Relationships of New Teachers’ Beliefs and Instructional Practices: Comparisons Across Four Countries

Oct. 01, 2014

Source: Action in Teacher Education, Volume 36, Issue 4, p. 322–341, 2014.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study investigates the relationship between new teachers' beliefs about instruction (direct transmission and constructivist beliefs) and teaching practices (structured, student orientation, and enhanced activities).
It also discusses some possible reasons for the relationships between teacher beliefs and teacher practices within national and international contexts.

To examine the relationships between new teachers’ beliefs and their instructional practices, the authors selected new teachers in four OECD countries including Hungary, Korea, Norway, and Turkey.
The authors considered these countries to be well representative in the following aspects: social and economic contexts, educational systems, students’ academic achievements, and teacher education and professional development.
Participants of this study were new teachers from the four countries: two Asian countries (Korea and Turkey) and two European countries (Hungary and Norway) in TALIS 2008.
Of new teachers, 97, 191, 184, and 360 were from Hungary, Korea, Norway, and Turkey, respectively.


The findings showed that the instructional practices of new teachers from the four selected countries were neither consistent nor aligned with their beliefs about instruction.
One of the reasons for this result may be that new teachers’ self-reported instructional practices might differ significantly from their actual performance.
New teachers are still shaping/reshaping their beliefs due, in part, to their transition and development from a novice to a more experienced classroom teacher.
Not surprisingly, new teachers experience conflicts between their teaching beliefs and instructional practices.

From notions of teacher education, many new teachers have yet to deal with complex teaching situations.
Therefore, teacher education programs and professional development programs may create opportunities for pre-service teachers or new teachers to examine their understanding of the relationships between their beliefs and instructional practices, which may be influenced by the school and classroom contexts.

Another reason for this result may be associated with the complexities of the classroom or school contexts.
Thus, the school context may be a direct factor that hinders new teachers to put their beliefs fully into practices and to provide instruction that is aligned with their beliefs due to the fear of any negative consequences.
Furthermore, the mismatched relationship between teacher beliefs and instructional practices may also result from more interacted beliefs because more than one belief may direct teachers’ practices in a particular teaching contexts.
When teachers become more aware of their beliefs about instruction, they may be more willing to implement what they believe in the instructional practices.

This study examined the relationship patterns through international large data sets and provided new empirical evidence for research of new teachers in the national and international contexts.
At the national level, there were no consistent relationships between two types of teacher beliefs and three types of instructional practices in any selected country.

One reason that may account for this finding may be that the four countries have launched educational reform and are changing educational practices within broadly categorized centralized or decentralized educational system.
Hungary and Norway placed more emphases on content and pedagogy, and additionally Norway emphasized performance-based licensing system.
Korea and Turkey adopted a selective qualification examination that evaluates curriculum and pedagogy, pedagogical knowledge, content and pedagogical knowledge, and lesson planning.
In this changing context, changing teacher education programs and professional development programs may be associated with the mismatch between universities and schools and between teacher education programs and K-12 classrooms in beliefs and practices.

At the international level, consistent relationships between two types of teacher beliefs and three types of instructional practices did not exist across the four countries no matter whether they are Asian and European countries or high-performing and intermediate-low performing countries.
This study shows that using international large data sets can contribute to the understanding of important research questions of new teachers at the national and international levels.

To summarize, this study extended the understanding of the relationship between new teachers’ beliefs and instructional practices at the national and international levels. 
The study contributes to the field of teacher education by using a large international teachers’ database to investigate the relationships and to provide empirical evidences for the lack of relationship between teacher beliefs and instructional practices across four OECD countries.

Updated: May. 05, 2015