Apart from knowledge and skill, teacher disposition is of extreme importance for teachers to be successful in the profession. However, the concept of teacher disposition is difficult to define and measure. Lilian Katz and James Raths described disposition as “an attributed characteristic of a teacher, one that summarizes the trend of a teacher’s actions in particular contexts” (as cited in Bialka, 2016, p. 5). Later, the definition was revised several times, but up until the present, there is no unified definition of the matter. Bialka (2016) believes that dispositions need to interact with the environment in order to become visible. I understand disposition as a set of values, principles, commitments, and standards that guide a teacher’s behavior in different situations. In other words, I believe that disposition is a lens a teacher uses to understand why and how the knowledge and skills should be used.
While the definition of disposition varies among scholars, all of them believe that dispositions are vital for achieving success. In their quantitative study, Lucas and Frazier (2014) state that the disposition of teachers towards diverse learners and inclusion are impactful for both teachers and students. Liberty University School of Education (n.d.) provides a coherent conceptual framework that lists the dispositions an educator should have to become successful. The institution authorities believe that the central dispositions should be social responsibility, commitment, reflective practice, integrity, and professionalism (S-C-R-I-P) (Liberty University School of Education, n.d.). Moreover, the candidates need to demonstrate the fruit of spirit, which are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, meekness, and temperance (Liberty University School of Education, n.d.). I think that this list is almost a perfect set of dispositions a teacher should have to become successful.
I also believe that the teacher should be selfless and view success, skills, and knowledge as a gift from God. In other words, every educator needs to understand that it is not the teacher who gives knowledge. Only God Himself can give knowledge and take it away, and the teacher is only an instrument He uses to disseminate love, peace, and righteousness. Therefore, all teachers should be selfless and praise the Lord for all success of their students. I believe that every teacher who follows this simple concept will automatically adhere to all the S-C-R-I-P and fruit of spirit dispositions.
While adherence to dispositions is critical, it may be difficult for the assessors to evaluate how well a person adheres to the set standards. The problem is that such things as love, goodness, and commitment are difficult to measure and quantify. However, I still believe that the assessment of dispositions should stay objective to a certain extent. For instance, such measurable matters as absenteeism, cheating, plagiarism, and failure to complete assignments can be all part of disposition assessment. The non-measurable matters should be assessed by a supervisor or a mentor based on a carefully elaborated checklist. The assessment should be made during an interview, as the assessor needs to be able to ask situational questions to gain an in-depth understanding of a person’s views, beliefs, and guiding principles.
Bialka, C. (2016). Beyond knowledge and skill best practices for attending to dispositions in teacher education programs. Issues in Teacher Education, 25(2), 3-21.
Liberty University School of Education. (n.d.). Conceptual framework.
Lucas, D., & Frazier, B. (2014). The effects of a service-learning introductory diversity course on pre-service teachers’ attitudes toward teaching diverse student populations. Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 18(2), 91-124.