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Embracing Ambiguity: A Case Study of One Teacher Education Program's Collaborative Inquiry into the Teacher Dispositions Construct

Wong, Sarah Jin (2021) Embracing Ambiguity: A Case Study of One Teacher Education Program's Collaborative Inquiry into the Teacher Dispositions Construct. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In teacher education, the teacher dispositions (TD) construct has elicited debate for over three decades. Although some minimize its importance, many have argued for continued examination of this significant yet ambiguous construct due to its link to teacher quality and the quality of student learning and outcomes (e.g., Darling-Hammond, 2000; Diez, 2007). Now more than ever, teacher educators must not only prepare candidates with content knowledge and pedagogical skills, but also help them to cultivate their inner landscapes. Bryn Athyn College’s teacher education program (TEP) is founded on a faith-based mission that emphasizes the moral, ethical, and spiritual dimensions of teacher candidates. Thus, it is fitting that we provide ample opportunities for dispositional development and support candidates’ ability to sustain a vibrant tenure in the profession, while staying grounded in their values and commitments. Yet, the TEP at Bryn Athyn College does not have a shared understanding of the TD construct or a vision for its programmatic integration. This results in teacher candidates lacking intentionally sequenced opportunities for cultivating dispositional pillars to guide their professional practice. This problem of practice is reflected in the literature, which shows a dearth of research on how a TEP should address such a problem. The purpose of this study was to explore how one group of teacher educators sought to
conceptualize the TD construct for its utility in its programming. Using the improvement science approach and qualitative case study methodology, this study utilized a series of human-centered and user-focused change ideas called Collaborative Inquiry Process. Data analysis revealed that faculty participants solidified a shared understanding of this critical construct and articulated a core disposition resonant of the TEP’s mission and ethos. This outcome provided shared language with which to envision its programmatic integration. Participants grew to recognize TD as humanizing the work of teacher educators, who strive for their dispositional development with candidates as co-inquirers (Nelson, 2015), within a supportive community.
Ultimately, this study provided the foundation for integrating this vital construct into the fabric of this TEP, which intends to maintain a human-centered program that ushers deeply caring educators into the field.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Wong, Sarah Jinsarah.wong@brynathyn.edusjw930000-0002-4903-9534
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRobertson,
Committee MemberKokina,
Committee MemberLee, Bridget
Committee MemberBialka,
Date: 31 August 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 1 July 2021
Approval Date: 31 August 2021
Submission Date: 6 August 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 160
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: teacher dispositions, teacher education, collaborative inquiry, case study, improvement science
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2021 18:13
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2021 18:13


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