Beliefs are funny things. We all have them, yet they tend to hide in our subconscious until something comes along that goes against them. When that happens our beliefs are brought to the forefront of our mind. Unfortunately most of us do not spend a lot of time thinking about what we truly believe.
As a teacher it is important to think about what we believe about education, learning and students. These beliefs hide in the backs of our mind and we unconsciously make decisions based on them. However, these beliefs can be the difference between whether a student succeeds in our class or not, whether we are open to trying new instructional practices or not and ultimately whether we are open to growing ourselves or not.
If our beliefs guide us in our everyday lives and they are the reasons behind the decisions and moves we make, it seems to me we should spend a bit more time thinking about something that powerful and important.
I try to set aside some time every now and then to think about what I believe about learning. If I’m completely truthful, sometimes my beliefs change. I might learn something new or have a conversation with someone that changes my belief. In fact, there have been times when I think back and can’t believe I actually thought a certain way.
Here are a few of my beliefs:
I believe everyone can learn. We all learn in different ways and at different speeds, but we all learn. As a teacher, I have to be able to adapt my instruction so that I reach all learners.
I believe in order to learn students need lots of time to practice with coaching and support. I need to provide students with this time each day to read and write for long periods of time and long periods of time to solve problems in math. During this time, I need to listen in and provide descriptive, targeted feedback that will help students move forward.
I believe in order for learning to transfer, students need to practice with real text, write for authentic purposes and solve real world problems in math.
There are so many more, but there is only so much time in the day. The important thing is that I have taken the time to clarify my beliefs and I can see where any new learning fits in or conflicts with what I believe. The new learning has the possibility to change what I believe, but I know where I stand.
So I leave you with this…what are your beliefs about learning? about students? about yourself as a learner?
Have you taken the time to think about your beliefs lately? If not, I highly suggest you do. It is an experience, I promise, you will not regret!