Understanding Teacher Learning in Secondary Education: The Relations of Teacher Activities to Changed Beliefs about Teaching and Learning

Jan. 03, 2009

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 25, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 89-100
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

In this study, relations between learning activities of teachers and changes in their beliefs were examined.

Research Question

How are learning activities that teachers undertake related to changes in their beliefs with respect to the topic ‘active and self-regulated student learning’ during a period of one year?

Thirty-four teachers in Dutch secondary education were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their beliefs about teaching and learning on two occasions. They were also asked to report on learning activities that they undertook. Teachers who had changed their beliefs in a direction congruent with the aims of recent educational reforms often reported experimentation with colleagues' teaching methods. Teachers who changed their beliefs in a direction that was not congruent with the reform often reported experimentation with alternative methods due to discontent with the effectiveness of current methods.


Although this study focuses mainly on the nature of belief changes and teachers' activities which applies for teachers in general, only upper secondary schoolteachers were included. In future research it would be worthwhile to examine the relation between teachers' belief changes and activities in other grade levels as well.
In addition to including motivational factors in future research on teacher learning, it would also be useful to include school organization factors, such as (teachers' perceptions of) the support provided by principals and school management teams to teachers in implementing educational reforms and in teachers' professional development (Geijsel, Sleegers, van den Berg and Kelchtermans, 2001).

Geijsel et al., 2001 F. Geijsel, P. Sleegers, R. van den Berg and G. Kelchtermans, Conditions fostering the implementation of large-scale innovation programs in schools: teachers' perspectives, Educational Administration Quarterly 37 (2001), pp. 130–166.

Updated: Jan. 07, 2009