How can teacher beliefs impact student learning experiences?

Teacher Beliefs and Expectations

Let’s consider the work of Ron Ritchhart a little further, and take a moment to pause on our beliefs about teaching and learning. Ritchhart’s work highlights that our beliefs are embedded in our classroom practice with internal and external factors at play to impact classroom practice and student learning outcomes

Internal factors can include research-based principles, our own past experiences, experience of what works best, established practice and personality factors. Ritchhart states that if we are to make any shifts in our pedagogy there needs to be alignment in the desired shift in pedagogy and a teacher’s underlying beliefs and attitudes.

Five Key Beliefs

The illustration below from Project Zero identifies five key beliefs that can shape our practice and expectations around student learning.

Ritchhart (2015) asks us to consider the questions below to help us to consider our own beliefs in relation to establishing a culture of thinking which is at the heart of concept-based learning.

Reflect - Act

Before going any further pause to consider the extent to which you currently:

  • communicate to students that your classroom is a place which thinking is valued?

  • establish a set of expectations for learning and thinking with your students in a similar way that you establish behavioral expectations?

  • stress that thinking and learning are the outcomes of a class activity as opposed to 'completion of work'?

  • develop understanding as the goal of classroom activity and lessons versus knowledge acquisition?

  • actively cultivate student independence so that students are not dependent on the teacher to answer all questions and direct all activity?

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