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REL Central Ask A REL Response

Teacher Preparation

June 2019


What teacher candidate professional dispositions positively correlate with effective teaching?


Following an established REL Central research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive study articles to help answer the question. The resources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic databases, and general Internet search engines. (For details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.)

References are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. We have not evaluated the quality of the references provided in this response, and we offer them only for your information. Also, we compiled the references from the most commonly used resources of research, but they are not comprehensive and other relevant sources may exist.

Research References

Brewer, R. D., Lindquist, C., & Altemueller, L. (2011). The dispositions improvement process. International Journal of Instruction, 4(2), 51–68. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“Globally, teacher dispositions along with knowledge and skills continue to be the focal point of teacher education programs. Teachers influence children’s development and therefore dispositions are a universal concern. For the past 20 years in the United States, teacher education programs have assessed dispositions. We, however, must now also use these assessment results to ensure that teacher candidates are graduating with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to be effective teachers. In this paper, the authors use case study examples to discuss teacher candidates with problematic dispositions and the resulting improvement plan and process using the Preparing Reflective and Effective Practitioners (PDQ-PREP), developed by the authors. The goal of this process is to ensure that all teacher candidates have the opportunity to reflect on their actions and develop or refine the dispositions necessary to be effective professionals.”

Brown, K. T. (2017). Pre-service teachers’ acquisition of content knowledge, pedagogical skills, and professional dispositions through service learning. Science Education and Civic Engagement, 9(2), 13–26. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“Teacher candidates seeking a K–6 license took a science methods course during which they participated in focused service learning. Candidates were provided the necessary science content instruction to enable them to write the actual event activities and serve as Event Leaders for the regional Science Olympiad competition. Data related to candidate acquisition of content knowledge, pedagogical skills, and professional dispositions were gathered from candidates’ responses to written reflections and standardized surveys. It was concluded that through their practical and engaged work participants learned science content and gained pedagogical skills necessary for teaching science. Further, candidates gained desirable professional dispositions related to such civic engagement elements as developing sustainable partnerships, engaging in mutually beneficial work, and serving a diversity of students.”

Burns, A. H., Hodge, C., Dantic, J., & Petrilli, P. (2018). Perspectives of program completers on the effectiveness of clinical education program on teaching preparedness. Journal of Learning in Higher Education, 14(1), 49–55. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“The study examines the extent to which education program completers effectively apply the professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions that the education program was designed to achieve. Prior to this study, the EPP has only analyzed completer survey data to determine the extent to which education program completers believe their preparation program was effective in preparing them to enter the profession ready to meet the challenges inherit within their classrooms and schools.

The mixed methods pilot study used multiple methods to explore the impact the EPP’s redesigned clinical education program had on perceptions of program completers from 1 to 5 years employed; to determine the extent to which program completers have a positive impact on their P–12 students’ academic growth, and to identify areas of strength and areas for improvement relative to the preparation program provided by the EPP.”

Cummins, L., & Asempapa, B. (2013). Fostering teacher candidate dispositions in teacher education programs. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 13(3), 99–119. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“The role of teacher preparation programs is to ensure that candidates are effectively prepared in the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to be an effective educator. However, dispositions have always been a challenge to the field of teacher education, particularly in response to assessing dispositions and in answering the question; can dispositions be taught? Many professionals in education and career counseling believe that candidates come endowed with the dispositions needed to be an effective teacher and this ‘endowment’ is the reason the candidate has chosen the career of teaching. Though, to a certain degree this premise may hold true, this article discussing a study done in an early childhood teacher preparation program with teacher candidates and demonstrated dispositions can be ‘taught’ if there is intentionality with effective teaching methods related to dispositions. Pre and post assessment results of 99 teacher candidates are compared in an introductory early childhood education course to measure candidates’ tendencies to act in ways conducive to appropriate professional dispositions. A teaching intervention related to dispositions is also discussed and provided the premise that with intentional and effective teaching, comes intentional and effective learning.”

Danley, A., Tye, N., Loman, K., Barlow, A., & Nickens, N. (2016). Revealing dispositions: A comparison study of a traditional pathway university model and clinical pathway university model. School-University Partnerships, 9(3), 153–170. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“Faculty from a Midwestern university require teacher candidates to complete disposition surveys pre- and post-student teaching. The instructors/researchers used the data revealed in the dispositions to make comparisons between a traditional model ‘Traditional Pathway’ (first extended field experience senior year) and a PDS clinical pathway (extended field experience throughout junior and senior year) to determine if there was a significant difference between the two pathways. The data were collected electronically and then compiled to present a picture of the developing perception of professional dispositions of the pre-service teacher.”

Mueller, M., & Hindin, A. (2011). An analysis of the factors that influence preservice elementary teachers’ developing dispositions about teaching all children. Issues in Teacher Education, 20(1), 17–34. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract:

“This study assesses and determines the factors that influence dispositions. To assess dispositions, the authors developed a series of micro-case scenarios. Their prior research showed the effectiveness of using scenarios to assess dispositions, but the authors also sought to understand the factors that influence dispositions. In this article, they describe the ways in which they used scenarios and present the findings of the analysis of candidates’ responses. They examine experiences that influence candidates’ dispositions, the role that teacher education plays in dispositional development, and the ways in which these findings can inform teacher preparation programs in their efforts to prepare candidates to work with diverse students.”

Renaud-Grant, C. (2014). Impact of a yearlong placement in a PDS on teacher interns’ dispositions and abilities to teach middle school. Georgia Educational Researcher, 11(2), 69–90. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“As students prepare to enter college and the workforce, there has been a demand for them to be more independent, critical thinkers, innovative designers, and thoughtful collaborators. This preliminary study describes how a Professional Development School (PDS) partnership, between a middle school and a university, provides a more authentic teaching opportunity for middle grades teacher interns compared to the traditional, middle grades internship route. An authentic teaching experience provides a successful transition from ‘student to teacher’ through a collaborative work environment; observing and developing the dispositions of an effective teacher; and learning the culture and structure of a school. The traditional middle grades internship route has been found to undermine the time needed to build relationships with students, cooperating teachers, and schools. The PDS partnership has alleviated this by securing a yearlong placement in one middle school leading to more confident, effective teachers prepared to engage the 21st century learner.”

Yao, Y., Pagnani, A., Thomas, M., Abellan-Pagnani, L., Brown, T., & Buchanan, D. L. (2017). Measuring teacher dispositions: Identifying workplace personality traits most relevant to teaching professionals. Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 29(4), 308–331. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“What personality traits represent dispositions most relevant to teaching professionals? Could an instrument reflecting work personality traits for a wide variety of professions provide a valid assessment of dispositions for teacher candidates? This study analyzed the internal structure of a state mandated dispositions assessment that was adapted from the Workplace Personality Inventory II. The analyses found that the hypothesized factor structure lacked support from the data. The second stage of the study explored and identified a measurement model consisting of select personality traits most relevant to teaching professionals. The results of the study have implications for educational agencies and teacher education programs interested in the assessment and promotion of dispositions of teacher candidates.”


Keywords and Strings

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • “Effective teaching” AND dispositions
  • “Teacher candidate dispostions” AND “effective teaching”

Databases and Resources

We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the Publication: References and resources published between 2009 and 2019 were included in the search and review.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority was given to ERIC, followed by Google Scholar.
  • Methodology: The following methodological priorities/considerations were used in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types–randomized control trials, quasi experiments, surveys, descriptive analyses, literature reviews; and (b) target population and sample.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Central Region (Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory Central at Marzano Research. This memorandum was prepared by REL Central under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0005, administered by Marzano Research. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.