Teaching in Mind

Helping Teachers Mindfully Transform Education

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The Teaching in Mind website has been refocused on how the unconscious beliefs and values of teachers influence the education of our children. Since the 2nd edition of Teaching in Mind: How Teacher Thinking Shapes Education was published in 2010, the lives of teachers and students have undergone major changes. To this end, our goal is to publish an updated edition of Teaching in Mind by the end of 2017. Meanwhile, the key ideas about the effects of teacher beliefs can still be found here. New articles on the topic will be added as they are completed.

Other Articles

Articles about learning and assessment, historic foundations of education, current issues in education, and transforming education that previously appeared on this site can now be found at our sister site, Learning in Mind.

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TEACHING IN MIND:

How Teacher Thinking Shapes Education

by Judith Lloyd Yero, MA

"It is what teachers think, what teachers believe, and what teachers do at the level of the classroom that ultimately shapes the kind of learning
that young people get."
~ Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan

T

here are thousands of books and programs on the market for teachers, but precious few about teachers. Professional development (PD) focuses on students, on discipline, on standards, on assessments, on the curriculum, or on teaching methods, but rarely on the teacher.

Commonly, PD books and courses offer teachers advice about what they should do. However, the assumption that every teacher will use this information in the same way and with the same results ignores a critical factor—differences in the way individual teachers think. While theorists address individual differences among students, teachers are assumed to be a constant in the educational equation rather than what is arguably the most important variable.

In Teaching in Mind, you will learn:

Research has shown that, through their conscious or unconscious participation (or lack thereof), individual teachers have the power to make or break reform efforts. They shape the curriculum according to their own beliefs, teach their personal values through an implicit curriculum, and organize their classrooms in accordance with their own unique definitions of teaching and learning. Typically, teachers are not only unaware that they are doing this, but they are unable to verbalize the beliefs, values, and definitions that form the foundation of their teaching. Once revealed, these factors give insight into questions such as:

A shift in perspectives from how teachers should teach to what they already do and why they do it offers tremendous insights into every facet of the educational process. Teacher thinking is subjective. Because it doesn't lend itself to quantitative measurement, it has been largely ignored by traditional research.

During the 1990s, researchers showed a growing awareness of teachers' thought processes. Studies on "teacher thinking" were done with both pre-service and practicing teachers. The results of those studies were generally published in academic journals where practicing teachers, bound by time constraints, are unlikely to see them. In today's standards and assessments environment, concerns for anything beyond raising test scores have all but disappeared.

Teaching In Mind synthesizes the emerging theories for practicing teachers through dozens of practical examples demonstrating how a teacher's conceptualization of teaching and learning profoundly influences that teacher's behavior. Of equal importance, the book contains many exercises designed to help teachers identify and examine their own thought processes.

For those who require the verification of experts, literally hundreds of sources from disciplines including education, linguistics, cognitive psychology, and the neurosciences are provided in endnotes and references. However, Teaching In Mind is not a theoretical discussion. It is an immediately useful plan of action for practicing teachers. In addition to examining alternative beliefs, values, and metaphors, Teaching In Mind explores a variety of cognitive processes relevant to teaching. Thought viruses, dichotomous thinking, categorization/labeling, and some specific ways that people "know" are just a few of the topics included. Because they form the foundation for teacher beliefs, many presuppositions of the conventional "wisdom" of education are reexamined.

Educational theorists Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves have argued that, "Teacher development...involves more than changing teachers' behavior. It also involves changing the person the teacher is." Teaching In Mind will help teachers explore their unconscious thinking processes to determine who they are now. In addition, the book will help teachers identify changes they may choose to make in themselves to create educational environments in which both they and their students will thrive.

The power to change education for better of worse is and always has been in the hands of teachers. It is past time for educators to examine the critical role their power plays in the system that is education. It is past time for teachers to assess the soundness of the foundation on which that power rests. It is past time for teachers to exercise that power mindfully and with wisdom and compassion. They owe their students nothing less.

Table of Contents Read the Preface Read the Introduction Order Now

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New!

The Teaching in Mind website has been refocused on how the unconscious beliefs and values of teachers influence the education of our children. Since the 2nd edition of Teaching in Mind: How Teacher Thinking Shapes Education was published in 2010, the lives of teachers and students have undergone major changes. To this end, our goal is to publish an updated edition of Teaching in Mind by the end of 2017. Meanwhile, the key ideas about the effects of teacher beliefs can still be found here. New articles on the topic will be added as they are completed.


Other Articles

Articles about learning and assessment, historic foundations of education, current issues in education, and transforming education that previously appeared on this site can now be found at our sister site, Learning in Mind.

Email Updates

Want to be notified when the latest articles and/or information is added?

Sign up for Email Updates