Teachers' beliefs about successful teaching and learning in English

Year: 2000

Author: ARCHER J

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Teachers' practices are strongly influenced by teachers' own experiences as students and their beliefs about what constitutes good teaching and learning. For example, a teacher who believes that only students with "natural" ability will succeed in English classes, compared with a teacher who believes that with effective teaching and diligence on the part of the student non-talented students can succeed in English, would behave in the classroom in line with her beliefs. Changing behaviour, then, should stem from changing beliefs.

The present study focuses on English teaching. The data for the study are transcriptions of hour long interviews with groups of prmary school teachers and groups of secondary school teachers. In the interviews, teachers were asked to describe their teaching techniques, to explain why they chose those techniques, and to explain why they thought those techniques helped their students to learn. Interesting differences emerged between the responses of the primary and secondary teachers. These differences can be related to to the way primary and high schools are structured, and the resulting more wholistic approach to education of primary teachers.