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Appears in:
Pages: 6086-6090
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain

TEACHER BELIEFS AND BELIEF REPORTS: WHY THE DIFFERENCE REALLY MATTERS

A. Gaete

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (CHILE)
The concept of belief has become one of the most important concepts in contemporary education (see Alexander & Dochy, 1995; Borg, 2001; Hofer & Pintrich, 2002; Murphy & Alexander, 2008; Nespor, 1997; Pajares, 1992). It is central not only to the theory and research on teaching and learning in general, but also to teacher education in particular – to such an extent that some even take it to be the most valuable psychological construct to teacher education (see Pintrich, 1990). No wonder, since teachers' beliefs are normally assumed to be highly influential upon their teaching practices and, consequently, the last two or three decades have witnessed a wealth of studies concerned with identifying what teachers, student teachers, and teacher educators believe about a wide variety of issues (e.g., Beswick, 2012; Brousseau, Book, & Byers, 1988; Eisenhart, Shrum, Harding, and Cuthbert, 1988; Everston & Weade, 1989; Fives & Buhel, 2008; Hart, 2002; Hermann & Duffy, 1989; Joram & Gabriele, 1997; Martin, 1989; Rico Romero & Gil Cuadra, 2003; Rojas & Sequeira, 2012; Schommer-Aikins, Duell, & Hutter, 2005; Zhu, Valcke, & Schellens, 2008).

Most of these studies assume, although often implicitly, that it is relatively unproblematic to determine what subjects believe in virtue of what they say they believe. This assumption is made explicit by Alexander & Docky (1995): “[W]e assumed that the responses that participants shared would be accurate reflections of their thoughts and views” (p. 416). It is partly because of this that the procedures and instruments used to identify beliefs in the great majority of the studies ultimately resort to (different sorts of) belief reports: interviews, Likert-type scales, questionnaires, etc.

In this work I argue that the assumption in question is mistaken and, consequently, we better re-interpret recent educational research on beliefs as revealing information not about the beliefs of teachers and other educational agents but about their belief reports. I also suggest some alternative procedures for identifying beliefs that are not based upon such reports. My point is that if we are interested in what educational agents really believe (rather than in what they claim to believe) these alternative procedures seem far more appropriate or, in fact, valid.
@InProceedings{GAETE2013TEA,
author = {Gaete, A.},
title = {TEACHER BELIEFS AND BELIEF REPORTS: WHY THE DIFFERENCE REALLY MATTERS},
series = {5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN13 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-3822-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {1-3 July, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {6086-6090}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Gaete
TI - TEACHER BELIEFS AND BELIEF REPORTS: WHY THE DIFFERENCE REALLY MATTERS
SN - 978-84-616-3822-2/2340-1117
PY - 2013
Y1 - 1-3 July, 2013
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN13 Proceedings
SP - 6086
EP - 6090
ER -
A. Gaete (2013) TEACHER BELIEFS AND BELIEF REPORTS: WHY THE DIFFERENCE REALLY MATTERS, EDULEARN13 Proceedings, pp. 6086-6090.
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