College of Education & Human Services
Field Experiences in Education

Professional Dispositions for Education Students

Sample Professional Dispositions Assessment (PDF) (submitted electronically)
Sample Dispositions Self-Assessment (PDF) (submitted electronically)

What are dispositions?

Dispositions are defined as the values, commitments and professional ethics that influence behaviors towards students, families, colleagues and communities and affect student learning, motivation and development as well as the educator’s own professional growth. Dispositions are guided by beliefs and attitudes related to values such as caring, fairness, honesty, responsibility and social justice. For example, they might include a belief that all students can learn, a vision of high and challenging standards or a commitment to a safe and supportive learning environment (NCATE, 2000).

Why are they important?

The National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has mandated that colleges of education must assess teacher candidates’ “professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to help all students learn” (NCATE, 2002).

Setting mandates aside, research shows that the attributes of the classroom teacher significantly affect how well children learn. “Recently it has become clear that the quality of the education our children receive depends directly upon the quality of the teachers in our schools. Parents, teachers, educators and researchers agree that effective teaching happens when the teachers thoroughly know their subjects, have significant teaching skills and possess dispositions that foster growth and learning in students (Wasicsko, 2002).

Think about the most effective teachers you have encountered throughout your education. What are their qualities? Why did they make an impact on you?


How and when will my dispositions be assessed?

Cooperating teachers will complete Dispositions Assessments for all of your courses that include a field experience component, as well as for Student Teaching.

Other ways dispositions may be assessed

A professor in one of your classes may have a concern about a dispositions area that needs improvement. He or she will discuss the area with you and the two of you will devise a plan for improvement.

The improvement plan will be placed in the student file. A progress report will follow, indicating that the student was able to improve or was not able to improve. A meeting with the Director of Teacher Education may be needed to discuss a remediation plan.

How can dispositions be improved?

There is a class offered in the summer called Dispositions in the Classroom. This is a good way to become better informed about what dispositions are required for education students.

The counseling center offers one-on-one counseling for students who would like to work on a specific disposition.

A class is offered each fall through the Corrick Center, called Interpersonal Communications.

If there are issues with diversity, it is suggested that students take another multicultural class.

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