Our ideas need an ownership

Autonomy The education system can make provisions to enable teachers to align their training beliefs with thier teaching process.

A belief is an idea which may be consciously or unconsciously held and it serves as a guide to thought and behaviour. What teachers do in the classrooms is a reflection of what they believe and what they know.

For example, some teachers believe that children should not make any mistakes when they speak a language. This belief leads to the practice of punishing children whenever they commit mistakes in their attempts to speak or write in another language.

Also, teachers’ belief that the use of mother tongue is absolutely necessary for teaching a second language like English results in adopting translation method in the classroom.

A teacher’s beliefs about teaching and learning may be deeply influenced (positively or negatively) by their own experiences as learners during teacher education, which may overweigh the effects of what they do in the classroom (‘teachers teach as they are taught, not as they are taught to teach’) can be deep-rooted resistance to change can exert a persistent long-term influence on their instructional practices.

However, it is also important to note that teachers’ beliefs are not always reflected in what they do in the classroom.

Many educators observe that they do not see a match between what teachers learn in in-service training rooms and their classroom teaching. They report that no substantial changes happen in the classroom as a result of in-service training.

A hurdle in the system

This may be true to a great extent as teachers may be willing to change their classroom behaviours and practices but the context in which they work may not be supportive in nature.

For instance, some teachers know and believe that learning a language can be advantageous as it can aid them in meaningful contexts and therefore help create opportunities for students to use the language in a variety of situations. This, in turn, attempts to develop skills among students in using a language by conducting meaningful activities.

However, the large, multi-grade classroom is a real constraint and it is a challenge to involve all the students in a 40-minute session. Teachers also understand the importance of building a language-rich atmosphere in the classroom, but the lack of resources is a major barrier.

It is also observed that in some schools, two or three classrooms are separated by a wooden barrier. The noise from one classroom affects the other class.

In such a scenario, a teacher’s attempt to develop students’ listening skills is in vain because students are not able to hear what the teacher is teaching as they are disturbed by the noise of the adjacent classroom.

Therefore, it is difficult to conclude that teachers’ classroom practices always reflect their stated beliefs about language teaching and learning. Additionally, many teachers are concerned about the results and so their teaching is test-oriented.

They attempt to teach in a way their supervisors or subject inspectors expect.

Breaking rituals

Contextual factors such as prescribed curricula, lack of time and the need to prepare students for examinations may hinder teachers’ attempts to teach in line with their beliefs.

Hence, the education system and educators need to consider improving teachers’ beliefs and their classroom practices in order to bridge the inconsistencies between teachers beliefs and their teaching practices. 

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