Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Linda Samek, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Dane Joseph, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Debby Espinor, Ed.D.


In education, the word disposition has been used to describe the social, verbal, and physical attributes teachers possess and demonstrate in their interactions with students. Educational theorists and practitioners alike agree that effective teachers are far more than simply well-educated individuals who have successfully completed a teacher preparation program. The concept of disposition contributes to the field of education by capturing the “more” that an effective teacher embodies; it is an enacted combination of an educator’s content knowledge, preparation, and ways of being. This dissertation examines the notion of disposition and explores how the term has evolved from the time it was formally introduced to the educational lexicon in the mid 1980’s until today. As a narrative review, the goal of this dissertation is to “tell the disposition story” in academic terms. Several key themes emerge from an analysis of relevant literature, namely, that disposition is connected to morality, and motivates teachers to professional service enacted through community, science, tradition, and social justice. Using these ideas, the paper also offers a brief examination of how disposition is practically oriented within thirteen of Oregon’s teacher preparation programs, through an analysis of these programs’ web presence. This analysis explores how various institutions have incorporated the idea of dispositions into their programmatic priorities and serves as a snapshot of how programs enact disposition in practice, compared to the theoretical ideas derived from the literature review. In this way, a future study of teacher preparation programs and their treatment of disposition is proposed.

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