The terms “teacher professionalism” and “professional dispositions” are often used when assessing preservice and practicing teachers. But what is “teacher professionalism”? What dispositions are the “correct” ones for teachers? And who gets to decide these things?
Dispositions or Mind Control
Most teacher preparation programs address and assess three elements: knowledge, skills, and dispositions (Creasy, 2015). The dispositional element is commonly viewed as “teacher professionalism”. A disposition is a state of mind that creates an inclination to think or act in certain ways. There are both positive and negative dispositions. Examples of positive dispositions include compassion, curiosity, fortitude, and honesty. Examples of negative dispositions include pessimism, laziness, dishonesty, and indifference. These dispositions are all examples of internal states of mind. Some might also consider them character traits or even values. However, some teacher preparation programs try to mandate that all preservice teachers have specific internal states of mind. Rubrics and checklists are even created to try to document and quantify these internal states of mind. But trying to control the internal state of mind of another is a form of mind control. It is not healthy for the field of education to be in the business of mind control.