Teachers' beliefs of intelligence and their implications for classroom practice: A case study

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Teachers beliefs and their implicit theories about their students intelligence, abilities and the ways in which they learn, determines their approach to teaching. Many teachers in Pakistan conceive intelligence as an ability possessed by a few individuals in their classrooms. This notion has lead to teacher's categorisation of their students according to their cognitive abilities. On the other hand, teachers play an active role in transmitting knowledge to the students through passive participation and rote learning. This makes student receivers of knowledge rather than potential users and producers of knowledge. This case study, therefore, explores a teacher's belief about the notion of intelligence and her classroom practices in which the teacher engages. It also studies the implications of these beliefs for her classroom practices. Finding reveals that the teacher had certain beliefs and conceptions about the ability and intelligence of her students and the way they learn. These beliefs have implications for teachers' attitude and behaviour towards different ability groups, their classroom interaction and feedback to their students, the use of pedagogical content knowledge, and their students self-image. The study also reveals that there is a relationship between teacher's beliefs and her practices. This relationship is hindered sometimes by other factors in her workplace. By engaging the teacher in critical reflection on both her beliefs and her practices, the teacher was able to re-conceptualise the implications of her conceptions of intelligence and slightly changed her practices in the classroom. These changed practices brought significant changes in the teachers attitude and students learning which made the teacher re-conceptualise many of her beliefs and conceptions about intelligence.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library