, 2009; Beauchamp & Thomas, 2009).
Beliefs and practices are linked, and emphasis in teacher’s professional development on either one without considering the other, is likely to fail. According to that, the aim of the study was to better understand the nature of teachers’ beliefs about teaching and teacher’s role. It became especially important in 2010 when a new national curriculum advocating learner-centred inquiry approach was introduced nationally, and while recent research has revealed that Estonian teachers tend to use structured more often than student oriented practices (OECD, 2009).
As we have previously studied pre-service teachers’ beliefs, the second aim of the present research was to further explore the applicability of the Beijaard, Verloop & Vermunt’s teacher’s identity model as a theoretical framework for analysing in-service teachers’ beliefs through metaphors. The research questions were: 1) What are the lower secondary school teaachers’ beliefs of teacher’s role?; 2) Are there any differences between maths and humanites teachers’ beliefs?; 3) Do age and the length of teaching practice influence the teachers’ view about teacher’s role reflected through metaphors?
All in all 241 lower secondary school maths teachers and 208 English language teachers, selected randomly across Estonian schools, participated in the research. Metaphors were written by 153 English and 139 maths teachers. The average age of English teachers was 41.5 and maths teachers 46.5. As to the length of teaching practice, it varied- there were more novice teachers (0-5 years) among teachers of English and among maths teachers there were more experience ones (25 + years).
Alger, C.L. (2009). Secondary teachers’ conceptual metaphors of teaching and learning: Changes over the career span. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(5), 743-751. Beauchamp, C. & Thomas, L. (2009). Understanding teacher identity: an overview of issues in the literature and implications for teacher education. Cambridge Journal of Education, 39(2), 175-189. Beijaard, D., Verloop, N. & Vermunt, J.D. (2000). Teachers’ perceptions of professional identity: an exploratory study from a personal knowledge perspective. Teaching and Teacher Education, 16, 749-764. Bullough, R.V. Jr. (1991). Exploring Personal Teaching Metaphors in Preservice Teacher Education. Journal of Teacher Education, 42 (1), 43-51. Kagan, D.M. (1992). Professional Growth Among Preservice and Beginning Teachers. Review of Educational Research, 62 (2), 129-169. Leavy, A.M.; McSorley, F.A. & Bote, L.A. (2007). An Examination of what metaphor construction reveals about the evolution of preservice teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23, 1217-1233. Martinez, M.A., Sauleda, N. & Huber, G.L. (2001). Metaphors as blueprints of thinking about teaching and learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17(8), 965-977. OECD (2009). Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS). http://www.oecd.org/document/0/0,3746,en_2649_39263231_38052160_1_1_1_1,00.html Saban, A. (2004). Prospective classroom teachers’ metaphorical images of selves and comparing them those they have of their elementary and cooperating teachers. International Journal of Educationala Development, 24, 617-635. Stipek,D.J., Givvin,K.B.,Salmon,J.M., MacGyvers,V.L. (2001). Teachers’ beliefs and practices related to mathematics instruction. Teaching and Teacher Education,17, 213-226.
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