The Power of Belief

  • Geoff N. MastersEmail author
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 20)


This essay has been written to honour Professor Phillip Hughes, an extraordinary Australian and one of the most outstanding educational thinkers this country has produced. Through his unswerving belief in the capacity of education not only to transform individual lives, but also to create a more just and harmonious society, Phil has challenged all of us to set and pursue higher expectations. These include higher expectations of the school curriculum to develop capacities for reflection, curiosity and creative thinking as well as personal values; higher expectations for the equitable distribution of educational opportunities; and higher expectations of education’s contribution to ameliorating global tensions and challenges. One of Phil’s early teachers, Alison Smith, encouraged him to set high expectations by asking, ‘Is it your best?’ Throughout his career Phil has set exceptionally high expectations of himself while promoting self-belief in others. In his own words, ‘for all of us as teachers, the final victory is to retain our faith in people, in their capacity to grow’ Maclean (Learning and teaching for the twenty-first century: Festschrift for Professor Phillip Hughes, Springer, Bonn, 2007).


  1. Brown, G. (2009). Review of education in mathematics, data science and quantitative disciplines. Report to the Group of Eight Universities, Canberra, Australia.Google Scholar
  2. Darling-Hammond, L. (2004). Standards, accountability, and school reform. Teachers College Record, 106(6), 1047–1085.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dweck, C. S. (2000). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality and development. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  4. Maclean, R. (2007). Learning and teaching for the twenty-first century: Festschrift for Professor Phillip Hughes. Bonn: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Rizzolatti, G., & Fabbri-Destro, M. (2010). Mirror neurons: From discovery to autism. Experimental Brain Research, 200((3–4), 223–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Rubinstein, H. (2009). A National Strategy for Mathematical Sciences in Australia. Report prepared in consultation with the Australian Council of Heads of Mathematical Sciences, Melbourne, Australia.Google Scholar
  7. Wiliam, D. (2007). Once you know what they’ve learned, what do you do next? Designing curriculum and assessment for growth. In R. Lissitz (Ed.), Assessing and modeling cognitive development in school. Maple Grove, MN: JAM Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Council for Educational ResearchCamberwellAustralia

Personalised recommendations