Disposition & Early Childhood Teachers

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Disposition & Early Childhood Teachers 1

Disposition and Early Childhood Education Preservice Teachers: Where to Start?

Ursula Thomas, Ed.D University of West Georgia

Ursula Thomas Ed.D is an assistant professor of early childhood education at the University of West Georgia. Her research efforts focus on cultural mediation and teacher belief systems in the context of early childhood and teacher education.

Correspondence should be addressed to: Ursula Thomas, University of West Georgia. Dept. of C&I, 1601 Maple Street, Carrollton, GA, 30118. Phone: (678) 839-6070. Fax: (678) 839-6063. Email: uthomas@westga.edu

Disposition & Early Childhood Teachers 2

Abstract This study explores teacher education programs and preservice teacher dispositions. The study examined the dispositions of two sections of a reading methods course populated by preservice teachers. A dispositions checklist was used to collect data in three phases and from two audiences. The findings of the study strongly suggest that preservice teachers have a positive view of their own dispositions as well as their peers’ dispositions. The study also shows that the perception of preservice teachers’ dispositions of themselves differ greatly from the perception of the instructor of the course. Implications from this study suggest further development of practices that surface disposition and strategic use of data to improve teacher dispositions within teacher education programs.

Disposition & Early Childhood Teachers 3


As the push for effective teachers persists, many teacher education programs, and professional development administrators are left speculating about the part dispositions perform in effective teaching. Johnson & Reinman (2007) sought to explore the definition of dispositions as teacher professional judgment and professional action in the moral/ethical domain of adult cognition. By assessing beginning teacher judgment both quantitatively and qualitatively, convergence between predicted and observed patterns was found in addition to congruence between teacher judgment and action. Based on the findings of convergence and congruence, implications for teacher education and development are made. They mirror what Jung (2009) found in the study of teacher technology. Jung studied technology teacher dispositions and found education significantly increased competence level and disposition measures. The study also found there are no statistically significant differences in technology proficiency level in terms of age or gender, female and older students should be strongly encouraged to use technology without fear of failure. Since the major difference in the technology disposition score was due to the male students’ stronger selfconfidence level toward technology, teacher educators should pay attention for female students to be more self-assured through repeated contact to the technology experience. Jung made the following recommendations: (1)The importance of technology should be stressed frequently and intensely throughout the curriculum. (2) Future teachers should see successful role models continuously for adopting technology. (3) Numerous technology literacy and integration classes, and other forms of technology education need to be included in the curriculum- to make them competent and perceive themselves technologically competent. (4) Future teachers

Disposition & Early Childhood Teachers 4

should be exposed to the experiences, which repeatedly connect the value of technology with their career, which enable them to see and to experience the value of using technology and living with technology, which let them frequently use technology for their learning, problem solving, and future instruction. Disparate to the literature on some dispositions, the dispositions cited in the teacher education literature (e.g., INTASC) have almost no illuminating value and very little significance presently. This conclusion comes...
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