Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Using Habits of Mind, Intelligent Behaviors, and Educational Theories to Create a Conceptual Framework for Developing Effective Teaching Dispositions

Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Using Habits of Mind, Intelligent Behaviors, and Educational Theories to Create a Conceptual Framework for Developing Effective Teaching Dispositions

Article excerpt

In teacher preparation institutions today, in addition to learning knowledge and skills needed to educate children, future teachers are being introduced to new ways of thinking and behaving. One of these ways, referred to as dispositions in this article, has become a topic of interest for programs and researchers in teacher education.

In the United States, accrediting bodies for teacher preparation including the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC; 1992) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE; 2008), which merged with the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) to become the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP; 2013), have given great significance to teachers' dispositions. The glossary of the CAEP, which is now the sole accrediting body for educator preparation providers in the United States since July 1 2013, defines dispositions as "the values, commitments, and professional ethics that influence behaviors towards students, families, colleagues, and communities that affect student learning, motivation, and development as well as the educator's own professional growth" (http://caepnet. org/glossary). CAEP (2013) also noted that professional education departments may add their own dispositions in addition to fairness and the belief that all students can learn. The term "dispositions" has not only emerged in the lexicon of the U.S. teacher education authorities, but also it has started an international discussion about focusing more on dispositions to meet the needs of today's learners. The Council of European Union for Teacher Education includes dispositions among its priorities for teacher achievement; however, they acknowledged disposition as a construct is challenging to define and assess (Caena, 2011).

Consequently, teacher education programs have started to put dispositions among its priorities for teacher achievement. However, what may have started with best intentions to encourage teachers to develop and exhibit positive attitudes and conduct toward student education has splintered into debates about values, morals, and proper conduct in schools. The lack of common grounding for dispositions in teacher education has led to a heated debate across and among teacher education institutions and scholars (Borko, Liston, & Whitcomb, 2007; Ruitenberg, 2011). Complicating matters further is that English, with its penchant for synonyms, has many different words similar to dispositions--each of which may have nuanced and more blatant interpretations based on the perspectives and epistemology of the educator. Due to the lack of clarity about the term, dispositions in teacher education have been used interchangeably with values, beliefs, and professional commitments and actions. Other terms that have been used by scholars when investigating dispositions include identities, self, habits, manners, inclinations, mindset, tendency, propensity, predilection, characteristics, and values (Claxton & Carr, 2004; Costa & Kallick, 2014; Serdyukov & Ferguson, 2011). Given the abstract nature of dispositions, it is not surprising that myriad interpretations have been offered in the literature to help educational institutions prepare teachers to exhibit effective dispositions. Following are some definitions that have been used to describe dispositions:

* An attributed characteristic of a teacher, one that summarizes the trend of a teacher's actions in particular contexts (Katz & Raths, 1985, p. 306).

* Acquired patterns of behavior that are under one's control and will as opposed to being automatically activated. Dispositions are overarching sets of behaviors, not just single behaviors (Ritchhart, 2002, p. 31).

* Individual's tendencies to act in a particular manner (Borko et al., 2007, p. 361).

* Part of a set of larger abilities that include knowledge, skill, values, beliefs, and commitments (Diez, 2007, p. …

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