Teaching is complex and teacher practice is influenced by teacher knowledge, beliefs, and experiences, children’s characteristics, administrative and parental expectations, and resources available. This entry provides information on teacher beliefs: how beliefs influence behavior, sources of beliefs, and how beliefs are formed and changed. The focus of this entry is on two distinct belief strands: (1) teacher beliefs about the nature of learning and teaching and (2) teacher beliefs about their own abilities.


Teacher beliefs are major determinates of classroom practice. Beliefs differ from knowledge in that knowledge is based on objective facts or evidence whereas beliefs are based on affect, subjective evaluation, and judgment. Beliefs are referred to as attitudes, feelings, values, or dispositions. Beliefs influence teacher perceptions, judgments, and decisions every day. In early ...

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