Understanding And Conceptualizing The Belief Systems of Teachers
The third way of understanding and conceptualizing the belief systems of teachers reported that the belief systems of the individuals contain all the beliefs in some organized psychological form. The descriptive framework asserts that the beliefs always occur as the part of a system but never independently to one another. There is always some logical relationship of a relation as a matter of attitude. The researchers also explained that the belief system must be the focus of exploration and not the individual beliefs. According to them, beliefs are acquired as well as modified as parts of a belief system and thus the usual approach of the researchers to evaluate the beliefs in isolation to the system must be replaced by exploring the set of beliefs as part of the belief system. The three dimensions of belief systems that are: i. Relationships between the beliefs where the relation can be similar to that between the reasons and conclusions. In such case, one belief is the reason for another belief which means that the second belief is being derived from the first one and is termed as the derivative belief.
On the other hand, some beliefs are not derived from any other beliefs and are basic in nature. Such beliefs are termed as primary beliefs. The psychological strength of the belief that varies for each one within the belief system in which it is held. The beliefs that are more important to an individual are the core beliefs and are psychologically central. On the other hand, there are peripheral beliefs that are lesser important to core beliefs. The relationship between core and peripheral beliefs can be understood as the concentric circles where the beliefs with highest psychological strength are within the core circles while beliefs with lesser strength are in the other circles that are moving towards the perimeter and away from the center. Co-existence of the beliefs that are inconsistent to one another as the beliefs can be organized in the little clusters acting as the protective shields so that any confrontation between the conflicting beliefs within different clusters is not possible. This means that a teacher can also hold incompatible beliefs and is not aware of it until the inconsistency is revealed.
The conceptualization clarifies the greater importance given to core beliefs by some of the teachers. It also identifies the nature of belief change in the light of analytical framework. For example, not all the teachers are able to change the beliefs as evident from the teacher education literature. This is justified under the claim made in this conceptualization that the central and core beliefs are generally difficult to modify because of the strong convictions related to the beliefs. On the other hand, there are higher chances that the peripheral beliefs are altered easily and even integrated with the practice of instructions. Thus, the type of belief influences the possibility of change in the belief.