Source: Issues in Teacher Education, Volume 20, No. 1, Spring 2011, p. 17-34.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The goal of this study is to determine the factors that influence dispositions.
The study examines experiences that influence candidates’ dispositions, the role that teacher education plays in dispositional development, and the ways in which these findings can inform teacher preparation programs in their efforts to prepare candidates to work with diverse students.
The research question that guided this work is:
What is the relationship between candidates’ dispositions and their experiences?
The participants were approximately 65 teachers candidates who studied in teacher preparation programs reside in the College of Education and Human Services in a small, Catholic university located in the tri-state region around New York City.
The authors used three data sources, specifically entry and exit surveys, field evaluations, and micro-case scenarios.
Role of Teacher Preparation Courses
The findings indicate that teacher preparation courses can make a difference in teacher candidates developing dispositions.
Overall, most candidates reported that they drew upon material learned in their education classes when responding to both scenarios.
In the responses for the inclusion scenario, the majority of the students drew on the material learned in the two different courses that focused on diverse learners.
In responding to the cultural stereotypes scenario, nearly three-quarters (71%) drew on the Introduction to Teaching course.
Role of Field Experiences
However, the findings reveal that only about half of the candidates drew on experiences from the field when responding to both scenarios.
Over half of the candidates reported drawing on their prior field experiences when responding to the inclusion (55%) and the cultural stereotypes scenarios (53%).
Furthermore, only 30% reported experiencing positive dispositions toward inclusion in their internship classrooms, and only 30% reported that they witnessed positive reactions to issues of cultural stereotypes.
The goal of this study was to prepare socially conscious teachers who reflect the college’s vision of stewardship, valuing of difference, and effective employment of a range of approaches and materials in the classroom to support all learners.
To do this, it is imperative to understand what influences these dispositions.
The authors found that teacher preparation courses were the most influential factor in influencing candidates’ responses to issues of diversity.
However, the research suggests that candidates’ field experiences have mixed impacts on their situational responses.
Only about half of the candidates drew on experiences from the field when responding to both scenarios.