Date of Award

August 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Cultural Foundations of Education


Alan Foley


dispositions, pre-service teachers, teacher education

Subject Categories



This qualitative study explores the connection of dis/ability and dispositions in teacher education. Although dispositions have been part of contemporary teacher education discourse for over thirty years, their continued ambiguity is a source of debate and contestation (e.g., Diez, 2007; Katz & Rath, 1985; Osguthorpe, 2013; Warren, 2018). Existing literature examining dispositions and dis/ability focuses on the dispositions and attitudes teachers have and/or need to teach students with disabilities (e.g., Campbell et. al., 2003; Castello & Boyle, 2013; De Boer et. al., 2011; Killoran et. al., 2014; McCray & McHatton, 2011; Mueller & Hindin, 2011; Taylor & Ringlaben, 2012; Woodcock, 2013; Woolfson & Brady, 2009). This study focuses on how teacher educators employ dispositions in their interactions with disabled teacher candidates.

This study used a Comparative Case Study (CCS) framework for the research design that included eight semi-structured interviews with teacher education faculty, document analysis of dispositions artifacts, and autoethnography (Bartlett & Vavrus, 2017). It traces the layers of influence that dispositions assessments have in teacher education. Findings from this study suggest that dis/ability is not considered as an aspect of diversity in teacher education. Teacher educators have varied views on the definition, use, and purpose of dispositions in their programs; however, dispositions illuminate the qualities of the normative teacher, which then is employed to determine who should become a teacher. When teacher candidates’ body-minds do not fit the norm as imagined by their instructors, dispositions are operationalized to cast doubt upon these teacher candidates’ abilities.


Open Access

Included in

Education Commons