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The Emerging Concept of Disposition in Education

In the article written by Renee L. Taylor and M. Mark Wasicsko entitled “The Disposition to Teach”, it is state that there is an emerging concern for the role that disposition plays in being an effective teacher (2000).

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By effective, the authors mean a dynamic and well-rounded human being that can bring changes to the lives of people through education and learning and is also a master of the methods in teaching (Taylor and Wasicsko, 2000).

On the other hand, the term disposition is that which means to be the “personal qualities or characteristics that are possessed by individuals, including attitudes, beliefs, interests, appreciation, values, and mode of adjustment” (Taylor and Wasicsko, 2000). It can be concluded that disposition has a relationship with level of effectiveness in teaching. Moreover, Taylor and Wasicsko enumerated different dispositions that are related to effectiveness in teaching (2000). The authors made a review of the past literature regarding dispositions and compiled these qualities in the text.

They are concerned with relationships with peers, students, views on teaching, views on students, views on self, interpersonal relations, and intrapersonal relations (Taylor and Wasicsko, 2000). However, an effective tool for measurement is yet to be determined that will add to those being used as of the moment such as student teacher journals for preservice teachers, Perceptual Rating Scales, written human relations incidents, and interviews (Taylor and Wasicsko, 2000).

Moreover, there is an on-going call for the dispositions related to effective education to be introduced in educational learning institutions, one of which is in the University of Northern Iowa and other Iowa colleges are starting to follow (Taylor and Wasicsko, 2000). Inevitably, the role of disposition as related to effective teaching will have an impact in initial certification programs. Valid and reliable criteria and predictors of disposition that are related to effective teaching will have to be formulated, examined, and reformulated to ensure that these dispositions will lead to effective behaviors in teaching.

With this, initial certification programs will have to put more emphasis on disposition of incoming teachers, still along with intellect and skills. It can be observed that even the most intelligent teacher may turn out to be the worst without the desired aspects of disposition and skills. The right mix of intelligence, skills, and disposition has to be identified and this will have to be incorporated in the initial certification programs for teachers. Moreover, human beings are created uniquely and each one will carry a different set of attitudes and beliefs.

These attitudes and beliefs that a person possesses govern the actions that he/she might elicit towards the environment. Thus, no one persons can be considered perfect and will be able to possess all of the desired traits, attitudes, and beliefs as listed in the studies conducted regarding disposition. It is however, to be noted, that a lot of people will possess at least a portion of these traits, attitudes, and beliefs to become an effective teacher. The keyword to be remembered is the ability to adopt changes and the quality of being flexible.

The ability to change one’s disposition to become an effective teacher should start at an early stage. As the article of Taylor and Wasicsko shows, it is already being introduced to education students in the University of Norther Iowa and other colleges in Iowa (2000). The research on dispositions has to be refined to be able to use this in theory and in practice. For preservice teachers, it is necessary for them to adopt desired traits, attitudes, and beliefs early in their careers in addition to their inherent disposition to become effective teachers.

This is a good foundation for their career path as educators because it is important to be able to start with the necessary qualities. For the practicing educator, there is the need to constantly hone personal disposition to meet the changing and growing trends in educating the society. The study of disposition is a growing part of the field of education. More research has to be done and persistent inculcation of the new-found theories is to be applied into practice to contribute to effective teaching.