Teachers’ dispositions as habits of mind : insights from a narrative inquiry into the significant life experiences of Turkish teachers
Lane, Jennie Farber
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This study investigates the role of significant life experiences that potentially contributed to development of five Turkish teachers’ dispositions as Habits of Mind. The study also further investigates the influences of selected significant life experiences (travelling, reading, professional development, spending time in nature, having hobbies) identified by the participants on their teaching practices. Narrative inquiry was used as the methodology to prompt participants’ recall of their significant life experiences through three in-depth interviews with each informant that took place over the course of a year. The gathered narrative data was first analysed to determine the significant life experiences and to identify emerging categories and themes. The analysis of participants’ significant life experiences resulted in two categories: learning environments and personal attributes. The experiences related to learning environments included the themes of family environment, school environment, and neighbourhood, while the experiences related to personal attributes were travelling, reading, professional development, spending time in nature, and hobbies. In an effort to relate these categories and their themes to dispositions as Habits of Mind, the researcher developed a conceptual framework. The framework was established through a deductive content analysis of literature, using intelligent behaviours to find relations between Habits of Mind and established educational theories. The framework also served to provide theoretical groundings to the model of Habits of Mind. The results of narrative data analysis using the conceptual framework revealed that all participants consider their experiences related to family environment, travelling, reading, professional development, spending time in nature, and having hobbies as the most significant life experiences, which contributed to development of their Habits of Mind. The findings also indicated that these life experiences potentially contributed to participants’ dispositions as Habits of Mind and teaching practices in a positive manner. Based on the findings of the study the researcher suggest travelling, reading, professional development, spending time in nature, and having hobbies be emulated in teacher education programs in order to help pre-service teachers develop effective teaching dispositions and teaching practices. The conceptual framework can be used to elevate understanding of dispositions in teacher education and teacher educators can use the conceptual framework for monitoring and assisting pre-service teachers to develop effective dispositions as Habits of Mind.