The research project “Proliefs“ (Professional Beliefs) focuses on teachers’ beliefs as an important aspect of teachers’ professional competence which influences their instructional behavior. Teachers’ beliefs can be divided into intuitive beliefs and professional beliefs. The aim of many teacher training programs is to foster the development of reflected professional beliefs.
The project “Proliefs” examines beliefs about cooperative learning and class management. In six studies we will investigate intuitive, non-reflected beliefs and aim to identify relevant factors which impede or support the development of reflected, professional beliefs. This research is based on a cognitive-affective model of belief change which proposes that there are special motivational requirements in order to achieve a profound change of teachers’ beliefs.
Study 1: The influence of motivational, affective and cognitive factors on belief change in primary school teachers (questionnaire study conducted during a professional development workshop as part of the project „Individuelle Förderung und adaptive Lern-Gelegenheiten in der Grundschule“, IGEL)
Study 2: The influence of motivational, affective and cognitive factors on belief change in middle school teachers (questionnaire study conducted during a professional development workshop in cooperation with the project „Conditions and Consequences of Classroom Assessment“, Co²CA)
Study 3: Beliefs of primary school teachers concerning cooperative learning and class management (interview study)
Study 4: The interaction between motivational, affective and cognitive factors and beliefs of primary school teachers concerning cooperative learning and class management (internet based questionnaire study)
Study 5: The influence of motivational, affective and cognitive factors on belief change in student teachers (questionnaire study during a lecture; pilot study & main study)
Study 6: The influence of the perception of learning situations on student teachers’ learning (experiment)
Taken together, these studies indicate that (prospective) teachers differ in their beliefs and that teachers' beliefs do change following participation in a teacher education course designed to support the development of professional beliefs. Interventions for (prospective) teachers seem to be successful if they activate intensive cognitive processing. The preparedness for intensive processing depends on the teachers’ appraisal of the learning situation as either challenging or threatening. This, in turn, is influenced by individual resources of (prospective) teachers like self-efficacy and time.
The “Proliefs” research project is part of the IDeA Center in Frankfurt and was funded until September 2014.