In his work, Cognitive Coaching: A Foundation for Renaissance Schools, Art Costa identifies the six belief systems in education.  At an in-service that I took with Dr.Costa, the large group of attending urban educators was asked to identify their individual belief systems.  The room buzzed as people confidently moved to their chosen corners, all espousing their own belief system.  (I was lost and did not know where to go.)  At the end of the exercise, Dr. Costa brought us all back together, leading us to the understanding that each of the six belief systems is important and that no classroom, no school, no district, no state, no nation can be without each one of them working together.  

Further, education has been in a constant state of re-reform, each decade ripping apart one of the belief systems that has just been built, completely replacing it with the framework for another one of the belief systems.  Hopefully we will all come to an educated understanding that will keep us from our folly and get us building a strong foundation using ALL the belief systems together.  The six belief systems are listed below.  As you read them, figure out your favorite and then analyze how your belief system supports the other belief systems.  We need each other.   

•  Cognitive Processing – developing rational thought processes using query and problem solving to provide a basis for decision-making; teaching based on organized and deliberate exploration, analysis, synthesis and evaluation for the purpose of guiding the student in a future world we can only begin to imagine

•  Self-Actualization – student-centered learning, bringing out the best in a student’s creativity and potential, in which the teacher values choice and self-directed learning, reaching the learner in their learning style grounded in a democratic methodology

•  Technologism – an emphasis on accountability based on measured learning, using data to guide instruction, providing sufficient time-on-task for the student to fairly acquire the needed learning

•  Academic Rationalism – passing on the knowledge and wisdom of the culture, which will mold and shape the lives of students in their endeavors, valuing high academic standards and content mastery

•  Social Reconstructionism – concerned with the problems of society, the learner is a member of a group and needs to learn and express responsibility towards others and the environment, dealing with the injustices and ills of our society, working for a better world

•  Character Education – a system whereby behavioral norms are taught and modeled by the adults, the goal being the transmission of these norms to the student that he/she may live his/her life in accordance with them.

The classroom that embraces the six belief systems would value the student, use assessment to guide decision-making, be rich in content, build specific thinking skills into the process of learning and include service learning projects, connecting to the community and beyond.  The teacher would build on the strength of his/her own preference, in ever widening, inclusive circles, seeking a balance between the belief systems, realizing that in balance lies honesty.