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Document Type

Article in Response to Controversy

Abstract

Education has always been complicit in the shaping and promoting of dispositions. Teachers do teach (for) dispositions as they consciously and unconsciously respond to their students in the classroom. In their actions, teachers continuously informally assess students’ bodies, actions, comportment, expressed ideologies, and rhetoric. Under pervasive pressures for measurement and accountability, it is understandable that now even dispositions might be added to the mix of measurable entities for evaluation or certification. Moreover, in a context of diminishing state responsibility for social welfare, greater demands are placed on education—to make a difference—for example, to intervene in social injustices such as “racism.” In this context it may seem appropriate to demand that new teachers display the “correct set” of dispositions and sensitivities, as the call for papers suggests, “to issues of social justice and white privilege in this society.” Nevertheless, this paper argues conventionally that, despite the inseparability of dispositions from educational interactions and education’s necessary role in the learning and unlearning of prejudice, teachers ought to intentionally avoid any formal assessment of, or required pledges to, particular dispositions.

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