TEACHING IS BELIEVING: PEDAGOGICAL BELIEFS, PRACTICES, AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
On the Cutting Edge (OtCE) uses the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) to characterize teaching practices in hundreds of geoscience classrooms in a range of institution types across the nation. We have conducted and analyzed interviews with a subpopulation of these participants using the Teacher Beliefs Interview (TBI). The TBI is a semi-structured interview with coding maps designed to capture the epistemological beliefs of teachers. Faculty members were selected to represent a range of RTOP scores.
We have found a positive correlation between reformed teaching beliefs and practices. Responses to questions about the instructor’s role and how students learn tended to be student-centered, while responses about how to maximize that learning and identify when it is occurring tended to be more teacher-centered. Instructors with more teacher-centered beliefs are more likely to emphasize lecturing and other traditional instructional practices. Instructors with more student-centered beliefs are more likely to incorporate inquiry-based, active learning teaching techniques in their classrooms. The observed connections between beliefs and practices can suggest topics that need specific attention in professional development programs.