Medium 9781475819373

Tep Vol 22-N2

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Teacher Education and Practice, a peer-refereed journal, is dedicated to the encouragement and the dissemination of research and scholarship related to professional education. The journal is concerned, in the broadest sense, with teacher preparation, practice and policy issues related to the teaching profession, as well as being concerned with learning in the school setting. The journal also serves as a forum for the exchange of diverse ideas and points of view within these purposes. As a forum, the journal offers a public space in which to critically examine current discourse and practice as well as engage in generative dialogue. Alternative forms of inquiry and representation are invited, and authors from a variety of backgrounds and diverse perspectives are encouraged to contribute. Teacher Education & Practice is published by Rowman & Littlefield.

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7 Articles

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Editorial: On Dispositions and the Preparation of Teachers

ePub

PATRICK M. JENLINK

Knowledge of methods alone will not suffice: there must be the desire, the will, to employ them. This desire is an affair of personal disposition.

—Dewey (1933, p. 30)

A disposition to act is not the same thing as acting on a disposition.

—Rodriguez (1993, p. 212)

Educational discourse is replete with the references to the ubiquitous trinity of knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Nowhere is this more notable than in the discourse concerning teacher preparation programs. And whereas the nature of knowledge and skills necessary to preparing teachers is generally recognized and understood, the nature of disposition is perhaps best characterized as imprecise—an ambiguity of meaning in the discourse—in that it directs attention to a domain of human attributes or habits of mind distinctively different from knowledge and skills.

It is on the imprecise, ambiguous nature of dispositions that we as teacher educators must focus our attention. For it is in the quest for understanding the dispositions of the teacher that we are presented with the following questions: What makes for a “real teacher”? Is a disposition an integral part of the makeup, structure, or being of the individual as a real teacher? Who decides that dispositional nature of a real teacher? Moreover, and of quintessential importance, how can we recognize or even conceive the idea of disposition necessary to preparing a real teacher if we have not critically examined our own dispositional makeup as teacher educators.

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Thin-Slicing Teacher Dispositions Through Assessment Practices

ePub

CAROLYN CLAYTOR SHIELDS

KELLAH M. EDENS

ABSTRACT: The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education mandates that accredited institutions assess teacher candidates’ dispositions. Measurement practices vary widely, and consensus about how to validly and reliably assess the difficult and elusive construct of dispositions has not been reached. This article presents the initial development of an attributional theory framework and policy-capturing methodology for assessing dispositions. It focuses on the implementation of an instrument that uses classroom attributional scenarios to capture, or thin-slice, beginning teacher candidates’ decisions during rapid cognition. Information is quickly gathered about teacher candidates’ attributional tendencies and helping behavior in a variety of classroom situational scenarios. Findings from the initial administration of the instrument at two Southeastern universities provide instructors with useful information about the dispositional action trends of today’s future teachers. Implications are presented for instructional practices to advance development of dispositional tendencies associated with effective teaching.

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An Examination of Preservice Teachers’ Development of Dispositions and the Factors That Influence Them

ePub

MARY MUELLER

ALISA HINDIN

ABSTRACT: In this study, we investigated teacher candidates’ development of dispositions. Using case scenarios, we examined the dispositional levels of a cohort of preservice teachers, analyzed the effects of these dispositions on their ability to identify teaching practices to support diverse learners, and described the factors that influenced these developing dispositions. Findings indicate that candidates who depict socially conscious dispositions are better able to suggest strategies to support diverse learners and may be more willing to stand by their beliefs about teaching and children. However, the data show that candidates differ in their readiness to develop such dispositions and practices. According to the findings, integrated teacher education courses seem to have the greatest impact on developing dispositions.

Teacher educators are faced with the challenge of preparing future teachers to meet the needs of all learners in today’s diverse classrooms. This challenging endeavor involves equipping future teachers with competence in content and pedagogy, the belief that all students can learn, and the willingness to provide instruction that enables all students to learn. According to Hillman, Rothermel, and Scarano (2006), “teacher dispositions are a central force in shaping the environment in which schooling takes place” (p. 234). Other research suggests that quality teachers hold dispositions such as selfefficacy, caring, reflective practice, high expectations, and sensitivity (Bruner, 1973; Delpit, 1995; Kohlberg, 1984; Noddings, 1992; Thornton, 2006). The connection between teacher dispositions and student outcomes is notable: The research has shown that one of the biggest influences for at-risk students—such as students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds, English-language learners, and students with learning difficulties or disabilities—is the commitment and capabilities of their teachers (Mills, 2008). It is even more critical for teacher preparation programs to develop the moral and ethical responsibilities of future teachers as national populations become increasingly more diverse (Allard & Santoro, 2006; Wise, 2006).

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Validly and Reliably Assessing Teacher Candidate Dispositions Toward Teaching

ePub

VINCENT RINALDO

STEPHEN DENIG

THOMAS SHEERAN

PAUL VERMETTE

R. MICHAEL SMITH

ABSTRACT: Schools function primarily on two basic principles. The first focuses on the education of students in cognitive skills, and the second, on the education of students in the social skills. Both are necessary to function successfully within society, the workforce, and the political framework of the country (Fullan, 1993). Although these principles are met through the overt, the hidden, and the null curricula (Eisner, 1994), public and political outcry for accountability and the implementation of No Child Left Behind, requiring all teachers to be “highly qualified,” have led colleges of education to place more emphasis on knowledge of content than on disposition toward teaching. To focus more overt attention on dispositions, an instrument of measure was developed and implemented over a 4-year period at a private western New York university. The findings yielded a high reliability score for the data (Cronbach’s alpha = .987) and strong content validity. Although we hypothesized that the 21 items would factor evenly among three independent components, a maximum-likelihood factor analysis showed that all items were highly related and yielded a single factor.

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A Study of Racial Identity and Dispositions of Student Teachers in a Midwestern University

ePub

KATHERINE R. SPROTT

ABSTRACT: The influx of students of color in the nation’s public schools has significant implications for teacher preparation institutions and professional development programs. Teachers and students alike immeasurably benefit from a process that requires them to get in touch with their cultural, racial, and ethnic heritage. However, little is known about the racial identity of student teachers and their dispositions to meet the needs of diverse learners after completing coursework and before entering the field experience. Relating racial identity to dispositions is imperative. In this article, I explain the rationale for racial identity and dispositions, and I discuss methods to develop a response to increased diversity through racial identity and the underlying, effectively developed dispositions. Based on quantitative data, this study shows that more university hours in multicultural classes increase the level of racial identity status and help student teachers make instructional changes to better meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population.

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Dispositions and Preservice Teachers of the Millennial Generation

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KENNETH R. AUSTIN

ABSTRACT: In this article, I argue that teacher preparation programs must address the dispositions that lead to successful patterns of professional conduct and attitudes. I situate the thesis within the discussion on dispositions and the focus on preparing teachers of the millennial generation. I further examine the dispositions that the millennial students in a teacher preparation program possess, offering insight regarding how the generation was educated and how it views education. Data were collected from disposition assessment surveys, observations, notes from classroom discussions, and processing charts written within group activities in introductory education classes. Reported here are the dispositional themes and indicators of preservice teachers’ dispositional deficiencies.

According to the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (2002), teacher candidates should be able to work with students, families, and communities to reflect the dispositions of professional educators as delineated by professional, state, national, and institutional standards. Several key dispositions of professional educators include a caring attitude, sensitivity to student differences, democratic values, and commitment to teaching. In that light, teacher education programs must address dispositions exhibited in and by quality constructivist teachers. Ideally, teacher candidates undergo a transitional process from student to teacher. That process includes learning not only the application of conceptual and practical methodologies in content areas but professional conduct as well. Preservice teachers pursuing teaching certification are expected to acquire appropriate dispositions consistent with characteristics of quality teaching. Teacher preparation programs must address the dispositions that lead to successful patterns of professional conduct and attitudes. Teacher candidates must in turn learn to adapt and adopt those dispositions that lead to success as educators, comparing their dispositions to expected professional attitudes and behaviors, practicing the behaviors, and changing behaviors and attitudes in response to self-analysis and constructive criticism (Ritchhard, 2002).

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Book Review

ePub

(Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), 350 pp., $36.95 (paper)

LINDA J. BLACK

Issues of classroom management rank as one of the most significant topics in teacher preparation programs, and novice teachers often express concern about successfully managing the complex issues of the classroom (Browers & Tomic, 2000). In The Teacher’s Survival Guide: Real Classroom Dilemmas and Practical Solutions, Marc R. Major combines ideas about the creation of a positive classroom climate based on practical management strategies from classroom teachers. The purpose of The Teacher’s Survival Guide, according to Major, is to provide ideas and case studies about classroom management that save teachers “work and frustration” (p. ix), thus providing more time for teaching. This review evaluates The Teacher’s Survival Guide for use by novice and experienced teachers as well as teacher preparation programs.

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