In the work entitled: "Idaho Standards for Blended Early Childhood Education/Early Childhood Special Education Teachers" stated is that: "The characteristics of development and learning of young children are integrally linked and different from those of older children and adults. Listed as 'Standard One' is "Knowledge of Subject Matter" explained as the teacher understanding the "central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the disciplines taught and creates learning experience that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for students.": (Western Illinois University, nd) Within the standard is the assumption that the educator knows how to assist young children with integration of the domains of development, or language, cognition, social-emotional, physical and self-help) as well as the traditional content areas of literacy mathematics, science, health, safety, nutrition, social studies, art, music drama, and movement. (Ibid, nd; paraphrased) The teacher has a comprehension of theories, history and models that form the basis for early childhood education practices and understands the process of "self-regulation that assist young children to identify and cope with emotions." (Ibid) Language acquisition is understood as well as the elements of play and that play helps children to learn. Nutrition and feeding relationships is understood by the teacher who assist the children in development of healthy eating habits. The teacher is fully informed that young children are "constructing a sense of self, expressing wants and needs, and u8nderstanding social interactions that enable them to be involved in friendships, cooperation, and effective conflict resolutions." The teacher comprehends that the child's acquisition of "self-help skills" facilitate the growing independence of the child. Standards two through ten are stated as follows:
Standard Two - Knowledge of Human Development and Learning - The teacher understands how students learn and develop, and provides opportunities that support their intellectual, social, and personal development.
Standard Three - Modifying Adapting Instruction for Individual Needs - The teacher understands how students differ in their approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities to meet students' diverse needs and experiences.
Standard Four - Multiple Instructional Strategies - The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to develop student learning.
Standard Five - Classroom Motivation and Management Skills - The teacher understands individual and group motivation and behavior and creates a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation,
Standard Six - Communication Skills - The teacher uses a variety of communication techniques to foster learning and communication skills in the classroom;
Standard Seven - Instructional Planning Skills - The teacher plans and prepares instruction based on knowledge of subject matter, students, the community, curriculum goals, and instructional strategies.
Standard Eight - Assessment of Student Learning - The teacher understands, uses, and interprets formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and advance student performance and to determine teaching effectiveness
Standard Nine - Professional Commitment and Responsibility - The teacher is a reflective practitioner who demonstrates a commitment to professional standards and is continuously engaged in purposeful mastery of the art and science of teaching.
Standard Ten - Partnerships - The teacher interacts in a professional, effective manner with colleagues, parents, and other members of the community to support students' learning and well-being.
V. Various Approaches for Assessing Teacher Disposition
In the work entitled: "Assessing Teacher Candidate Dispositions at UTK" the fact is stated that it is not possible to "measure dispositions by pencil and paper instruments" and furthermore they cannot be observed directly. There are various approaches being developed for the assessment of dispositions including "behavior and characteristic checklists, rating from observation of candidates in a variety of settings, inferences drawn from course assignments and classroom participation, evaluation of student journals and self-reflections, and letter of reference." (Wasicsko, Callahan, & Wirtz, 2004) Self-reflections and self-reports are being used however the self-report "instruments may not work well with individuals who cannot demonstrate the desire dispositions.
Stated in the work entitled: "Integrating Dispositions into the Conceptual Framework: four a priori questions" is that the candidates who "appear to be 'dispositional misfits' seem to be the most resistant to making accurate self-reflections that would lead to self-selecting out of programs, or to realistically seem themselves as other perceive them." (Ibid)
The work entitled: "Assessing Educator Dispositions: A Perceptual Psychological Approach states that the five categories of perceptions that can "serve to differentiate effective from ineffective educators. These five categories resulted from the research of Combs (1969). The following."..five categories of perceptions have been isolated as necessary for effective teaching:
1) Rich, extensive and available perceptions about the subject field
2) Accurate perceptions of people
3) Perceptions of self leading to adequacy
4) Accurate perceptions about the purposes of education and the processes of learning
5) Personal perceptions about appropriate methods for achieving purposes (Wasicsko, nd)
VI. Which Disposition Best Suited to Elementary? To Secondary?
The teacher disposition is one that is either suited to teaching or one that is not suited to teaching. It cannot be truthfully stated that some teachers are better suited to elementary education while others are best suited to secondary education because of the fact that the disposition that is considered to be a good candidate for teaching will be a good candidate in whatever level of education that individual is placed. Management of the challenges that the classroom present requires that the teacher possess the disposition and the skills of analysis to experientially learn because there is not an instruction book comprehensive enough to ever prepare the teacher for everything that may arise. (Preparing New Teachers, 1995) As a matter of fact the teacher who is effective is one who engage in a critical practice and adopts a reflective posture in relation to their own practice through gathering evidence in assessing their own effectiveness. Effective teachers engage in critical practice, adopting a reflective posture with respect to their own teaching. They gather evidence about their effectiveness even involving others in gauging their own pedagogy (Joyce, 1990; Little 1992; as cited in Continuing Education, nd)
Summary & Conclusion
This work stated as its objective the comparison of the similarities and differences in the teaching disposition of the Elementary and Secondary school teachers and as well to answer the questions of: (1) Does it require a different type personality to teach a certain age level, and if so then which disposition suits which age group and why? (2) Why is there a preference for many teachers to teach a certain age level? And (3) Is it possible for teachers who do not possess certain dispositions to achieve success in the classroom?
The findings of this research have shown that it is not possible to make a measurement of dispositions with a pen and paper method and neither can these dispositions be directly observed. The similarities exist in that elementary and secondary teachers own pedagogy (Joyce, 1990; Little 1992; as cited in Continuing Education, nd)
The similarities that exist in comparison of elementary and secondary teachers therefore can be understood that the teacher's perceptions of the students might cause the teacher to perceive that either elementary or secondary education is preferred however, the disposition of the teacher of elementary or secondary education is inherently the same in that the disposition is toward learning, and acquiring extensive knowledge in the subject area; accurately perceiving the students; perceptions of self-adequacy for fulfilling the teaching of the students; accurate processes about the purpose of education and the processes of learning; and finally the teacher possesses personal perceptions as to the appropriate methods to institute in achieving those purposes. It appears that the preference of a teacher to teach a classroom of elementary students over teaching secondary students or vice versa, is simply based on the teacher's perception of the ability of the student and the teacher's perception of self-ability combined with the level of confidence possessed by the teacher in their own pedagogy. This study has reviewed the necessary factors of knowledge needed in teaching younger students and while this is differentiated from the knowledge needed in teaching older students, the disposition of the teacher is inherently the same for the elementary and secondary teacher who is successful and effective in their classroom practice. In review the five perspectives or if you will, dispositions required for the teacher to be effective in the classroom are those of: (1) extensive perceptions about the subject field; (2) accurate perceptions of people; (3) Perceptions of self which lead to adequacy; (4) Accurate perceptions about the reason for education and about the learning processes; and (5) Personal perceptions that are clear in relation to the methods most appropriate for achieving the goals of education (Wasicsko, nd) The competent teacher is one who realizes that there is not a step-by-step instruction book in most cases and yet this teacher is one who has enough knowledge to work out the teaching practice geared toward providing learning to students and has confidence that he or she will be able to perceive the method that will further…[continue]
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