Prospectus Presentation – Carla Bernard Miller

May 30, 2014 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
College of Education, Early Childhood Education Conference Room
30 Pryor Street Southwest
Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303

Perception and Practice: An Investigation of Urban Teachers’ Perceived and Observed Teaching Dispositions
by Carla Bernard Miller

Over the past thirty years, the term teacher dispositions has quickly become commonplace in the field of teacher education. Unlike other well-established domains of teacher education, like knowledge and skills, the evolving concept continues to challenge those mandated to identify, nurture, and assess the dispositions of teachers. The purpose of this study is to continue the conversation on teacher dispositions by examining connections between perceived dispositions and dispositions-in-action. Specifically, this study will compare how elementary classroom teachers working in high-needs urban schools perceive their teaching dispositions with the dispositions evidenced in their classroom practices. Teachers working in high-needs, urban schools face unique challenges and teacher education programs designed to prepare and support them need evidence-based understanding of teaching dispositions in order to design curriculum that fosters effective practices critical to the success of all children in urban classrooms. Using Argyris and Schon’s theory of action (1974) as a conceptual framework, I will identify the teaching dispositions of each participant and illuminate consistencies or inconsistencies that may exist between how teachers working in high-needs urban classrooms perceive their teaching dispositions and the teaching dispositions that are exhibited through their behaviors during classroom instruction. A multiple case study design, using data from a teaching disposition index, semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, and document analysis, will provide the appropriate framework to help understand the varied perspectives involved in the study and delineate the process of identifying teacher dispositions. Illuminating relationships that may exist between perceived dispositions and dispositions-in-action of teachers in high-needs, urban classrooms will continue the dialogue on teacher dispositions by adding to the limited research that exists regarding the teaching dispositions of teachers working in urban classrooms and facilitating dispositional growth to increase teacher effectiveness.