Change the way you think, and you are halfway to changing the world. —Theodore Zeldin
You may call them beliefs, assumptions, conceptual frames, mental models, or world views.
While for the most part they may be invisible to us, they are likely to have a profound effect on leadership and teaching.
And, as a result, when left unexamined, some of our beliefs may have a profound negative effect on student learning.
Here are 11 such disabling beliefs that provide an often unspoken subtext in countless professional conversations:
1. Some students cannot be expected to learn very much because of their families, economic status, or race.
2. Teaching is a non-intellectual, low-skilled, primarily nurturing activity.
3. Good teachers and leaders are born, not made.
4. Teaching is “telling” and performing.
5. Content is “delivered”; learning is demonstrated by repeating what one has been “told.”
6.. Leadership of change means giving directions. Teachers who do not do as they are directed are “resistant.”
7. For the most part teachers know what to do and how to do it; they just have to be motivated to do it.
6. Because teaching is telling/performing, content is “delivered,” leadership is directing, and the primary challenge of leadership is motivating teachers, continuous improvement results from telling/delivering/directing/motivating.
9. Most significant questions and problems of teaching and learning have one right answer, and an “expert” knows it.
10. Therefore, the primary means of “delivering” professional development “content” is through speakers, workshops, and courses. PowerPoints are essential to such delivery.
11. It takes years to make significant and demonstrable improvements in the quality of professional learning, teaching, and student achievement.
Are there any dysfunctional beliefs that you would add to or subtract from this list?