Serving as a teacher is more than knowing your educational content, systematic planning, and instructing students. Teachers must also demonstrate the professional attitudes and conduct that facilitate student learning and convey a positive image of the education profession. These attitudes and modes of conduct are known as professional dispositions. These are the values, actions, attitudes, and beliefs of educators as they interact with students, families, community members, and professional colleagues. Professional dispositions are a vital element of teacher preparation and are the expected behaviors of all educators.

As students progress through their program of study, each is expected to demonstrate their mastery of professional dispositions. In Purdue University’s teacher education program, faculty members identified the following dispositions:

1. Commitment to Students and Their Learning

Candidates a) demonstrate their commitment to student learning, b) promote student self-determination and autonomous functioning, and c) demonstrate high expectations for ALL students. Here, candidates demonstrate their belief (through actions, words) that all students can learn and value the assets and resources that all students bring to a classroom. Candidates attempt to provide services at all levels of student ability they use strategies and supports that facilitate autonomous student functioning, and convey high learning and behavioral expectations for all students.

2. Receive and Act Upon Professional Feedback

Candidates positively accept critical feedback about professional practices, seek to continually improve teaching performance, and demonstrate flexibility and adaptability in the classroom. Candidates demonstrate this through making observations and asking questions about teaching practices, demonstrating knowledge of subject and curriculum and how to access new information, seeking information for making practice decisions, responding professionally to constructive feedback, demonstrating understanding of standards, and evaluating his/her own performance and generating ideas for improvements. Candidates reflect upon their own practices.

3. Demonstrate Professional Practices and Demeanor

This disposition addresses candidate professional appearance, ethical and legal practices, and professional demeanor. Positively scoring candidates in these areas requires that they demonstrate a professional appearance; convey a positive message about their discipline and the teaching profession; engage in professional, legal, and ethical conduct; are dependable, punctual, and well prepared; ensure the safety of their students; and are aware of their digital footprint on social media and take action to ensure that their electronic presence does not lead to questions of their integrity, professionalism, and character.

4. Communicate Effectively and Professionally

Candidates engage in effective and professional communication. They use professional language in all situations ensuring that communications are free from bias and meet the needs of diverse learners. Candidates also effectively and accurately communicate their ideas (oral and written) and engage in active listening.

5. Collaborate with Others in a Positive and Professional Manner

Candidates demonstrate a positive rapport with others, contributes to group efforts, and demonstrate respect for others and their ideas.

6. Demonstrate Cultural Competence in Interactions and Communications

Candidates demonstrate their ability to act and communicate in an effective manner that enhances the educational opportunities for all students and their families, especially those who represent diversity. Their language and actions are free from bias.

If you are ready to make a difference as an educator and learn new ways to nurture a modern classroom, earn your online Master of Science in Education in Special Education from Purdue University. Call 877-497-5851 to speak with an admissions advisor or request more information through our online form.