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How teachers’ beliefs about learning
and teaching relate to their continuing
professional development
a a
Siebrich de Vries , Wim J.C.M. van de Grift & Ellen P.W.A.
Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, University of
Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
Published online: 21 Oct 2013.

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To cite this article: Siebrich de Vries, Wim J.C.M. van de Grift & Ellen P.W.A. Jansen (2014) How
teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching relate to their continuing professional development,
Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 20:3, 338-357, DOI: 10.1080/13540602.2013.848521

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despite their strong influences on people’s working and learning. 2003. Vogels. Jansen Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences. 2007. the higher his or her participation in CPD. Timperley. Teachers differ greatly in the extent to which they engage in CPD activities (Aarts & Waslander. 2011. Wilson.C. Bell. Such reflection appears essential for professional growth (Eraut.A. Stijnen. Downloaded by [Northern Alberta Inst of Technology] at 18:57 16 February 2015 The Netherlands (Received 24 April 2012. the effects of teachers’ beliefs have received limited attention. 1998. 2006. beliefs Introduction The continuing professional development (CPD) of teachers offers an important potential way to improve schools. in the *Corresponding author. Keywords: secondary education. continuing professional development. University of Groningen. Schön. Because teachers’ characteristics reflect both belief dimensions. Barrar. 260 Dutch secondary school teachers completed a survey that focused on the teachers’ student-oriented and subject matter-oriented beliefs. which revealed three distinct belief profiles. 2009). 2003). For teachers. as well as on teachers’ updating. No. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice. Groningen. final version received 7 March 2013) Teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD) can improve teacher qual- ity and teaching practice. These results indicated that teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching relate to their participation in CPD: the more a teacher’s profile is student oriented and subject matter oriented. reflective and collaborative activities. 1983).de. 20. 2003).M. teachers. & Fung. Does a comparable relationship exist between these beliefs and teachers’ own learning or participation in CPD? To explore this relationship. Van Driel. & Claessen. Wassink.doi. Martens. The results have implications for enhancing teachers’ reflections on their beliefs about learning and teaching. © 2013 Taylor & Francis .848521 How teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching relate to their continuing professional development Siebrich de Vries*. 2008. 1994. 3. yet teachers differ greatly in the extent to which they engage in CPD. Verloop. 338–357. Teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching in particular influence their teaching prac- tices. CPD can update their knowledge and skills while encouraging reflection and collaboration with colleagues (Schraw. 2014 Vol. 2010). Wim J. in conjunction with participation in CPD. increase teacher quality and improve the quality of student learning (Day.2013. & Evans. van de Grift and Ellen P. for example. this study relied on cluster analysis. In extensive research into which factors affect teachers’ partici- pation in CPD.vries@rug.1080/13540602. Email: s. Rundell. Verloop. Diepstraten. http://dx. though growing awareness also notes the potentially strong role of teacher collabora- tion in relation to teacher learning (Cordingley. Levine & Marcus.

Opfer. Thus. traditional vs. 2004). 2007). Van Eekelen. then as student teachers and teachers (Bolhuis. 2003. & Verloop. 1993. Teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching A belief is ‘a proposition which may be consciously or unconsciously held. and is therefore imbued with emotive commitment’ (Borg. Van Braak. these beliefs then become robust (Murphy & Mason. Geijsel et al. 2000). classified into student-oriented and subject matter-oriented beliefs (Van Driel. Stoel. Such beliefs are important. 2009. 2011. as the knowledge expert and deliverer of knowledge. Tondeur. we examine how the identified belief profiles relate to specific CPD activities. Next. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice 339 teachers engage far more in CPD activities related to updating and collaboration than in reflection (Dijkstra.. student learning (De Vries. Vermunt. p. is evalu- ative in that it is accepted as true by the individual. However. 2004. 2008). 1999). Van Driel et al. & Klaassen. Lohman. traditional vs. 2006. 2009. Pedder. Bulte. a subject matter orientation refers to more traditional forms of transmission teaching. & Krüger. 1996). & Valcke. Teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching appear closely related to their teaching practices (Calderhead. a student orientation of beliefs (Meirink. namely. though one important personal factor. Substantial research investigates the factors. 2005). constructivist (OECD.. that influence teacher learning (e. 2000. Van Veen. 2011). and does not orient . 2010). Because teachers likely adopt characteristics of both belief dimensions. Meijer. 2006. 2000. Hermans. they develop during the many years teachers spend at school. act as guides to thought and behaviour (Borg. p. 2009. 307). Goddard. first as students. & Woolfolk Hoy. Verloop. We therefore empirically explore the relationship between teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching. A commonly used distinction in educational research refers to a subject matter vs. 1992. & Bergen. with a focus on the trans- mission and then learning of content and knowledge about a subject matter (Hargreaves. Runhaar. constructivist (Becker & Riel. Other terms refer to the same distinction: content vs. student (Denessen.. Kwakman. 2004. & Boshuizen. transmission of knowledge by the teacher vs. 2003. Teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching are propositions about learning and teaching that a teacher holds to be true. and teachers’ participation in CPD. in that they provide ‘the best indicators of the decisions indi- viduals make throughout their lives’ (Pajares. 2001. process oriented (Bolhuis & Voeten. 2000. Sleegers. 2006. teachers’ beliefs. the influence of other types of beliefs on teacher learning remains uncertain. The teacher is central. Kwakman. Van Eekelen. Opfer & Pedder. both personal and contextual. Runhaar et al. & Yang. Hargreaves. 2009. teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs – or their individual judgments of their own competence to execute a particular task (Bandura. 1992). 1998).g. Kelchtermans. 2009). Pajares. This distinction originates from differences in the views of learning and teaching methods. Sleegers. 2007). 2010). though few empirical studies confirm the suggested relationship between teachers’ beliefs about learning and their own learning (Bolhuis & Voeten. Bergen. 2001) and strongly influence individual working and learning practices (Schommer. ensures calm and concentration in the classroom. Geijsel. & Lavicza. 186). Hoy. 2008) or reception/direct trans- mission vs. For example. 2011. and over time and use. has received limited attention to date. Downloaded by [Northern Alberta Inst of Technology] at 18:57 16 February 2015 1986) – encourage them to engage in professional learning activities (Bandura. 2001). Sanders. 2000. Vermunt & Endedijk. we first investigate whether teachers can be grouped according to their belief structures.

2001. Burnett. such that teachers actively develop and engage over the course of their careers. 2007). CPD has a learner-focused perspective.. Creemers.. 1997). Tondeur et al. students actively constructing knowledge individu- ally and through social interactions and teachers accounting for differences among students (Pieters & Verschaffel. Although student-oriented and subject matter-oriented beliefs may appear contradictory in nature or as two ends of the same scale (Becker & Riel. & Antoniou. a group combining the two beliefs and a group with a rather amorphous belief system. we consider the two belief orientations as two distinct dimensions of teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching. Van Driel and Verloop (2002) identify two groups of science teachers: tea- cher directed and student directed. de Vries et al. McCrindle. 2009. also find four profiles: a combined constructivist and traditional profile. Verloop. in a primary education setting. Kember. Vogels (2009) used a survey of 2715 secondary school teachers to identify three groups: roughly half of the teachers were both subject matter oriented and student oriented. as is widely promoted by most current educational researchers and teacher educators (OECD. The OECD (2009). as a relevant exploration. a constructivist profile. we seek belief profiles in our sample. Lipowsky et al. Because these previous results are not univocal. & Campbell. instead is based on constructivist theories of knowledge and learning. 2003). and the other half showed a domi- nance of one particular type. 2003). 2010. voluntarily and in all . a traditional profile and an undefined profile. Van Driel et al. Research on teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching also has led to the identification of groups of teachers who adopt different belief structures. whereas the latter pertains to subject matter knowledge for teaching (Shulman. (2007) note four groups of chemistry teachers: a subject matter-oriented group. reveals differences in the pattern and strength of endorsement of the two views across coun- tries.or herself to the needs of the individual students. a learner-centred group. In a sense. 2009). A student orientation. 2009. Tondeur et al. modern teachers must fulfil both roles: as knowledge expert and competent deliverer of knowledge. as well as Downloaded by [Northern Alberta Inst of Technology] at 18:57 16 February 2015 pedagogical content knowledge (Borko & Putnam. Teachers’ CPD As a career-long process. The former refers to knowledge of general pedagogical principles.. focusing on the develop- ment of skills and competencies. 2008. 2000. 2009). and as facilitator and activator of students’ learning processes (European Commission. several studies demonstrate that teachers actually possess characteristics from both views and that the scales are independent (OECD. but rather treats the whole class as a kind of collective student. depending on the extent to which they adopt student-oriented and subject matter-oriented beliefs. him. teachers’ understanding of subject matter must be associ- ated with a wide repertoire of general pedagogical knowledge. in an international study. Boulton-Lewis. Such constructive visions of learning and teaching demand a strong conceptual understanding of the subject matter by the teachers. Van Driel et al. 1996). Because teachers might score high on both scales. In another study. 1986). (2008). Smith. To create powerful learning environments for students of different back- grounds and conceptions. 340 S. Teaching effectiveness research also suggests that teachers should master teaching skills associated with both constructivist models and practices and more traditional approaches (Kyriakides.

2002a). ideas and actions.. 2001). a ‘problem’) to make better sense of that situation (Dewey. 2001) in these three main fields. Verloop. possibili- ties. with a focus on lesson-related content such as subject matter. general pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge (Van Veen. 1994. Schraw. 2002. 1983) and vitally important to CPD (Cheetham & Chivers. 2001). & Scheepsma. 1998. 2001. Knight. we focus on reflection-on-action. both on and off the job. 1933). 2003). conferences. during teacher education. expands through experience during teaching practice. In contrast. Regarding the effectiveness of CPD activities to improve teacher quality and teaching practice. 2007). research indicates that all three groups of activities are effective (Cheetham & Chivers. ‘reflection-in-action’ is an almost subconscious process that experts develop and refine as a consequence of their learning through experience. Zwart. and they can contribute to shape the learning environment and thus . Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice 341 sorts of formal and informal activities. consultation in or outside the school) designed to update knowledge and skills after the teacher’s initial education. & Meijer. According to Cheetham and Chivers (2001). training. After initial teacher education. 1999.. 2003). intentional updates to respond to continuing soci- etal and educational developments and innovations. Downloaded by [Northern Alberta Inst of Technology] at 18:57 16 February 2015 Pertaining to updating activities in particular. because a suffi- cient theoretical knowledge base is a necessary prerequisite of meaningful reflection (Van de Ven. newly published textbooks. workshops. Meirink. Timperley et al. Kwakman.e. 2009.. we refer to updating activities such as reading (e. Eraut. 2007. especially reflection. reflection and collaboration with colleagues (Schraw. practical knowledge. & Verloop. & Vermunt. teachers develop a practical and a theoretical knowledge base (Knight.. updating activities are a basic foundation for essential specialist knowledge and the- ory for reflection and collaboration. Reflective activities pertain to professional activities in which reflection is central. Timperley et al. 1998. This specialised form of thinking can be applied to a puzzling or curious situation (i.g. courses. professional literature. which can reduce stress and help improve confidence (Cheetham & Chivers. Feiman-Nemser.. What seems essential is their participation in diverse CPD activities (Bolhuis. 2007). whose purpose and direction derive from the goals of the teachers’ work (Day. 2002). Ponte. 2001). Schön. 2010).g. 1994. Schön (1983) calls this form of reflection ‘reflection-on-action’: a deliberate process developed and purposely used to reconsider existing knowledge. 1983). 2001. Koster. These activities can be classified in three groups: updating knowledge and skills. as well as in the form of practical research conducted individually or in collaboration with colleagues (Kallenberg. Timperley et al. granting them more control over their routine actions in the classroom and. 2003. Onstenk. In this study. In this study. Verloop. The contribution of collaborative activities to better teaching and better learning outcomes is important. Putnam & Borko. they have both supportive and therapeutic ben- efits. Reflection is a major professional activity (Eraut. 2007. collaborative activities refer to collaboration with colleagues within and outside the school. but the theoretical knowledge base requires constant. Finally. Furthermore. 2000). which often remains implicit (Zanting. 2003. because it helps teachers explicate their implicit or tacit knowledge and beliefs. 2009. updating activities are conducive for other professional activities. Verloop. the ability to make changes (Schön. educational sites on the Internet) and schooling (e. Verloop. They also provide teachers with feedback and bring about new ideas and challenges (Cordingley et al. Cordingley et al. Van Driel. if necessary. which a tea- cher can perform individually or with feedback from colleagues or students. beliefs. 2001.

Although these four studies pertain to two separate CPD activities (i. In this theory. In the next section. some empirical studies offer further indications. which have different character- istics and complement one another. whereas less professionally engaged teachers were more likely to have traditional beliefs. 2003. This relationship is confirmed by the OECD (2009).e. For this study. OECD. 1998). they suggest a positive relationship between student-oriented beliefs and participation in CPD but a negative relationship between subject matter-oriented beliefs and participation in CPD. team teaching). Becker and Riel (2000) study teachers’ traditional vs. de Vries et al. With respect to the nat- ure of the relationships between teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching and teachers’ participation in CPD. Although with weak correla- tions.. the relationship between beliefs about learning and teaching and the extent of collaboration by 452 secondary school teachers. people’s beliefs about the nature of knowledge and learning may influence their learning and working (Schommer. (2001) investigate. among 4083 primary and secondary teachers. both learning (CPD) and working (teaching) should be interrelated too and influenced by the same underlying epistemological beliefs. that the more professionally engaged these teachers were. Kubler LaBoskey (1993) investigates student teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching in relation to their inquiry orientation (reflection). Downloaded by [Northern Alberta Inst of Technology] at 18:57 16 February 2015 Relationship of teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching to their participation in CPD According to epistemological belief theory in adult learning. directly and indirectly (via classroom-level processes) affect student learning (Cordingley et al. or collaboration in the broadest sense. as well as between seeing the teacher as a facili- tator (student orientation) and an internal motivation to engage in reflection. which relate closely to beliefs about learning and teaching (subject matter oriented vs. & Cheng. 2009). 2004. and find. 2009): exchange activities (e. highly interrelated concepts) and learning (inherited and unchangeable ability vs. Cheng. 342 S. and then between student-oriented beliefs and much collaboration. Chan. constructivist beliefs in relation to professional engagement. exchanging instructional materials) and professional collabo- ration (e. developing educational materials. Van Veen and Sleegers (2006) suggest that student-oriented teachers perceive collab- oration with colleagues as relevant. discuss- ing teaching problems. reflection and collaboration).g. Tang. student oriented) in prior studies (Chan & Elliott.000 teachers of lower secondary education in 24 countries. ability that can improve over time). among other things. She finds relationships between seeing the teacher as a transmitter (subject matter orientation) and a lack of motivation to engage in reflection. Teachers should participate in all three activities. through a large-scale study of 70. Van Veen et al. whereas subject matter-oriented teachers per- ceive it as having little relevance. 2009). we offer a deeper explication of the possible relationships between teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching and their participation in CPD. both learning and working are interrelated and influenced by the same underlying beliefs related to the nature of knowledge (sepa- rate bits and pieces vs.g. Strong relations arose between subject matter-oriented beliefs and little or no collaboration. On the basis of their small qualitative study (six secondary school teachers). student orientation appears positively associated with teachers’ participation in . we distinguish two kinds of collaborative activities by teachers (OECD. the more likely they were to have constructivist beliefs. For teachers.

8). In the Netherlands. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice 343 CPD (e. ranging from 21 to 63 years. These studies offer some insight into the possible relationships between the two types of beliefs about learning and teaching and teachers’ participation in CPD: symmetry could exist between teachers’ orientation towards student learning (i. throughout their careers. we pursue the following research questions: Downloaded by [Northern Alberta Inst of Technology] at 18:57 16 February 2015 (1) How do teachers report their beliefs about learning and teaching and their participation in the three CPD activities? (2) Is it possible to discern different patterns (profiles) in teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching? (3) What is the relation between these belief profiles and teachers’ participation in CPD? Methods Participants and context We conducted this research among teachers working at four secondary schools in the northern part of the Netherlands. and 4% had a lower qualification. updating. which makes this exploration relevant.e. reflection and collaboration. student-oriented beliefs vs. This correspondence suggests that the sample is representative of the Dutch situation. Their average age was 46. subject matter orientation. Despite the rather low response rate. 26% had a university qualification (equivalent to a Master’s). more vs. mentoring. To verify . after the schools’ management sent a recommendation email. there is a paucity of research investigating these actual relationships between teachers’ belief profiles and their participation in CPD. networks for profes- sional development). ranging from 1 to 42 years of teaching experience. such that it is not compulsory.e. respectively. a professional development school for prospective teachers that aims to enhance participation in CPD by in-service teachers as well. However. the gender. The distribution of male and female respondents was 49% and 51%. The average amount of experi- ence was 18. affiliated with the School of Education. subject matter-oriented beliefs) and teachers’ own learn- ing activities (i.7). The questionnaire was com- pleted by 260 respondents (average response rate of 25%). participation in workshops or courses. whereas a subject matter orientation was negatively related to participation in CPD across countries. Measure An online questionnaire was developed to measure the five constructs: student orien- tation. 2008). whereas 70% earned a high professional education qualification (Bachelor’s).8 years (SD = 11.g. to take responsibility for their own participation in CPD. teachers are entitled (by collective labour agreement) to spend 10% of their working hours on CPD and also are expected. less participation in CPD).7 years (SD = 10. At the time of the data col- lection (April/May 2010). In the present study. age and qualifi- cation distributions of respondents were in accordance with the national distribution of teachers in Dutch secondary education (Statistieken Arbeidsmarkt Onderwijssec- toren. we forwarded an email that described the study goals and procedure and a link to an electronic questionnaire to 1050 teachers. Furthermore.

de Vries et al. Factor loadings for varimax-rotated factor analysis of beliefs about learning and teaching.83 4.75 interests between students 13. To relate to the students’ own knowledge and experiences . ‘In my teaching it is important that there is order and discipline during the lesson’). 3 = ‘fairly applicable’. Respondents indicated the extent to which the item content applied to Downloaded by [Northern Alberta Inst of Technology] at 18:57 16 February 2015 them on a four-point rating scale (1 = ‘not applicable’.53 . To operationalise subject matter orientation and student orientation.69 7. The final belief scales. .34 Notes: f1 = subject matter orientation.80 2. Students learn the content of my subject matter . Factor 1 refers to instruction with a focus on the transmission and learning of subject matter content. To take into consideration the differences in aptitudes and . Students learn how they can best learn my subject matter . Students really listen to what I’m telling them .78 10. To minimise socially desirable response biases. The items for the updating. Table 1 shows the loadings of the items. where relevant. experts (i.74 12. we removed two items (13 and 14) that loaded on both factors. then adapted them according to a pilot study (Dijkstra. reflective and collaborative Table 1. as clearly and concisely as possible.80). Factor 2 pertains to instruction focused on the development of skills and competencies. Students develop their skills and competencies .g. 4 = ‘fully applicable’).61 6. items and descriptive statistics appear in Table 2. Students acquire knowledge . The content of my lessons is good . we presented the items in random order as a single set of items. Anonymity was guaranteed. Students work actively at my subject matter . To encourage respondents to represent their beliefs and behaviour as realistically as possible as and avoid socially desirable answers (the so-called leniency effect). student Cronbach’s α = . 2009).36 matter in my lessons 14. while students listen (e. Students. the items were introduced by the stem ‘In my teaching it is important …’ or else were formulated as directly as possible and in the first person. Exploratory factor analysis indi- cated two factors in the data that require denomination: subject matter-oriented beliefs and student-oriented beliefs. To measure teachers’ participation in CPD. I integrate the latest developments in the field of my subject .84. Questionnaire items f1 f2 In my teaching. we used 14 items adapted from Denessen (1999) and Vogels (2009).70 5. 2003). 2 = ‘somewhat applicable’.g. 344 S. A reliability analysis of the two factors resulted in highly reliable scales (subject matter Cronbach’s α = .69 8. Items were formulated in Dutch. school managers and expert teachers from the schools involved) reviewed and reworded some item formulations. it is important (that) … 1. I pass on my subject matter to the students .60 3. Students learn autonomously to solve problems concerning . There is order and discipline during the lesson .e. f2 = student orientation. active and collaborative learning and accounting for differences among students (e.48 .68 my subject matter 9. learn cooperatively in groups . ‘In my teaching it is important that students develop their skills and competencies’). we originally based the items on qualitative research by Kwakman (1999.71 11. the validity of the items.

70 3. the respondents indicated the extent to which they participated in the CPD activities on a four-point rating scale (1 = ‘never’.69 . To relate to the students’ own knowledge and experiences 3. exchanging instructional materials) and professional collaboration (e. Students acquire knowledge 3.26 .61 2. Further exploration of the data showed that the scores for four of the scales (student-oriented beliefs D(242) = .62 . Items combining different CPD activities (e. consultation in or outside school). learn cooperatively in groups 3.14.84) 1. discussing teaching problems.64 . 2 = ‘rarely’.g. students’ grades. collaborative Cronbach’s α = .58 interests between students activities appeared as three separate sets.41 . subject matter-oriented beliefs. reflective Cronbach’s α = . The items reflect the CPD activities that teachers theoretically should undertake.30 . D(242) = . we analysed the preceding five scales. training.56 my subject matter 2.10.58 4.67 Downloaded by [Northern Alberta Inst of Technology] at 18:57 16 February 2015 7.75 . reflection and collaboration in ‘I ask my colleagues to attend some of my lessons to get feedback on my teaching’) entered what we deemed to be the most prominent CPD category (i.63 . workshops.80) 1. but not . developing educational materials. There is order and discipline during the lesson 3.g. The content of my lessons is good 3. was measured by 13 items representing different sources of feedback (individual reflection.48 .49 . To take into consideration the differences in aptitudes and 3. professional literature.78. feed- back from colleagues or students) and using different tools (e. collaboration D(242) = . updating. I pass on my subject matter to the students 3.62 .15. 4 = ‘very often’). All three scales showed good reliability (updating Cronbach’s α = . Table 3 reveals the items and their characteristics for the three scales. Data analysis procedures To gain insight into how teachers’ beliefs relate to their CPD activities. courses.54 4.61 .51 . Students really listen to what I’m telling them 3.48 Student-oriented beliefs (α = . practical research). we used 10 items refer- ring to reading (e. in the sense of reflection-on-action.61 .58 . Students learn autonomously to solve problems concerning 3. Students learn the content of my subject matter 3. Students learn how they can best learn my subject matter 3.62 3.e.86). D(242) = . Students. Descriptive statistics of the items and scales representing beliefs about learning and teaching.61 6.52 .08. Reflecting. it is important (that) … Subject matter-oriented beliefs (α = . Collaborating was measured by 16 items referring to two kinds of collaborative activities by teachers: exchange activities (e.64 .g. 3 = ‘regularly’. For updating. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice 345 Table 2. conferences. team teaching). Students develop their skills and competencies 3. where relevant.58 5.g.27 .g.35 .57 . educational websites) and schooling (e.75.58 5. reflection).g.59 . Item-rest Items in questionnaire M SD correlation In my teaching.66 .45 . newly published textbooks.46 .

59 . visits of exhibitions on teaching materials) 2. I reflect on my lessons 3. I participate in peer review meetings at my school to learn 1.04 . I read scientific literature 2.42 from colleagues 8.66 .79 .23 school 9. I talk about teaching problems with colleagues 3.81 . I use student performance data to. I visit lessons of colleagues to learn from them 1.27 5. television.52 . I support colleagues in their teaching problems 3. workshops.84 .70 . I ask students to fill out surveys for feedback on my lessons 2.75 .46 approach has worked 10.60 (Continued) .31 Downloaded by [Northern Alberta Inst of Technology] at 18:57 16 February 2015 including manuals 6.g. I visit digital communities of my subject matter 2.82 .47 lessons to improve my teaching practice 4.44 of teacher training institutes) 8. where needed. trainings. I 2. I discuss with my students what they experience in my 2. adjust my 2. I visit conferences and meetings of my subject matter or 2. I read about training opportunities (e. leaflets or websites 2. newspapers.77 .18 .73 .50 3.67 .34 . I analyse a problem in my practice thoroughly before 2.82 .02 .44 7.64 .49 feedback on my teaching 6.69 .57 . 2.41 2.42 literature says about them 12.74 .39 them 7.54 . I participate in schooling and training sessions within the 2. I deal with problems in my teaching by looking at what the 1.g.25 . I participate in professional development activities outside 2.86) 1.00 .59 .11 .41 5. Descriptive statistics of the items and the scales representing the three CPD activities. I ask my colleagues to attend some of my lessons to get 1.62 .80 . de Vries et al.71 .g. summer courses.75) 1. Internet) 3.18 .92 . Item-rest Items in questionnaire M SD correlation Updating activities (α = .63 . Table 3.44 4.87 .56 .91 .46 professional association Reflective activities (α = .98 .77 .36 11.71 . I study products from students to understand how my 3.03 .43 teaching practice 3. I read about newly available material (e.20 .62 .42 the school (e. networks) 10.78) 1. I share new teaching ideas with colleagues 3. I read professional journals 2.80 .37 carry out a small research project into possible causes and solutions Collaborative activities (α = . through brochures 2. courses.49 .22 .94 .70 .55 or websites of publishers.62 . I analyse video recordings of my lessons to improve my 1.38 2. I discuss events in my teaching with others to learn from 3. After class. I read about educational reforms and promising practices 3.g. I study subject matter exercise books and teaching materials.94 . 346 S. Once a problem or question arises in my teaching practice.54 (e.79 .44 choosing a solution 9.45 .57 .57 .32 teaching 13.

I share learning experiences with colleagues 2. I write a new curriculum with colleagues 2.48 .001. I use colleagues’ teaching materials in my lessons 2. followed a cluster analysis technique. Table 4 shows the mean scores and standard deviations for the two belief scales and three CPD scales. The second research question.78 .94 .06 .05) non-normal. I talk about the way I deal with events in my lessons with 3.77 . 2009). they appear to hold equally strong student-oriented (M = . T = 3601.51 education 7.94 . related to teachers’ beliefs and participation in the three CPD activities. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice 347 Table 3. and Jonckheere’s tests revealed possible trends in the data.66 16.14 .06.86) and subject matter-oriented (M = . For the first research question. A Kruskal–Wallis test assessed the differences between the two belief orientations for each belief profile.66 . profiles) of relatively homogeneous cases. in which we created sub- groups (i. pertaining to the occurrence of differ- ent belief profiles. I give lessons with colleagues (team teaching) 1. (Continued).52 .66) than in reflective activities (M = .52 11. I prepare lessons with colleagues 2. For the third research question.69 and also significantly more frequently in collaborative activities (M = . we decided to use nonparametric tests (Field. I construct (digital) teaching material with colleagues 2. I discuss improvement and innovation of education at my 2. regarding the relation between the belief profiles and the three CPD activities. we conducted the same tests: the Kruskal–Wallis test to assess differences across the three CPD activities that determined the belief profiles.37 Downloaded by [Northern Alberta Inst of Technology] at 18:57 16 February 2015 10.05 .58).36 . According to the comparison of teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching. we then compared teachers’ participation in the three CPD activities.e.52 5.57 .93 .75 . Results Teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching and participation in CPD For the analysis. ns) were significantly (p < . Therefore.90 . Mann–Whitney tests indicated specifically where the differences existed.89 .58).37 13. using the scores on the two beliefs scales.98 . I experiment with new teaching methods with colleagues 2.34 reflection D(242) = . and Jonckheere’s tests to reveal possible trends in the data.63 . Item-rest Items in questionnaire M SD correlation 4. T = 3108.68) than in reflective activities (M = .17 . Using Wilcoxon signed-rank tests.64 . .61 15. we standardised all the scale scores. the Mann–Whitney tests to determine where the differences exist.86) beliefs. the Wilco- xon signed-rank tests showed that teachers on average participated significantly more frequently in updating activities (M = .53 colleagues 6.54 . we computed mean scores and standard deviations.20 .56 12. I talk to colleagues about what I think is important in 3.74 . For the comparison of teachers’ participation in CPD activities. I discuss scientific educational theories with colleagues 2.52 school with colleagues 9.79 . I study student performance data with colleagues 2. I construct testing and examination materials with colleagues 2.52 14. p < .47 8.76 . r = −.79 .

However. so it seemed reasonable to explore their beliefs about learning and teaching in more detail through a cluster analysis.479.12 258 Subject matter-oriented beliefs .e.01) across the clusters: student-oriented beliefs H(2) = 166. all teachers also exhibited characteristics of both views.10. Mean scores and standard deviations for teachers’ beliefs and teachers’ CPD activities. each of relatively homogeneous cases.86 . The Kruskal–Wallis test showed that the two belief orientations differed significantly (p < .09 251 Collaborative activities . The clustering was rerun with the k-means method. whereas the other half (51%) showed an equal endorsement of both types of beliefs (cluster 3).001. Although the effect was small (r = −.95 .92 .10 258 Reflective activities . Mann–Whitney tests (p < . The scores for the clusters in Table 5 allow us to typify three types of teachers with differing beliefs about learning and teaching. Means and medians for the two types of beliefs per cluster (N = 258). subject matter-oriented beliefs in cluster 1. M SD N Student-oriented beliefs . r = −.11) showed that teachers varied in their beliefs. revealed that all three clusters differed significantly from one another on the student-oriented belief scale.75 .71 . student-oriented beliefs in cluster 2).66.15).81 .05. Table 5 presents the scores (means and medians) of the belief scales of each cluster.68). p < . than in collaborative activities (M = . Half of the teachers (49%) reflected dominance by one particular type (i. used to follow up on these findings (see Table 6).89 . The standard deviations of the two belief dimensions (student oriented SD = . three profiles were created.90 .35 and subject matter-oriented beliefs H(2) = 150. T = 12.66). A hierarchical cluster analysis using Ward’s method served to provide some sense of the possible number of clusters. de Vries et al.12.68 . referring to their relative positions Table 5. the differences between clusters 1 and 3 were not.11 255 p < . subject matter oriented SD = .73 . 348 S.86 . Belief profiles We ran the cluster analysis on the scores of the two belief scales for all 258 cases.01).95 Subject matter-oriented beliefs . and three clusters emerged from the dendogram.58 .93 .66 . Thus.80 . the differences between clusters 1 and 2 and between clusters 2 and 3 were significant. For the subject matter-oriented belief scale. teachers on average Downloaded by [Northern Alberta Inst of Technology] at 18:57 16 February 2015 also participated significantly more frequently in updating activities (M = .75 . which iteratively estimated the cluster means and assigned each case to the cluster for which its distance from the cluster mean was the smallest.11 260 Updating activities . Cluster 1 Cluster 2 Cluster 3 (n = 52) (n = 76) (n = 130) M Mdn M Mdn M Mdn Student-oriented beliefs . Table 4.

we can refer to an order of rank of the three belief profiles. In the Mann–Whitney tests (see Table 8). J = 13.66 .39.66 . we label it the combined student-oriented and subject matter-oriented profile (or STOSMO profile). z = 5. for both student-oriented beliefs.33.65 .70 Reflective activities .69 .61 .56 .52 −. the dominant third cluster (cluster 3 = 51%) was characterised by relatively high student orientation and subject matter orientation scores. Jonckheere’s tests revealed significant trends in the data: from the SMO.12 on the three scales.62 Collaborative activities . as did the SMO profile. The Kruskal–Wallis test showed that the three CPD activities differed significantly (p < . r = .54 . r = . Student-oriented beliefs Subject matter-oriented beliefs U z r U z r Cluster 1 – cluster 2 949 −5.678. The second cluster (cluster 2 = 29%) earned an average score on stu- dent orientation and a relatively low score on subject matter orientation. contin- uing to the STO and concluding with the STOSMO profile. but the SMO and STO profiles did not differ significantly from each other.62 ns −. the STO profile differed from the STOSMO profile. Therefore. J = 18.81 Cluster 2 – cluster 3 964 −9.45 81 −9. so we refer to the teachers in this cluster as predominantly student oriented (STO profile).79 2868 −1. With regard to collaborative activities. Relationships between belief profiles and CPD activities Table 7 presents the scores of the three CPD activities for each belief profile.65 .20). For the updating activities. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice 349 Table 6. Table 7.58 .61 . the SMO profile differed from the STO profile and from the STOSMO profile.76 −.61 . Results of the Mann–Whitney tests comparing the belief orientations between clusters.01) across belief profiles: updating activities (H(2) = 12. Means and medians for CPD activities per belief profile (N = 242). it appeared that the three belief profiles differed significantly on reflective activities. but the differ- ences between the STO and STOSMO profiles were not significant.69 . The first cluster (cluster 1 = 20%) was characterised by a rela- Downloaded by [Northern Alberta Inst of Technology] at 18:57 16 February 2015 tively low student orientation and a relatively high subject matter orientation. the medians (Table 5) of the separate beliefs increased. and subject matter-oriented beliefs.70 .83.31.07 −.69 216 −11.66) and collaborative activities (H(2) = 18.67 . z = 13. Cluster 1 Cluster 2 Cluster 3 SMO profile STO profile STOSMO profile (n = 51) (n = 73) (n = 118) M Mdn M Mdn M Mdn Updating activities . reflective activi- ties (H(2) = 27.80 Cluster 1 – cluster 3 0 −10.65 .54 .83 −.636. Finally.26 −.80). Teach- ers in this cluster therefore can be defined as predominantly subject matter oriented (SMO profile). Therefore.

J = 12. with lower scores on one and dominance of the other role. a teacher might decide to participate less in reflection than in updating or collaboration. 2009). Table 8. 2009). such that they fulfil both roles as knowledge experts and competent deliverers of knowledge. Results of the Mann–Whitney tests comparing the CPD activities between belief profiles. .10 1356 −2. in line with the prediction that teachers exhibit characteristics of both views (OECD. 2009. 2009.52. With regard to participation in the three CPD activities.255. 350 S. the higher the belief profile is ranked.58 −. z = 3.19 −.45 −. Teachers in the Netherlands obviously differ in their belief structures.12 STOSMO profile Downloaded by [Northern Alberta Inst of Technology] at 18:57 16 February 2015 Jonckheere’s tests of possible trends in the data revealed small but significant results: as teachers move into higher ranked belief profiles (from SMO to STO to STOSMO).99.625. z = 3.230. 2012) and turn into its more passive and maladaptive counterpart. the medians of all three CPD activities increased (see Table 7): updating activities. J = 12. r = .17 3181 −3. Van Driel et al. It also confirms the view that considers the two belief orientations as two distinct dimensions of teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching.22 3708 −1. ascending (i. That is.. r = . 2007).38 1788 −4. reflective activities.25.11 −.27 STO profile SMO profile – 2103 −3.04 −. The explanation for this finding might involve the nature of reflection.. 2008. the higher the teacher’s participation in CPD.23 1279 −2.e.93. the teachers in our study showed significantly more participation in updating and collaborative activities than in reflective activities (see also Dijkstra.61 ns −. and collaborative activities. Updating activities Reflective activities Collaborative activities U z r U z r U z r SMO profile – 1634 −1. we have explored the relationship between teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching and their participation in CPD. r = . The other half of teachers belong to the STO (29%) or SMO (20%) profile. The mean scores of teachers’ beliefs show an equal endorsement of both student and subject matter orientations.22. Half of them belong to the combined STOSMO profile. Tondeur et al. roughly ascending scores on the belief dimensions) teacher profiles (see Vogels. Kwakman.97 −.93 −. To prevent this shift.24 1572 −4. as well as facilitators and activators of students’ learning process. 2005). as recommended by the European Commission (2010) and Verloop (2003). with the highest scores on both dimensions. we succeeded in identifying three distinctive. self-rumination (Takano & Tanno. Van Eekelen.31. but which in practice can tend to overemphasise shortcomings and anomalies (Korthagen.32 STOSMO profile STO profile – 3400 2. Pertaining to the question of whether teachers can be grouped according to their belief structures. 2003.16 ns −. which is active and problem solving. z = 4. J = 12. Conclusions and discussion With this study. de Vries et al.

Our measures of beliefs about learning and teaching also could be more fine-grained (Canrinus. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice 351 Our examination of the link between the belief profiles and teachers’ participa- tion in CPD showed several significant relationships: the higher the rank of the belief profile (i. which should have positive relationships with teachers’ participation in CPD (Bandura. we describe the connections between teacher beliefs and their participa- tion in CPD activities. 2010).. higher scores on subject matter and student orientation). time and type of initial teacher education. Limitations and further research This study has some limitations that suggest directions for research. In particular. Geijsel et al.. in what way and how do the resulting belief systems relate to teachers’ participation in CPD and teaching practices. OECD. Subject matter orientation cannot be neglected though. the STO profile score was comparable to the mean scores and the STOSMO profile scored significantly beyond the mean scores (cf. The SMO profile scored significantly below the mean scores of the CPD activities (except for updating). Further investigations are needed into the relations among teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching. Another related area for research would be the interconnections across the different types of beliefs: about learning and teaching. explorative study. These investigations might provide explanations of the connections we found. 2010). The way we measured participation in CPD .. 2009. as well as insights into context-related factors. the higher the teacher’s participation in CPD. we only hint at the connections between teacher beliefs about learning and teaching and their participation in CPD activities. rather than attempting to explain them. 1986). years of experience. This result partly confirmed the findings from previous research (Becker & Riel. 2006). its reliance on self-reports. Do all three types of beliefs connect in a belief system (Pajares. 1998) and self-efficacy beliefs (Bandura. the belief profile aspect that appears most crucial in relation to participation in CPD seems to be the level of student orienta- tion. such as the school climate and educa- tional leadership. which is acceptable for this early. as well as students’ learning outcomes? Other limitations to this study include its geographic boundary. However. their actual participation in CPD and their teaching practice and students’ learning outcomes. in this case combined with a high student orientation.e. 1993. underlying epistemological beliefs about the nature of knowledge and learning (Schommer. the lower the participation in CPD). the desirable STOSMO profile also encompassed a high subject matter orientation. Kubler LaBoskey. Runhaar et al. 2000. Therefore. We found symmetry between teachers’ student orientation and their own learning (a higher student orientation means higher participation in CPD). 1992). collaboration). because teachers must fulfil both roles. A high subject matter orientation combined with a low student orientation (SMO profile) resulted in low CPD participation. 1993. preferably at the highest levels.. Furthermore. Further investigations with larger samples are needed to provide clarity into teacher-related factors such as subject matter. Goddard et al. 2001. 2009). Van Veen & Sleegers. It limits the interpretation of these findings in terms of their implications for teachers and teaching though. however. Van Veen et al. and congruency issues between beliefs and practices (Van Cooten & Van Bergen. 2009. we could only partially confirm the Downloaded by [Northern Alberta Inst of Technology] at 18:57 16 February 2015 link between teachers’ subject matter orientation and a lack of interest in teachers’ own learning (the higher the subject matter orientation. 2000. in this study.

applying and evaluating new educational practices based on teaching and learning issues selected by the experienced teachers. Our measure of participation in CPD also did not include any information about the content. This examination and. Clarke & Hollingsworth. Desimone. A suitable working and learning context for (prospective) teachers may be a school that is organised as a learning environment for both students and (with a shared vision of education. in conjunction with participation in CPD. 2009.. (2010) and Waslander (2007) concur. how? substantial literature on ‘teacher change’ (e. both practices and beliefs become objects of reflection (Richardson. Teachers with an SMO profile (20%) rarely engage in reflection. adjustment of beliefs should start in teacher education programs (Brownlee. In action research projects (De Vries et al. a group of teachers observes live classrooms and collects data on teaching and learning. should be encouraged to move towards a STOSMO profile. and sufficient time and support) teachers (Little. 1998) gives us some indications. focus on learning by students. 2002. 2008). 1998). 2002). in conjunction with explicit examination of beliefs. Beijaard. Longitudinal studies also will be required to determine if interventions to enhance teachers’ reflections on their beliefs about learning and teaching. in practice. developing. Guskey. 2011). 2002. if necessary. & Chik. really lead to sustained change (Evans & Kozhevnikova. and if so. such as reflection and collaboration when ‘I ask my colleagues to attend some of my lessons in order to get feedback on my teaching’. 2002b). Van Veen et al. Ponte. warrants further study. the findings of this study have some key implications. Suitable CPD activities for (prospective) teachers. we must ask if adjustments or changes in beliefs are possible.g. which fails to account for some overlap in CPD activities. Guskey. 1998). Richardson. elaborate and integrate into their existing systems of knowledge and beliefs (Borko & Putnam. Tillema. 1996. quality or depth of learning (Vermunt & Endedijk. Considering belief characteristics. include learning studies (Lo. which they collaboratively analyse. to improve students’ learning of specific objects and to facilitate teachers’ learning in authentic situations and in col- laboration with others (Lewis. Downloaded by [Northern Alberta Inst of Technology] at 18:57 16 February 2015 Practical implications Despite these limitations. Gow & Kember. They. teachers need a language for talking and thinking about their own practices (Freeman. 1996). 2005) and action research projects (De Vries. Borko & Putnam. 2004. Richardson. 1991). In learning studies. Perry. the belief profiles we revealed and their relationships with teachers’ participation in CPD represent important findings from the perspective of teacher quality and the quality of student learning in Dutch education. In particular. along with teachers with an STO profile (29%). 2008. teachers combine different CPD activities. Review articles by Lomos. Hofman. & Murata. reflective and collaborative activities into three separate sets. 2003. through opportunities to confront the potential inadequacy of their beliefs and the provision of new information that they can examine. They also need support to make their beliefs explicit. 2002. Because beliefs tend to be implicit. In teacher change theories (Clarke & Hollingsworth. 1993. Yet we divided the items for the updating. 2006. de Vries et al. . and their participation in collabora- tion is significantly lower than that of teachers from the two other profiles. and Bosker (2011). & Buitink. 2006). 2011). 2000). Richardson. Pong. experienced and student teachers work closely together. 352 S.

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