Academic journal article Education

Developing the Intangible Qualities of Good Teaching: A Self-Study

Academic journal article Education

Developing the Intangible Qualities of Good Teaching: A Self-Study

Article excerpt

As colleges of education move toward either renewing or gaining program accreditation, they face the task of gathering valid and reliable data on both tangible and intangible elements of their programs. One such area that has come to the foreground with respect to accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) is "Standard 1, Candidate Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions: Candidates preparing to work in schools as teachers or other professional school personnel know and demonstrate the content, pedagogical, and professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to help all students3 learn." (NCATE, 2006, p.13). While both knowledge and skills are judged as measurable, several institutions have struggled with how appropriately to assess teacher candidate dispositions. It is generally accepted that teachers should have "good dispositions toward teaching," however, there is no consensus with respect to whether or not colleges of education have either the ability or the authority to assess teacher candidate dispositions. Although there does exist some agreement on what constitute "dispositions of good teaching" there is no canon of attributable observable behaviors. Therefore, at this time, it appears that colleges of education must establish there own operational definitions. This study deals with how a college of education that is part of a mid-sized north eastern university developed and implemented an instrument to measure whether its candidates believed their dispositions of good teaching changed over the course of their program and if so, during which portion of the program?

According to Ross and Bruce (2007), good teachers recognize good teaching and it is an expectation that colleges of education will produce good teachers. According to McNeil (1971) the major indicators of teacher competency are found in personality, appearance, health, attitudes, and philosophy and not in pedagogical ability. However, all too often, colleges of education emphasize grade point averages, observation ratings, and standardized test results as determinate measures of competence. If colleges of education are expected to produce good teachers then a fundamental question must be examined: Are these qualities innate or developmental. If teacher candidates are already in possession of these qualities upon entrance to a program then an instrument needs to be created and used to screen applicants. If, however, one believes that these qualifies can be developed, then an instrument needs to be created and implemented to measure those changes in the dispositions of teacher candidates over the duration of a program of professional preparation. This study focused on two questions:

(a) Do teacher candidates' perceptions of their own dispositions toward teaching change over the course of their teacher education program?

(d) If change does occur, during which phase of the professional preparations program does such change occur?

A review of the literature

What role do dispositions play in teacher preparation?

Defining excellence in teaching is both an arduous and an imprecise task that has traditionally focused on the observable and technical aspects of the profession. There has been a long standing belief among educators that within the profession there exits distinguishable qualities between teachers who are considered to be "good" and teachers who are not. Colleges of education must focus on the need to document and measure their effectiveness and their success in developing teacher candidates who exhibit the qualities of good teachers.. While it has been a long-standing tradition of colleges of education to assess teacher candidate progress based on cognitive development, educators over the past century have suggested that dispositions are an important component of teacher competency and that there is a need to include them as part of the final evaluation (Dewey, 1916; McNeil, 1971; Palmer, 1983; van Manen, 1986; Miller, 2000; Noddings, 2002). …

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