Dispositions: Definitions and Implications for Early Childhood Practice

Catalog #211; April 1993

by Lilian G. Katz

This text: (1) defines dispositions and examines the relationship of dispositions to personality traits, thought processes, skills, attitudes, habits, work inhibition, and motives; (2) draws distinctions between the relationship of dispositions to motivation in preschool and school-age children; and (3) suggests seven reasons why dispositions should be included among the goals of early childhood education. A list of 47 references is provided.

Table of Contents


Part I. Definitional Issues

  • Approaches to learning
    • Inclination
    • Cognitive style
    • Learning style
  • Dispositions
    • Formal definitions of disposition
    • Dispositions and other personal characteristics
      • a) Traits and Dispositions
      • b) Thought processes and dispositions
      • c) Skills and dispositions
      • d) Attitudes and dispositions
      • e) Habits and dispositions
      • f) Work inhibition and dispositions
      • g) Motives and dispositions
    • Summary and tentative definition
Part II. The Implications of Dispositions for Early Childhood Education Practices



This publication was prepared with funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the U.S. Department of Education.