Uncovering teachers’ beliefs

Teachers often talk about what and how, but often don’t say why or why not.

That was a quote from a session on teacher beliefs (the why/why not of what we do) on the NILE Trainer Development course today. We talked about various ways of uncovering beliefs, and I’ve thought of one more. What would you add?

  • Have 2-3 statements connected to beliefs teachers could discuss at the beginning of a session.
  • Say a statement – they stand to the left or right depending on whether they agree or disagree, or somewhere in the middle if they prefer.
  • Have statements which trainees tick/cross/modify.
  • Create short case studies with some kind of dilemma – each ‘solution’ is valid, but discussing them can show up beliefs.
  • Drawing pictures (based on the ‘images for teaching’ IATEFL session from Birmingham 2016)


7 thoughts on “Uncovering teachers’ beliefs

  1. Hi, Sandy, let me introduce myself. My name is Omar, I am 43 and I have been teaching Spanish since 2003 in Turkey, Malaysia and China. I am moving into being an English teacher, because I worked as that in China for 2-3 year old kids and in Spain for teenagers.

    To accomplish this I will start with the CELTA next week in Poland (Wroclaw). When I was interviewed to be accepted I told them I had been following your blog for some time and they knew you haha.

    Well, I did my M.A. dissertation about Chinese students and teachers’ beliefs about CLT. It was a first stage of what had to be a Phd, but I didn’t complete it. So It was kind of traditional, questionnaire and statistics, but the results were, at least for me, very interesting.

    I see that this M.A. you are doing in Norwich is being very useful because you started posting very often. Thanks for introducing us to that Institute, I didn’t have any knowledge, so I will start checking what kind of courses do they have.

    Go on posting! Next time I will focus more on the content itself. See you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have done an exercise with teachers in which we gatther statements from them and then look at which ones are facts and which are beliefs. Then we tackle those beliefs which inhibit teaching and learning.


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