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English Language Teacher Beliefs

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This book investigates English language teacher beliefs with a focus on understanding teachers’ beliefs in connection with (reflective) practice. Teaching is a multi-faceted, cognitively demanding profession that requires teachers to make active decisions. Teachers cannot simply ‘go through the motions’ of teaching and implement prescribed strategies. Teachers must have attuned understandings of both their contexts and themselves as teachers in order to effectively instruct in the classroom. A key component of this understanding is intertwined with reflective practice. Reflective practice has become a major developmental tool for English language teachers, and key to reflective practice is that teachers examine their own beliefs about teaching and learning (Farrell, 2015). However, the concept of beliefs remains somewhat ambiguous, and its connection to actual classroom practice also remains somewhat unclear. This is not surprising; beliefs are unobservable, dynamic, and often unknown (S. Borg, 2006). Yet, the study of teacher beliefs remains important, especially for teachers themselves who benefit from strategies that allow them to further understand their own beliefs, and how their beliefs impact their teaching.

Drawing on Farrell’s (2015) framework for reflective practice, this book outlines the notion of teacher beliefs along with specific strategies as to how teachers can use reflective practice to understand their beliefs. It book will delve deeply into the various types of beliefs, which include, but are not limited to: General beliefs about teaching and learning; English language teaching beliefs; specific beliefs about various pedagogical strategies; the nature of knowledge itself; teachers’ beliefs about their own capabilities (i.e. self-efficacy).

This book will be a useful tool for all English language teachers and/or teacher educators, but especially useful for teachers who have engaged in the ‘border-crossing’ nature of ELT. Teaching, or learning to teach, in a foreign context complicates matters further as teachers must come to terms with their own beliefs, but also, a new professional context. This book will explicitly address these challenges. Each chapter takes a practical stance, providing readers with an overview of the chapter topic, previous literature, and also some useful exercises for their own professional development. Throughout the book, teachers will be presented with opportunities/strategies to reflect on their own beliefs. These can be used by teachers individually, but also teacher educators preparing new English teachers.

Published: Oct 1, 2025