Belief systems have a role in shaping the performance of teachers and principles – that’s what MU researcher Noelle Witherspoon-Arnold has found. According to Witherspoon-Arnold, educators with strong belief systems are more connected to their work and their students, and they are more likely to be social justice-oriented than educators without strong belief systems. But “belief system” doesn’t always mean religion – and whatever that system is, there are often tensions at play.
We sat down with her to find out more. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.