Congruence Between Professional Judgment and Professional Action as Disposition: A Case Study of Mentors and Beginning Teachers

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Title: Congruence Between Professional Judgment and Professional Action as Disposition: A Case Study of Mentors and Beginning Teachers
Author: Johnson, Lisa Elizabeth
Advisors: Dr. Ellen Vasu, Committee Member
Dr. Susan Osborne, Committee Member
Dr. Candy Beal, Committee Member
Dr. Alan Reiman, Committee Chair
Abstract: The purpose of this research project was to explore congruency between teacher professional judgment and professional action as constructs of disposition. Three cases of mentor/beginning teacher dyads were used as informants for the study and were chosen based upon their involvement in a DPPE (Deliberate Psychological and Professional Education) program. Each informant's disposition was measured in terms of his or her professional judgment and professional action. Professional judgment was conceptualized in terms of three domains a) teacher's moral/ethical judgment as representative of democratic values, b) teacher's ego judgment as representative of self-understanding, and c) teacher's conceptual/reflection judgment as representative of evidenced-based decision-making and facilitator of instruction. Professional action was described as observable trends in behaviors that correspond to the same three judgment domains, moral/ethical, ego, and conceptual reasoning. The parameters for gathering data were set around a cycle of assistance in which each dyad of mentor/beginning teacher was engaged. The purpose of the cycle was to allow the beginning teacher to identify a specific teaching behavior (i.e., lesson planning, higher order questioning, etc.) that he or she would like to improve. The teacher worked with the mentor through conference sessions, demonstrations, and observations to master the chosen behavior. During these cycles, professional judgment and professional action were investigated using both standardized assessments and descriptive measures. Professional judgment was assessed using the Defining Issues Test-2 (moral/ethical judgment), the Sentence Completion Test (ego judgment) and the Paragraph Completion Method (conceptual judgment). Professional action was measured using an adapted form of the Flanders Interaction Analysis System known as the GIAS (Guided Inquiry Analysis System). Both instruments assess verbal interactions between an instructor (teacher or mentor) and a learner (students or beginning teacher). These measures were supplemented by the application of a coding matrix that described specific judgments and actions based upon the theoretical framework of moral/ethical development, ego development, and conceptual development. Data for the matrices were gathered through observations of instruction and conferencing, interviews with the informants, written lesson plans, and other artifacts such as reflective journaling and self-assessments. A method of pattern matching was used to analyze the informants' judgments and actions. Convergence between the two methods of data collection, standardized measures and coding matrices, was first investigated followed by an examination of the congruence between professional judgment and professional action. Strong convergence was found between the standardized measures and the coding matrices. Congruence between teacher judgment and action was also found for all participants. For example, more complex judgment levels for the three domains were associated with more evidence-based decision-making, more learner-centered inquiry, and more facilitative forms of mentoring or instruction (i.e., accepting the ideas and feelings of the learner). Based on these findings, recommendations are made for teacher education and professional development programs interested in fostering and assessing disposition.
Date: 2004-03-31
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Curriculum and Instruction

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