Pathways that Inspire Us, İstanbul, Turkey, 4 - 05 May 2018, pp.30
Nothing in this world is so elusive yet so powerful as our beliefs as they have the power to dictate the direction of our lives for good or bad. As Pajares, (1992) notes, beliefs are the mental constructs of experience often condensed and integrated into schemata. The main function of a belief is guiding and determining behavior as they are the “representation of reality that has enough validity, for a particular purpose under any circumstance” (Abelson, as cited in Pajares 1992, p. 131).
Teachers hold a variety of beliefs that are derived from personal learning and teaching experiences and cognitive input about teaching and learning usually referred to as teacher cognition (Borg, 2009). The field of ELT has been interested in teacher cognition for the past 30 years. And yet, it seems that more research needs to be undertaken in order to understand and manage the relationship between what teachers think, know and believe (Larenas et al., 2013).
The question of what inspires us as teachers and educators is intimately related to our
belief systems which may be empowering or disempowering. What really prevents us from
doing what we are really capable of is disempowering habits. What drives us to become empowered as individuals, teachers and trainers is and become the best person, teacher or trainer that we are is indeed a messy issue but one that needs to be addressed. This plenary session will explore what teachers think, know and believe from a personal point of view. It will offer personal storied narrative examples from my own teaching and training experiences in both inservice and preservice contexts. It is hoped that this session will inspire teachers and educators to use story and image “as a tool to reflect on their own teaching practices, beliefs and understandings” (Golombek, 2009, p.158).