Differences between and within schools: Pupils' and teachers' beliefs about learning

Paul Black*, Joanna Swann, Dylan Wiliam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


A dominant theme throughout this book has been the importance of developing both beliefs and practices in promoting learning how to learn. Quantitative evidence from our LHTL staff questionnaire (Chapters 4 and 8) and qualitative evidence from classroom observations and interviews (Chapter 3) suggest that introducing new practices without understanding or valuing the principles that underpin them can lead to superficial, even mechanical and ritualistic, implementation. And this can apply to both teachers and pupils. If change is to be become embedded and sustained, it needs a deeper commitment to some important underlying beliefs about learning and effective teaching. These provide frameworks for teachers and pupils to, according to Piaget's definition of intelligence, know what to do when they don't know what to do. They also offer potential for what Perrenoud (1998) describes as the regulation of learning processes (see Chapter 1) and for learning as knowledge creation i.e. beyond knowledge acquisition. In this chapter, therefore, we look in more depth at the more general beliefs about, and attitudes towards, learning held by teachers and pupils in our project. These were investigated by designing and administering two questionnaires: one was given to Year 5 (aged 10) and Year 8 (aged 13) pupils in project schools; the other was given to teachers and assistants. Each was administered on two occasions, a year apart during the project's implementation. The results of these surveys are presented below, including analyses of some between-school and within-school differences.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImproving Learning How to Learn
Subtitle of host publicationClassrooms, Schools and Networks
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)0203934318, 9780203934319
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2007


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