Educational belief

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“The last two decades have witnessed a growing tendency to perceive teachingas a professional activity requiring complex and demanding cognitiveprocesses. Understanding teaching necessitates understanding teachers’ thinking, beliefs and knowledge regarding teaching, learning and students.” (Hativa, 2000) [1]

“The thinking, planning, and decision making of teachers constitute a large part of the psychological context of teaching. It is within this context that curriculum is interpreted and acted upon; where teachers teach and students learn. Teacher behaviour is substantially influenced and even determined by teachers’ thought processes. These are the fundamental assumptions behind the literature that has come to be called research on teacher thinking. (Clark & Peterson, 1986, p. 255).”, cited by Hativa and Goodyear (2002) [2]

Beliefs are part of teachers' thinking, i.e. there is a relationship between teachers' thinking (e.g. their educational beliefs) and their educational practice, including the use of technology.

Biesta et al (2015) [3] identify “three areas of teachers’ beliefs: beliefs about children and young people; beliefs about teaching; and beliefs about the purposes of education.”

“Personal epistemological beliefs influence one’s cognitive and metacognitive operations in a significant way. They also influence how teachers conceptualize teaching. It is therefore essential for teacher educators to understand the epistemological beliefs that pre‐service teachers are holding to foster mature epistemological outlooks that could facilitate educational reforms.” (Chai, 2007) [4]

We could speculate, that there is a relationship between between teachers' educational beliefs and learners' beliefs about learning. Firstly, because teachers are also learning as reflective practitioners and, second, because their perception on how their students believe they learn may influence the way they teach.

See also:

Educational beliefs and use of technology in the classroom

According to Tondeur et al. (2019), [5] “Ultimately, teachers’ personal pedagogical beliefs play a key role in their pedagogical decisions regarding whether and how to integrate technology within their classroom practices (Deng et al. 2014; Inan and Lowther 2010). Researchers have argued that teachers’ classroom practices are highly influenced by their pedagogical beliefs (Fives and Gill 2015; Kagan 1992; Pajares 1992; Richardson 1996). Based on the results of previous research (Ertmer et al. 2015; Hermans et al. 2008; Lin et al. 2012; Zhao and Frank 2003), teachers select applications of technology that align with their selections of other curricular variables and methods (e.g., teaching strategies) and that also align with their existing beliefs about ‘good’ education. [...] In this respect, research on educational innovations suggests that technology integration can only be fully understood when teachers’ pedagogical beliefs are taken into account (Ertmer 2005; Lim and Chan 2007; Liu 2011; Sang et al. 2010a).”

The authors [5] conclude in their aggregated review of qualitative studies that “the relationship between pedagogical beliefs and technology use comprises a bi-directional relationship. [...] i.e. beliefs lead to actions, which, in turn, lead to the development of reconstructed or reaffirmed beliefs (Haney, 2002)”

Survey instruments

  • “Educational Beliefs Scale (EBS)”, by Yilmaz et al. (2011)
  • “Revised Two-FactorStudy Process Questionnaire (R-SPQ-2F), by Biggs et al. (2001). This is an instrument that is suitable for use by teachers in evaluating the learning approaches of their students. (not their own beliefs)
  • Educational Belief Inventory (EBI) [6]

Bibliography and references

Cited with footnotes

  1. Hativa, N. (2000). Teacher thinking, beliefs, and knowledge in higher education: An introduction. Instructional Science, 28(5), 331–334.
  2. Hativa, N., & Goodyear, P. (2002). Research on Teacher Thinking, Beliefs, and Knowledge in Higher Education: Foundations, Status and Prospects. In Teacher Thinking, Beliefs and Knowledge in Higher Education (pp. 335–359). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
  3. Biesta, G., Priestley, M., & Robinson, S. (2015). The role of beliefs in teacher agency. Teachers and Teaching, 21(6), 624–640.
  4. Chai, C. S., Khine, M. S., & Teo, T. (2006). Epistemological beliefs on teaching and learning: a survey among pre‐service teachers in Singapore. Educational Media International, 43(4), 285–298.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Tondeur, J., van Braak, J., Ertmer, P. A., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. (2017). Understanding the relationship between teachers’ pedagogical beliefs and technology use in education: a systematic review of qualitative evidence. Educational Technology Research and Development, 65(3), 555–575.
  6. Northcote, M. (2003, February). The development of an Educational Belief Inventory for university students and teachers: Construing each others' beliefs. In Proceedings of the 12th Annual Teaching Learning Forum (pp. 11-12).


Also includes more general studies on epistemological beliefs etc.

  • Aypay, A. (2010). Teacher education student’s epistemological beliefs and their conceptions about teaching and learning. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2, 2599–2604.
  • Bender, E., Schaper, N., Caspersen, M. E., Margaritis, M., & Hubwieser, P. (2016). Identifying and formulating teachers’ beliefs and motivational orientations for computer science teacher education. Studies in Higher Education, 41(11), 1958–1973.
  • Berthelsen, D., Brownlee, J., & Boulton-Lewis, G. (2002). Caregivers’ epistemological beliefs in toddler programs. Early Child Development and Care, 172, 503–516.
  • Biggs, J., Kember, D., & Leung, D. Y. (2001). The revised two‐factor study process questionnaire: R‐SPQ‐2F. British journal of educational psychology, 71(1), 133-149.
  • Brownlee, J. 2001. Knowing and learning in teacher education: a theoretical framework of core and peripheral epistemological beliefs. Asia‐Pacific Journal of Teacher Education and Development, 4(1): 131–155.
  • Brownlee, J. 2003. Changes in primary school teachers’ beliefs about knowing: a longitudinal study. Asia‐Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 31(1): 87–97.
  • Brownlee, J., Walker, S., Lennox, S., Exley, B., & Pearce, S. (2009). The first year university experience: Using personal epistemology to understand effective learning and teaching in higher education. Higher Education: International Journal of Higher Education and Educational Planning, 58, 599–618.
  • Calderhead, J. 1996. “Teachers: beliefs and knowledge”. In Handbook of educational psychology, Edited by: Berliner, D. C. and Calfee, R. C. 709–725. New York: Macmillan.
  • Deng, F., Chai, C. S., Tsai, C. C., & Lee, M. H. (2014). The relationships among Chinese practicing teachers’ epistemic beliefs, pedagogical beliefs and their beliefs about the use of ICT. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 17(2), 245–256.
  • Duffy, M. C., Muis, K. R., Foy, M. J., Trevors, G., & Ranellucci, J. (2016). Exploring relations between teachers’ beliefs, instructional practices, and students’ beliefs in statistics. International Education Research, 4(1), 37-66.
  • Ertmer, P. A., Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A., & Tondeur, J. (2015). Teacher beliefs and uses of technology to support 21st century teaching and learning. In H. R. Fives & M. Gill (Eds.), International handbook of research on teacher beliefs (pp. 403–418). New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis.
  • Ertmer, P. A. (2005). Teacher pedagogical beliefs: The final frontier in our quest for technology integration? Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(4), 25–39.
  • Ertmer, P. A., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. T. (2010). Teacher technology change: How knowledge, confidence, beliefs, and culture intersect. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42, 255–284.
  • Fang, Z. (1996). A review of research on teacher beliefs and practices. Educational Research, 38(1), 47–65.
  • Fives, H., & Gill, M. G. (Eds.). (2015). International handbook of research on teachers’ beliefs. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis.
  • Fives, H, Buehl, MM (2012) Spring cleaning for the ‘messy’ construct of teachers’ beliefs: What are they? Which have been examined? What can they tell us? In: Harris, KR, Graham, S, Urdan, T (eds) APA Educational Psychology Handbook, Vol. 2: Individual Differences and Cultural and Contextual Factors. Washington, DC: APA Psychological Association, pp. 471–499.
  • Hermans, R., Tondeur, J., van Braak, J., & Valcke, M. (2008). The impact of primary school teachers’ educational beliefs on the classroom use of computers. Computers & Education, 51(4), 1499–1509.
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