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by Charlotte Danielson
Table of Contents
An essential “filter” for a school's operations is its belief structure—the guiding principles that influence all aspects of its program. Some of these beliefs are grounded in research; others are not. Whatever the case, beliefs guide the thinking not only of school staff, but of students and parents as well; when stated explicitly, beliefs can fuel a school's vision, enabling all in the school to come together around a common purpose.
The beliefs held by staff cast a very long shadow over school practices. In fact, in order to create a school in which all students fulfill their learning potential, the school staff must accept a certain set of beliefs and perspectives regarding the school, its culture, and its students, and must implement policies and practices based on those beliefs. If educators approach challenges in a fatalistic, rather than problem-solving, manner—if they take the view, for example, that “these kids just aren't good in math”—then their students will almost certainly fail.
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