Document Type

Article in Response to Controversy


Critics of teacher education in recent years have argued that attempts to assess dispositions for teaching amount to a process of political indoctrination, claiming that teacher candidates are often expected to endorse ideas like “white privilege” and “social justice” as a kind of political litmus test for entering the teaching profession. In some circumstances, teacher education programs have avoided this kind of controversy by limiting their attention to dispositions such as honesty, integrity, and professional interactions. Charges and counter charges about the potential political implications of dispositions, and lack of clarity about other dimensions of dispositions, have obscured fundamental associations between personal beliefs and professional ethics, and between dispositions and ambitious conceptions of teaching. At the same time, little attention has been devoted to gaining a deeper understanding of dispositions for teaching, how they play a role in learning to teach, and how teacher education programs can support teacher candidates in developing dispositions for the kinds of challenging and complex teaching needed to do well by all children. This essay examines these issues and proposes ways in which teacher education can both support and assess the development of dispositions among teacher candidates.



Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Teachers--Training of--United States; Teacher educators--United States; Educators--Professional ethics--United States; Social justice--Study and teaching--United States

Geographic Coverage

United States







Included in

Education Commons