Affective Teacher Education: Exploring Connections among Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions
Edited by Patrice R. LeBlanc & Nancy P. Gallavan
Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2009
As stated by van Tassell in the foreword of LeBlanc and Gallavan's recent book exploring how teacher dispositions influence classroom practice, "the mission of developing both the cognitive and affective human capacities is inherent in the mission of public schooling" (2009, p. xi). Affective education is concerned with the beliefs, feelings, and attitudes of teachers and students. As such, advocates of affective education believe that content teaching must coincide with personal and social education. As Johnson and Johnson articulate in this volume, "Schools have to achieve some social and emotional goals, such as ensuring children and adolescents can fulfill the role responsibilities of being a student, before cognitive goals can be achieved" (2009, p. 23). Stiff-Williams (2010) echoed this when he suggested that affective education must be integrated into today's traditional cognitive- and standards-based instruction and educators must widen their lenses during the instructional planning process.
LeBlanc and Gallavan (2009) provide us with a strong collection of essays that explore the importance of the affective dimension of the educational process. Throughout the book, the authors investigate and discuss various affective educational theories as well as teacher dispositions. Along with theoretical descriptions, this book provides a wide collection of studies and examples on how to prompt self-assessment, professional conversations, and developmental activities in relation to affective education. The authors of the individual chapters illustrate how the incorporation of social and emotional teaching, pedagogy, and goals support student learning across content. It is written for current and future educators as well teacher educators and school administrators. The book is organized into three main sections: (1) teachers dispositions and teacher preparation programs, (2) teachers' practices and professionalism, and (3) quality affective educational experiences for PK-12.
Teachers Dispositions and Teacher Preparation Programs
Several years ago, Katz and Raths (1986) defined teacher dispositions as "attributions which summarize a trend of a teacher's actions across similar contexts" (p. 3), and claimed that dispositions can be recorded through the use of behavioral observations. Yet, as described by Gallavan, Peace, and Ryel Thomason (2009), "teacher educators and candidates tend to be unsure as to what teachers' professional dispositions are" (p.41). Clearly, the connection between professional dispositions, effective teaching, and teacher preparation programs can be controversial since the actual definition of dispositions is vague and poorly articulated. Thus, LeBlanc and Gallavan (2009) begin this book with three chapters that examine the concept of teacher dispositions.
As part of the current educational reform movement that has been prompted by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) education act, there has been a promise made to close the achievement gap (Scott & Mumford, 2007). This promise has prompted accreditation agencies such as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) to review the curriculum of individual teacher preparation programs to ensure they include affective assessments related to professional dispositions (Lund, Wayda, Woodard, & Buck, 2007)....