The contribution of personal epistemological beliefs to uptake in in-service professional development: a case-study
Formal in-service professional development programmes may help novice teachers or those new to a school adapt to targeted teaching approaches in their new workplace. However, the extent to which their practice changes in response to in-service learning may depend on prior beliefs. This longitudinal case study explored in-depth the personal epistemological beliefs of four pre-sessional English language teachers, international and national, in an English-medium university context in Turkey during a year-long, formal in-service teacher education course, and for 6 months after the course. It investigated changes in classroom practice and beliefs about knowledge and knowing, teaching and learning, and professional learning as a result of in-service learning. Interviews, classroom observations and reflective journals underpinned a hermeneutic analysis which compared informants’ beliefs and classroom practice over time using an existing theoretical model. Underlying patterns of change in epistemological beliefs show belief type, depth, and sophistication, as well as context, as major factors in the uptake and sustainability of targeted teaching approaches in this context. In-service educators’ knowledge of a teacher’s epistemological beliefs profile can lead to more effective and sustainable uptake in formal in-service professional learning through differentiated, practice-based interventions.