Friday, January 14, 2011

Aligning your vision and beliefs, part 2: Your beliefs statement

In part one of this series, I descried the concept of aligning your vision and beliefs statements.  In addition, there was a vision reflection exercise and a list of potential “vision killers.”

Today, I will describe in more detail the nature of beliefs statements and offer a few suggestions as to how to go about refining your own beliefs.

Beliefs

Beliefs are important to your school when they are embedded school wide and act as conditions upon which actions should be taken.  In other words, the school should act as if the beliefs were true.  For example, if you (or your school) believes that not all students learn the same way (students learn differently), then you (or the school) should act as if that is true.  To put it another way, a beliefs statement is only as valuable as you (or the school) “walks the talk.”

Suggested criteria for beliefs statements

When examining your beliefs about education, keep these items in mind:

  1. Your beliefs should align with your vision and mission.
  2. Your beliefs are statements about your values.
  3. Your beliefs should guide actions.
  4. Your beliefs should reflect your philosophy of education.
  5. Your beliefs should be practical and specific.
  6. Your beliefs are articulated expressions of your desired outcomes.

Also, each belief carries with it an assumed implication.  These implications refer to the anticipated impact the belief has once it is put into action.  To use the example we used above, if you believe that not all students learn the same way, the implications may be that assignments need to be differentiated and the daily schedule allows for students to meet with teachers at certain points during the day.

In part three…

In parts one and two, vision and beliefs have been explored and ideas presented about how you can refine your statements.  In the final part, part three, the topic turns to mission statements and philosophies of education.

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