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Teachers’ professional beliefs about their roles and the pupils’ roles in the school

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In recent decades, many educational reforms have been implemented that aim to effect a change in teachers’ and pupils’ roles by promoting meaningful learning. Yet, little is known about how teachers perceive these roles as a part of their professional belief system. In this study, 68 Finnish comprehensive school teachers were interviewed. The data were content analysed. The results showed that teachers recognised the importance of facilitating pupils’ active role in learning, but still mostly considered pupils as passive in school practices. Moreover, teachers perceived pupils as active educational participants most often outside the classroom, in informal school settings. Correspondingly, teachers described themselves primarily as knowledge transmitters in pupils’ learning. In their professional community, teachers perceived themselves mostly as reproducers of knowledge instead of facilitators of learning. There was also variation between the teachers as well as within a single teacher’s beliefs.
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Keywords: Finnish comprehensive school; context-dependency; teachers’ and pupils’ role; teachers’ professional beliefs

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland 2: School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education, University of Eastern Finland, Savonlinna, Finland 3: Department of Teacher Education, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland

Publication date: April 3, 2014

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