Professional Dispositions: What's a Social Studies Education Professor to Do?

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NCATE, NCSS, dispositions, accreditation, certification

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Recent changes in accreditation standards now require professors to systematically assess whether a teacher candidate actually possesses a “disposition” appropriate to the profession. This new mandate from accreditation bodies is controversial on a number of fronts. As social studies educators in particular, we like to think of ourselves as especially attentive to issues such as individual differences and rights, indoctrination, prejudice, intolerance, freedom of expression, maturation, and the worth of the individual—all of which are potentially raised by the NCATE and NCSS mandates. And as a practical matter, it places new stresses on the role of professors as both mentors and gatekeepers. In this article, two social studies teacher educators provide an overview of current theory and debate regarding dispositions, an assessment of practical problems associated with the accreditation accountability mandates, and—in spite of the persistent problems associated with defining and assessing dispositions—offer one successful model for evaluating teacher candidates’ professional dispositions that has been implemented in a social studies education program.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

The Social Studies, v. 101, issue 4, p. 140-151

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