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Reaching Students and Keeping Teachers: Studying and Assessing Quality Teacher Dispositions and Classroom Management
Unformatted Document Text:  Section I: ContentA. Statement of Issue: Issues of teacher recruitment and retention are often directly related to issues of teacher preparation. Well beyond the three Rs and even strong pedagogical preparation, well prepared teachers who are ready to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population must not only possess the skills and knowledge necessary to do so, but also the dispositions. One area where beginning and even veteran teachers report much challenge and frustration is in classroom management. Further research into effective teacher dispositions, especially as related to classroom climate and management is lacking and may be critical in examining both teacher retention and student achievement. Both dispositions and classroom management are under examined and under emphasized within most teacher preparation programs. The definition of dispositions is still largely inconsistent within the literature and across teacher preparation programs. There is a proliferation of terms and diverse perspectives associated with its use ranging from tendencies, values, habits of mind, attitudes, and behaviors, making it difficult to establish the usefulness of the concept and to build on one another’s research (Richhart, 2001). Knowledge, skills and dispositions are embraced within standards as essential elements of teacher preparation and teacher quality. Yet dispositions remain a neglected part of teacher education, and according to Collinson(1999) are nearly non-existent. Wenzlaff(1998) states that teacher education must be concerned with more than teaching methods, classroom management, lesson design and assessment, and that in order for teachers to be more than mere “cogs” in a technical process they must possess the dispositions necessary to teach and reach students. Teachers and students must work together to maintain a positive and productive classroom climate. Teachers who approach classroom management as a process of establishing and maintaining effective learning environments are more successful than teachers who emphasize their roles as authority figures or disciplinarians (Brophy, 1988). Both students’ future success and the quality of learning will be enhanced in classroom and school environments that emphasize collaboration and caring (Kohn, 1996). Establishing a positive climate for learning has many positive effects including higher academic performance, stronger motivation to learn, greater liking for school, less absenteeism, greater social competence and fewer conduct problems (Lewis, Schaps, & Watson, 1996). As Jones (1987) state we can be proactive and spend time building a positive classroom environment in which behavioral norms are developed by, agreed upon and practiced by students. Or we can be reactive and spend countless minutes responding to the disruptions caused by our decision not to spent time building a community of support.

Authors: Thornton, Holly. and Eisenman, Gordon.
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Section I: Content
A. Statement of Issue: Issues of teacher recruitment and retention are often directly
related to issues of teacher preparation. Well beyond the three Rs and even strong
pedagogical preparation, well prepared teachers who are ready to meet the needs of an
increasingly diverse student population must not only possess the skills and knowledge
necessary to do so, but also the dispositions. One area where beginning and even veteran
teachers report much challenge and frustration is in classroom management. Further
research into effective teacher dispositions, especially as related to classroom climate and
management is lacking and may be critical in examining both teacher retention and
student achievement. Both dispositions and classroom management are under examined
and under emphasized within most teacher preparation programs.
The definition of dispositions is still largely inconsistent within the literature and
across teacher preparation programs. There is a proliferation of terms and diverse
perspectives associated with its use ranging from tendencies, values, habits of mind,
attitudes, and behaviors, making it difficult to establish the usefulness of the concept and
to build on one another’s research (Richhart, 2001). Knowledge, skills and dispositions
are embraced within standards as essential elements of teacher preparation and teacher
quality. Yet dispositions remain a neglected part of teacher education, and according to
Collinson(1999) are nearly non-existent. Wenzlaff(1998) states that teacher education
must be concerned with more than teaching methods, classroom management, lesson
design and assessment, and that in order for teachers to be more than mere “cogs” in a
technical process they must possess the dispositions necessary to teach and reach
students.
Teachers and students must work together to maintain a positive and productive
classroom climate. Teachers who approach classroom management as a process of
establishing and maintaining effective learning environments are more successful than
teachers who emphasize their roles as authority figures or disciplinarians (Brophy, 1988).
Both students’ future success and the quality of learning will be enhanced in classroom
and school environments that emphasize collaboration and caring (Kohn, 1996).
Establishing a positive climate for learning has many positive effects including higher
academic performance, stronger motivation to learn, greater liking for school, less
absenteeism, greater social competence and fewer conduct problems (Lewis, Schaps, &
Watson, 1996). As Jones (1987) state we can be proactive and spend time building a
positive classroom environment in which behavioral norms are developed by, agreed
upon and practiced by students. Or we can be reactive and spend countless minutes
responding to the disruptions caused by our decision not to spent time building a
community of support.


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