Higher Education

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 299–325 | Cite as

Revisiting academics' beliefs about teaching and learning

  • Katherine SamuelowiczEmail author
  • John D. Bain


In the last decade, several classifications of the ways in whichacademics conceptualise teaching and learning have been proposed,including our scheme (Samuelowicz and Bain 1992). This paper reassessesthe framework described in our earlier paper, evaluates the adequacy ofthe belief dimensions and categories in that framework and considerswhether there is a `transitional' orientation to teaching and learningas argued by Kember (1997a) in his recent synthesis of the domain.Thirty-nine academics representing a range of disciplines wereinterviewed and in accordance with a `beliefs' framework we sought theirtypical ways of thinking about teaching and learning, and theirdispositions to teach in particular ways. The constant comparison method(Strauss and Corbin 1997) was applied to whole interview transcripts toidentify broad orientations to teaching and learning, which were thenanalysed to identify the qualitatively distinct beliefs constitutingthem. An extended framework of academics' beliefs about teaching andlearning is proposed in which seven orientations are described in termsof nine qualitative belief dimensions. There is considerable overlapwith our previous findings, but there also are some importantrefinements and additions. Three forms of evidence (the qualitativeanalysis itself, a hierarchical clustering based on that analysis, andnarratives of two academics) are presented to demonstrate that there arefundamental differences between teaching-centred and learning-centredorientations to teaching and learning. Thus our data are broadlyconsistent with previously reported evidence, but they provide noempirical support for Kember's (1997a) `transitional' category acting asa bridge between the two major sets of orientations.

academics' beliefs academic staff development beliefs conceptions conceptions of teaching educational beliefs orientations to teaching and learning 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of QueenslandAustralia (author for correspondence; E-mail:
  2. 2.Griffith UniversityAustralia

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