The Role of Dispositions During Education Field Experience
The following is reprinted with permission from the College of Education, Bloomsburg University (2020). Minor changes have been made to fit ATA style and the Alberta educational context.
Professional dispositions are professional attitudes, values and beliefs demonstrated through both verbal and nonverbal behaviours as educators interact with students, families, colleagues and communities. These positive behaviours support student learning and development.
These dispositions represent the attitudes and behaviours expected of all educational professionals. Further, they reflect the values established by faculty members as essential to the goals of the teacher education preparation program.
The professional dispositions identified are embedded in program curricula, as well as modelled and encouraged by stakeholders. The student teacher will develop and demonstrate professional dispositions based on observable and measurable behaviours at various stages in the program. The professional dispositions expected of educational professionals include the following.
Uphold Professional and Ethical Standards
Student teachers honour the law and demonstrate professional integrity through behaviours that reflect provincial, Association and institutional professional standards.
- Complies with postsecondary institution and jurisdiction policies and procedures (for example, meets expectations, produces quality work, exhibits academic honesty, demonstrates good citizenship)
- Adheres to provincial and institutional regulations (for example, creates a safe environment for students, demonstrates professional conduct, maintains professional relationships)
- Communicates with honesty and integrity (for example, uses appropriate language, maintains confidentiality, treats all people with respect and dignity)
- Displays a professional demeanour (for example, dresses appropriately, meets attendance expectations, actively participates in class)
- Adheres to all professional standards, including the use of technologies (for example, accesses authorized websites, uses personal electronic devices as appropriate)
The Association’s Code of Professional Conduct states,
The teacher teaches in a manner that respects the dignity and rights of all persons without prejudice as to race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, physical characteristics, disability, marital status, family status, age, ancestry, place of origin, place of residence, socioeconomic background or linguistic background.
Student teachers demonstrate fairness, empathy and compassion based on their belief that everyone can learn. Student teachers actively seek out multiple perspectives and diverse experiences to address the academic, interpersonal and emotional needs of all learners.
- Exhibits fair treatment of others (students, colleagues, professionals, staff and families) (for example, promotes social justice; exhibits fairness in assessing students’ academic, social and emotional development; promotes respectful student interactions with others)
- Interacts with sensitivity to community and cultural norms (race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, ability/disability and social-economic status)
- Values and responds to all aspects of a child’s well-being (cognitive, emotional, psychological, social and physical)
- Utilizes a full range of differentiated instructional practices (for example, considers students’ strengths, needs and experiences when planning instruction; uses flexible groupings for instruction; provides opportunities for all students to succeed)
Engage in Collaborative Endeavours
Student teachers demonstrate professional interpersonal and communication skills. These skills are used to promote positive partnerships (with and between learners: students, families, colleagues, other school professionals and the global community) to support achievement of learning outcomes.
- Meets professional expectations (for example, seeks help in a timely manner, completes assignments on time, participates equitably in teamwork, is punctual, follows procedures for extensions)
- Considers and responds to multiple perspectives (for example, incorporates professional feedback and constructive suggestions)
- Demonstrates kind, caring and respectful interactions with others (for example, maintains emotional control, responds appropriately to actions and reactions of others, adapts to unexpected or new situations, acts from a positive frame of reference)
- Utilizes professional oral and written communication based on the purpose and audience (for example, employs suitable tone of voice, verbal/nonverbal expressions, uses grammatically correct sentences, exercises appropriate self-disclosure)
Reflect and Problem Solve
Student teachers demonstrate the ability to make informed decisions through systematic reflection and problem solving. Critical and creative thinking is used for identifying and implementing strategies for improving academic, interpersonal and emotional learner outcomes.
- Accepts responsibility for personal actions or decisions (for example, shows an understanding of policies and procedures for professional behaviours and dispositions)
- Solves problems proactively (for example, recognizes problems and seeks resolutions, collaborates and problem solves with others)
- Seeks clarification and assistance as needed (for example, seeks and utilizes human and material resources)
- Engages in processes of continuous reflection based on relevant assessment data (for example, utilizes systematic reflection processes for problem solving and modifying educational practices)
Value Lifelong Learning
Student teachers engage in professional growth and encourage curiosity and inquiry as reflective agents of change by sharing knowledge responsibly and participating as a community resource.
- Completes assigned tasks that demonstrate high personal and professional standards
- Seeks to keep abreast of new ideas, evidence-based practices and understandings in the field to improve instructional practices and teaching activities (for example, reads educational journals, attends professional meetings and conferences, engages in professional discussions with others)
- Demonstrates positive attitude toward learning through intellectual curiosity and participation in professionally related experiences (for example, actively participates in class activities and professionally related associations; exceeds expectations for assignments, tasks and teamwork)
- Reflects upon teaching practices (for example, identifies areas of strengths and needs, engages in professional development based upon self-reflection)
Teacher preparation programs have a responsibility to establish, model and encourage the development of positive standards of professional conduct. Teacher preparation programs should also maintain screening and assessment procedures to ensure student teacher dispositions are not at odds with professional standards.
Additional professional behaviours that must be demonstrated throughout the field experiences include the following:
- The student teacher will review and adhere to the code of conduct of the teacher preparation program institution.
- The student teacher will maintain student, family and staff confidentiality.
- The student teacher will acquire and maintain appropriate clearances: criminal record check and vulnerable sector check, as required by Alberta school jurisdictions.
- The student teacher will review and adhere to policies and procedures of the specific school organization.
- The student teacher will advocate for high-quality, child-centred teaching practices utilizing the appropriate supervisory channels.
College of Education, Bloomsburg University. 2020. “The Role of Dispositions During Education Field Experience.” https://intranet.bloomu.edu/coe-field-dispositions.