Dispositions All Teachers Need to Teach Brilliantly

Jenning Prevatte, M. Ed.

Teaching takes as much heart as skills to be a brilliant teacher. Being a brilliant teacher goes beyond academic standards, assessment practices, organization, and time management. Yes, these are important, but today teaching isn't just about the standards and the content you teach; it's about so much more.

The fundamentals of high-quality teaching are more about why we do what we do and our knowledge of who we are. As educational professionals, we inspire others, engage in courageous conversations, and support learners through difficult life experiences with compassion and understanding.

Teaching is both mentally and emotionally demanding!

Each educator, regardless of the level they teach at, early childhood, K-12, or higher education, has significant dispositions* they lean on. Teaching dispositions are attitudes, beliefs, and values that demonstrate the mindset and character of the educator. They often include compassion, empathy, flexibility, creativity, and innovation.

My dispositions include viewing learners from a strength-based perspective, equity-mindedness, flexible thinking, collaboration, and viewing challenges from multiple perspectives.

So, Why are Teacher Dispositions so Critical?

Building effective learning environments with students, families, colleagues, and communities that inspire our future generations requires educators to have critical teaching dispositions such as self-efficacy, resilience, flexible thinking, collaborative mindset, and knowledge and understanding of the science of learning. Without these essential dispositions, teaching becomes very challenging! We have little to lean on to get through the challenging teaching days. Teaching dispositions help us create inclusive learning environments for all learners that are supportive, engaging, and inspiring.

Leaning into our dispositions to create inclusion, support diversity, and be equity-minded is essential to ourselves and the learners we serve. It is difficult today to discuss teaching without discussing a teacher's dispositions, which encompasses their mental wellness.

You may be asking, what are the essential dispositions 

in education?

My Multicultural Education students are exploring this question this semester. We've had several conversations about what dispositions are needed to ensure they can be the best teacher possible when they lead a classroom. They know that understanding their culture and their student's culture will be critical, as will challenging biases as they arise. The beautiful thing about my students is they come from all walks of life and want to teach various age levels and subjects; therefore, we engage in fantastic conversations! They also have learned the importance of sharing stories and experiences to continue building on their ability to support learners' strengths and areas of growth from multiple perspectives.

Of all the teacher dispositions that educators need, having the ability to see, listen, and feel from multiple perspectives is by far the most critical of all. Being in tune with dispositions strengthens relationships with learners and colleagues. This allows educators to understand the various learners in their classroom and their colleagues from a perspective beyond their own. Viewing situations from multiple perspectives humanizes the classroom, ensures inclusion, supports diversity, and is the foundation of equity-mindedness. This helps create a collaborative working environment for educators. 

Beyond multiple perspectives, viewing all learners from a strength-based perspective is essential. When we view learners from their strengths rather than their deficits, we empower them to believe in themselves, persist through challenging times, and ultimately create positive dispositions in learning.

It is our charge to teach brilliantly so learners can learn brilliantly! To do this, we must fully understand why we do what we do and who we are. As you've probably noticed, I love to engage in reflection. This is one of the reasons I love blogging. It allows me to reflect on my teaching practice as I share experiences and concepts from my professional learning.

On that note, take a moment to reflect on what your top three dispositions are. What dispositions do you lean into to create inclusive learning environments?

In addition, my goal is to share evidence-based practices that connect the heart of teaching and the knowledge of quality teaching practices to enhance learning environments for all learners. Therefore, I would like to share various resources to support you in my new Teach Brilliantly Toolkit!

One that I love is Effective Teaching Practices, which provides you with five inclusive teaching practices. 

You can download this free resource by signing up for our Teach Brilliantly Toolkit.

Teach Brilliantly aims to empower teachers, families, and communities by creating constructive interaction to support wellness and education by providing coaching, consulting, resources, and eLearning courses on innovative teaching strategies. Here is a list of our favorite book recommendations to support the ever-growing knowledge of child development, teaching, and brain science.  We hope you find these as valuable as we did. 

As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases through these affiliate links. This is, of course, at no additional cost to you, it helps support our ad-free website, and we only share products we use and love. Thank you! 

Looking for something inspirational? 

My students enjoyed listening to this TED Talk: Cultural Humility| Juliane Mosley, Ph.D

And looking for something to enhance your understanding of the relationship between Culture, the Brain, and Learning? 

Then read, Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain by Zaretta Hammond

Always remember!
You are talented! You are brilliant!
You connect, engage, and inspire the future! 

*The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education defines teacher dispositions as professional attitudes, values, and beliefs demonstrated through verbal and non-verbal behaviors as educators interact with students, families, colleagues, and communities. These positive behaviors establish a teacher's professional demeanor and promote student learning and development. (NCATE, 2007)