Pre-service teacher education and the development of socially just dispositions: A review of the literature

Year: 2006

Author: Mills, Carmen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

As national populations grow more diverse, 'in part due to migration and the geopolitical realities of shifting national boundaries, the need for educationalists to better understand and work with difference productively becomes increasingly critical' (Allard & Santoro, 2006, p. 115). For the individuals and groups of students historically at risk in our education system, 'apart from family background, it is good teachers who make the greatest difference to student outcomes from schooling' (Hayes, Mills, Christie & Lingard, 2005, p. 1). If teachers are integral to making a difference for such students, we need to ensure that our pre-service teacher education programs equip teachers with the knowledges, skills and dispositions to do so. However, the literature on teacher education shows that historically, teacher education programs have aimed to address diversity with add-on or piecemeal approaches, with little success (McDonald, 2005). Moreover, some authors (e.g., Lortie, 1975) have argued that 'the predispositions teacher education students bring to teaching are a much more powerful socializing influence than either preservice education or later socialization in the workplace' (Johnson, 2002, p. 154). This paper explores research and scholarship in the academic literature in this area as a beginning point for future empirical work.