Teaching and the Meaning of Professional Dispositions in Education
Edited By Julie A. Gorlewski, David A. Gorlewski, Jed Hopkins and Brad J. Porfilio
Section Three: Practicing What We Teach
Practicing What We Teach s e c t i o n t h r e e c h a p t e r n i n e Seeking Balance Rethinking Who Decides the Role of Dispositions in Teacher Evaluation tim mahoney and john ward i n t r o d u c t i o n There has been much discussion of the definition of professional dispositions in education. Teacher educators, educational policy makers, practicing teachers, and school administrators have all identified the habits, beliefs, and values of teachers as part of what makes an effective professional educator. Despite this attention, there is also some confusion about how one defines dispositions, which disposi- tions are of value in teaching, whether dispositions are stable or can be developed, and whether dispositions can or should be evaluated (Diez, 2007). In this chapter, we will come at the topic from a different perspective: Who decides what disposi- tions matter for teaching? And if those dispositions are defined, then who should provide insight and, possibly, assessment of an individual teacher’s dispositions? It is our thesis that the answer to the “who” question inevitably frames answers to the “what” or “which” questions. We also believe that teacher education is at a critical juncture in regards to dispositions. Historically, educational theorists considered dispositions from the standpoint of standardization, centered on the work of experts searching for the right dispositions in teacher candidates that would lead to successful careers (Borko, Liston, & Whitcomb, 2007; Cochran-Smith & Fries, 2005; Bullough,...
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