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Tool: My beliefs about teaching and learning

Purpose of this tool: Use this as a self-monitoring tool for pushing yourself to make a bigger difference by periodically measuring your beliefs about teaching and learning.

How to use this Tool: Encourage all members of the leadership team to periodically respond in writing to the questions and engage in a conversation about the results. 

Which of these 12 principles match what you believe:  What congruence is revealed by your “walk” and “talk"? Circle one that you need to work on with your staff and design a mini-action plan. A leadership team’s collective initiative could build synergy!
Students learn best within cohesive and caring learning communities.
Students learn more when most of the available time is allocated to curriculum-related activities and the classroom management system emphasizes maintaining their engagement in those activities.
All components of the curriculum are aligned to create a cohesive program for accomplishing instructional purposes and goals.
Teachers can prepare students for learning by providing an initial structure to clarify intended outcomes and cue desired learning strategies.
Students often benefit from working in pairs or small groups to construct understandings or help one another master skills.
The teacher uses a variety of formal and informal assessment methods to monitor progress toward learning goals.
The teacher establishes and follows through on appropriate expectations for learning outcomes. 
To facilitate meaningful learning and retention, content is explained clearly and developed with emphasis on its structure and connections.
Questions are planned to engage students in sustained discourse structured around powerful ideas.
Students need sufficient opportunities to practice and apply what they are learning, and to receive improvement-oriented feedback.
The teacher provides whatever assistance students need to engage them in learning activities productively.
The teacher models and instructs students in learning and self-regulation strategies.

Background to the self-check
. Jere Brophy has identified 12 principles of effective teaching that have emerged from multiple research studies in classrooms. Much of the research support for these principles comes from studies of relationships between classroom processes (measured through observation systems) and student outcomes (most notably, gains in standardized achievement tests). However, some principles are rooted in the logic of instructional design (e.g., the need for alignment among the curriculum goals, content, instructional methods and assessment measures). In addition, attention is paid to emergent theories of teaching and learning and to the standards statements circulated by organizations representing the major school subjects.

The principles rest on a few fundamental assumptions about optimizing curriculum and instruction. For example, an optimal program will feature a mixture of instructional methods and learning activities. Secondly, within any school subject or learning domain, students’ instructional needs change as expertise develops. Thirdly, students should learn at high levels of mastery yet progress through the curriculum steadily. For a comprehensive look, go to http://www.ibe.unesco.org.