While educational research conceptualizes knowledge, skills, and dispositions as mutually dependent in the practice of teaching, our prevailing culture of measurement focuses more on knowledge and skills because they are easily quantified. As such, they are not deemed equally important by accrediting agencies, teacher education programs, or in the literature [5], [10]. Unfortunately, this leads to the perception that teaching is a two-dimensional profession, measured and evaluated on two planes—knowledge and skills. But the practice of teaching is more complex. It is true that teacher dispositions may be more difficult to identify and define; still, the role they play is essential to understanding what qualifies as good teaching. In fact, teaching dispositions add an important dimension to an already complex profession—a depth characterized as intangible. While most scholars agree that content knowledge and pedagogical skills are essential to good teaching, there is a growing consensus that teacher dispositions matter as well [3], [6], [7]. This research study examined teaching in higher education with a particular focus on the intangible qualities of good teaching. It was originally inspired by a conversation with a research assistant who was collecting interview data for a project about inclusive online learning. Her pool of participants included three teachers who graduated from the American University in Dubai (AUD) Master of Education (M.Ed.) program, where we teach. In discussing her findings, she remarked, “the graduates of your program seem to have a common language and a common drive”. She further explained: “they all used disability-sensitive terms and voiced optimism and determination to find solutions for all difficulties… they spoke about caring, empathy, connections and relationships…”. When we asked what distinguished them from other participants, she responded, “it’s complicated because it seems intangible”. Intrigued by her observations and the reference to something intangible, we decided to look deeper at the concept of intangibles in teacher education from the perspective of M.Ed. graduates (cohorts 2014 – 2021).

Authors: Catherine Hill, Nadera Alborno

Published in: Ireland International Conference on Education (IICE-2023)

  • Date of Conference: 11-13 April 2023
  • DOI: 10.20533/IICE.2023.0013
  • ISBN: 978-1-913572-51-8
  • Conference Location: Dún Laoghaire, Ireland