Professional Dispositions and Requirements
The Educator Preparation Programs at West Chester University in the College of Education and Social Work have developed professional dispositions and requirements essential for the profession. These dispositions are based on the 2011 Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Model Core Teaching Standards. Candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate dispositions in courses (assignments, interactions with others) and out in the field with mentor teachers and students in P-12 settings.
Highly effective teachers are sensitive, and understanding of the learners own perspective. It involves the process of observing something from another point of view or putting oneself in another's shoes (Detert, Trevino, & Sweitzer, 2008). This requires the acceptance of varied perspectives, values, and beliefs to use the information to develop a positive learning experiences. Elder and Paul (2009) further clarifies that one critical component of a fair-minded critical thinker is Intellectual Empathy. According to the authors, Intellectual Empathy is the ability to see things from another person's point of view. This includes "being able and willing to imagine how others think and feel…" (p. 8). When a teacher can understand student responses or reactions, has a sensitive awareness of the way the process of education and learning seems to the student, the possibility of significant learning has increased.
Involves the "active perspective that allows the individual to be willing to be flexible and to consider, if not try out, new ideas" (Alawiye and Williams, 2010). It is the process of showing receptiveness to new or different ideas and willingness to accept constructive feedback. Being open-minded is one of the several components of high-level thinking essential for the teaching profession. Open-mindedness "is an intellectual virtue that involves a willingness to take relevant evidence and argument into account to forming or revising our beliefs and values, especially when there is some reason why we might resist such evidence and argument, with a view to arriving at true and defensible conclusions" (Hare, 2004). Hare further argues that taking a rigid stance that dismisses the possibility of self-reflection and inquiry because one feels adamant about their belief. Being open minded involves the constant search for truth (Hare, 2009) that allows for the possibility of a different perspective or to accept supportive and constructive feedback which opens the door to try new ideas and new things.
Includes the ability for a teacher to be accountable and reflective on the outcomes of professional and personal actions. This includes being responsive to needs of students' learning and takes ownership of mistakes or errors to refine personal and professional practice. Related to responsibility is having what Elder and Paul (2009) defines as Intellectual Independence. It is wise to listen to others to find out their thinking, but you must take ownership of your actions and thinking that are rooted in fairness and sound judgment.
Develop positive relationships with others in a variety of venues (face-to-face, digital, etc.) to achieve a common goal. To effectively develop these relationships one should be a good listener. This includes being attentive and not dominant when communicating with others (Norton as cited by Faull, 2009). Engagement is an essential process to communication. How you engage others in this involves planning engaging learning experiences and demonstrating confidence in communication with others (Faull, 2009). Effective teachers collaborate with learners, colleagues, school leaders, family and key stakeholders within the community to better understand students and to maximize learning.
- Lifelong Learning
Effective teachers seek opportunities to develop personally and professionally (pedagogical and content knowledge). Solicits or accepts constructive criticism as an opportunity to develop as a learner. Personal and professional growth is a lifelong endeavor. Highly effective teachers show "commitment through a positive emotional attachment to the work involved in teaching generally or to a specific act of teaching" (Crosswell & Elliott, 2004, p. 6). They have a sense of enduring purpose which includes a commitment to become a better teacher, high expectations of themselves and others. Becoming a better teacher requires the ability to understand the relationship between two constructs of thought and knowledge. It is about thinking in ways to use knowledge to create new knowledge (Halpern, 2014). Knowledge is only relevant when we make our meaning out of information. According to Halpern "we create new knowledge every time we learn a new concept" (p. 55). Lifelong learning is not simply reading a bunch of materials, but it is an active mental process of developing the meaning of what was learned and how that information can be used for personal or professional development.
Maintains a professional work ethic (dependable/reliable) and good judgment in clinical (field, practicum, student teaching experiences) or other relevant settings. This includes taking a leadership role with colleagues and respectfully challenging negative attitudes and practices of others. Bream et al. (2006) argue that professionalism can be divided into several categories. One category is called professional behavior. These are observable actions that demonstrate the individuals' behavior such as: maintaining appropriate relationships with colleagues, students, parents, and others; modeling the attitude and appearance of a professional; and promptness. This also includes the professional use of resources or tools to support student learning outcomes.
- Professional Ethics
Adheres to moral and ethical standards as expressed in the Pennsylvania code of ethics, school district and College/University policies, and Specialized Professional Association standards. This includes maintaining high standards of honesty, integrity, and confidentiality. Bream et al. (2006) define this teaching expectation as professional parameters that must be maintained as an educator. This includes the legal and ethical issues related to local, state, and federal laws about the profession of teaching (i.e., Americans with Disabilities Act, child maltreatment, etc.) or the Code of Professional Conduct delineated by the state board of education or Specialized Professional Association.
Please utilize the menus to learn more about the Professional Dispositions and Requirements evaluation process and to access additional resources and forms. Faculty can download Assessing Professional Dispositions for a guided walk-through on how to assess candidates on professional dispositions in a Tk20 course.
Note: A candidate's violation of professional expectations (i.e., academic, behavioral, dispositional) may also be a violation of University-wide policy. In this case, the violation should be filed with the appropriate University or College bodies.