ERIC Number: ED393842
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996
Staff Development through Inquiry: Opening a Pandora's Box of Teacher Beliefs.
This paper argues that teachers' beliefs and attitudes affect not only their instructional decisions and human relationships, but also their willingness to seek professional knowledge, particularly when such knowledge contradicts their beliefs. Results obtained from a case study on K-5 staff development through inquiry are used to illustrate what is considered a pervasive situation. Findings reveal that teachers tended to confuse a strategy or practice with beliefs and that they differed greatly in their views of theory and research and views of teaching and learning. After two years of participation in the study, several teachers commented that interpersonal skills, something seldom taught in teacher education programs, appeared to improve among the staff, suggesting that open-mindedness, empathy, and honest communication were not evident among the participating teachers when the study first began. It is concluded that professional knowledge must include interpersonal skill training as well as research based knowledge. The challenge is to find out how to link knowledge and practice, to convince the public to pay for this career-long staff development, and to persuade teachers that this prolonged training is vital. If teachers are to play a strong role in the current knowledge-oriented society, they must be highly skilled in interpersonal interactions themselves before they can teach it to their students. (Contains 23 references.) (NAV)
Descriptors: Case Studies, Collegiality, Educational Planning, Elementary Education, Elementary School Teachers, Faculty Development, Higher Education, Individual Differences, Inquiry, Inservice Teacher Education, Interpersonal Communication, Interpersonal Relationship, Preservice Teacher Education, Social Integration, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Competencies, Theory Practice Relationship
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Teacher Educators (St. Louis, MO, February 1996).