New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

The Impact of Teachers' Philosophical Beliefs on Pedagogy at the International School of Amsterdam

Mary C. Kelly, International School Amsterdam (The Netherlands)


Research indicates that teachers’ philosophical beliefs have a profound effect on what they teach and how they choose to teach. Being curious as to whether this was the case, I carried out doctoral level research that explored the beliefs and practices of three seasoned International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme teachers at the International School of Amsterdam. They were teachers of Science, English Literature, and Spanish. The case study focused specifically upon teachers’ views on knowledge (epistemology) and the fundamental nature of reality and being (ontology), given that a combination of these beliefs forms the base of individual worldviews. I wondered whether an unearthing and contemplation of worldviews could play a role in the continued personal and professional development of experienced teachers. The study was positioned within the constructivist-interpretive research paradigm and, therefore, allowed for the emergence of a holistic and contextualized understanding of teachers’ beliefs and practices. Findings indicated that the disciplinary areas and teaching methodologies preferred by the research participants corresponded closely to their philosophical beliefs. In addition, their ways-of-being, the universal concepts they are drawn to, their impressions on the nature of learners, their unique approaches to constructivism, and their views on emergent learning all seemed to align with their beliefs and perceptions.  This session is an opportunity for you to contemplate and discuss the relevance and value of exploring the philosophical beliefs and worldviews science teachers’ within your own professional context.


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