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Teachers’ Beliefs about Teaching and Learning: Why is It Still a Challenge?

Solvita Lazdina, Evi Daga-Krumina
University of Latvia

Abstract. Teachers’ beliefs influence their classroom activities and students’ involvement in learning more than knowledge or curriculum, beliefs can slow down the implementation of educational reforms, the introduction of new practices, or support it. Exploring beliefs is difficult, teachers may not be open in expressing existing beliefs, or they may be unsure of their own beliefs, replacing them with slogans that are socially acceptable narratives. The purpose of this study is to identify teachers’ beliefs that characterize student teaching, additionally evaluating how these beliefs affect teacher agency. The answers to these questions were obtained by implementing a case analysis – studying the narrative identity of all mathematics teachers of one school, while the research process is like ethnographic research, data is obtained by interviewing respondents and observing them in practical work. The belief identified as a result of the research is that the teacher’s main task is to prepare students for sufficiently high results in the mathematics exam, describing how the identity of a “good teacher” is formed, which brings with it agency – an active contribution to make it happen. The second identified belief – some students cannot study in the classroom together with the others, this demonstrates the absence of teacher agency, teachers’ responsibility for children whose learning is a challenge, these children are handed over to other agents – parents and private tutors.

Keywords: agency, beliefs, identity, school, teachers

To Be or Not to Be a Great Educator, 2022. Proceedings of ATEE Annual Conference
Riga: University of Latvia Press, 2023. 985 p.
EdL. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-36-019-0