This study explored the content and structure of physics teachers' beliefs on teaching and learning in general in relation to their domain-specific beliefs. A questionnaire was administered to secondary school teachers in physics (N = 126) in the Netherlands. The results showed that beliefs about the general and domain-specific goals of physics education formed an interrelated belief system consisting of content-oriented and student-oriented beliefs. Moreover, teachers agreed with the importance of both teacher-regulated and student-regulated learning. Therefore, research on teachers' beliefs should go beyond the often used dichotomy between ‘teacher-focused’ versus ‘student-focused’ education by focusing on the rationale behind ‘appropriate’ teaching behavior.