Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Special Education

Major Professor

Ann Cranston-Gingras


case study, dispositions, teacher preparation


Dispositions are a difficult construct to define and assess within teacher education. The problem lies in the relative ambiguity of the term and the subjective manner in which it is applied to the assessment of the performance of preprofessional teachers. Additionally, because certain accreditation institutes including the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) require that dispositions be measured as part of a teacher's professional development, the issues of how dispositions are constructed and gauged becomes an essential part of the foundation related to understanding the effectiveness of teacher education programs. The fact that much of the research examining teacher dispositions does not include special education, adds to the imperative to study this concept. In order to examine professionals' conceptualization of dispositions related to the preparation of preprofessional special education teachers, Stake's (1999) case study method was utilized in this study. This method allowed for the use of interviews and the analysis of archival documents to better understand the phenomenon of special education teacher dispositions. Preprofessional teachers in their second semester of their program and those in their final internship, as well as recent graduates (all associated with the same program) were interviewed in order to determine what constituted their definitions and perceived influences of their dispositions within a special education teacher preparation program. The intent of the study was to better inform future practices in teacher education programs in special education through a more contextualized understanding of dispositions.