Teacher Beliefs in Higher Education


  • Leila E. Ferguson Høyskolen Kristiania


Higher education teachers’ beliefs about knowledge (epistemic beliefs) likely influence their practice. In this paper I present relevant literature and tentative findings from a small exploratory pilot study on teachers’ beliefs about evaluating information about education from the internet, suggesting that they value personal sources of knowledge more than they appreciate the need to critically evaluate claims considering multiple informational sources about education. Though based on a small sample (N = 11), these findings align with literature on teacher beliefs that forwards the idea that higher education teachers’ epistemic beliefs are based on prior experiences. In light of this tentative finding, as well as intervention research on epistemic beliefs, I present proposed features of an intervention to encourage belief changes in teachers at the tertiary level that are enrolled in educational training programs. Intervention components include having teachers engage in reflection on existing epistemic beliefs and implications for practice, as well as encouraging them to act in accordance with their research-based beliefs in their daily practice. Given the size of this study and its building on research at the primary and secondary levels, as well as some research from higher education, the paper should be seen as a tentative suggestion for future intervention research.


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