Pre-service teacher motivations and dispositions: teacher educators’ perceptions

Year: 2013

Author: Macqueen, Suzanne

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Particular dispositions are beneficial for students to succeed in higher education (HE), with working class students having fewer opportunities to develop such dispositions than do their middle class colleagues (Crozier, Reay, Clayton, Colliander & Grinstead, 2008).  Disposition may be especially important for HE students entering specific programs such as teacher education, since certain dispositional characteristics are considered essential for teachers, to the point that they feature in accreditation documentation for the teaching profession in some countries. This paper presents results from a study conducted in an Australian university with a significant proportion of students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds.  Anonymous surveys were conducted with 15 teacher educators to ascertain their perceptions of student motivations and dispositions.  Teacher educators expressed concern about many students’ motivations and commitment to university, noting that work and other commitments sometimes took precedence over study.  I do not suggest that such dispositions belong specifically to low SES students, but I argue that universities need to be aware of the changing demographics in cohorts.  Students and those teaching them must be provided with resources and support tailored to their needs if the students are to have a real chance to succeed and HE programs are to maintain high standards.