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Epic Limitations: Homeric Depictions of Teacher Dispositions


  • Kipton D. Smilie Missouri Western State University
  • Ethan K. Smilie College of the Ozarks



Abstract: This paper proposes an interdisciplinary use of literary texts in informing contemporary pedagogical thought. Though “soft skills” have always been a part of teachers’ expected repertoire, only fairly recently have these skills, now almost exclusively referred to as “dispositions,” become a major focus in university teacher preparation programs. As teacher preparation programs wrestle with the complexities of defining and assessing teacher dispositions, we propose that it is helpful to look to the humanities to assist with this navigation, in particular, literary texts. As an example of this process, we analyze Homer’s Iliad for dispositional insights. In the epic, Homer depicts various teacher dispositions, commenting upon both their effectiveness and their limitations in ways that can further elucidate contemporary discussions and concerns regarding their utility.


2021-09-19 — Updated on 2021-09-19