Character Education in a Public High School: a multi-year inquiry into Unified Studies

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Abstract:

This article describes how a unique high school programme, not formally designed to teach moral principles or character lessons, contributed substantially to the character education of its students. Graduates over 20 years old were interviewed (n=106) and completed a questionnaire (n=204). Findings suggest the programme teachers helped students develop character attributes by providing a desirable character education environment. A majority of students reported that the programme was personalised, practical and, in many cases, life changing. A majority of the students also indicated that the programme helped them develop an appreciation and respect for others and the environment, while helping them prepare for higher education. We present this programme as a model for character education at the high school level. Details are presented so that the programme can be replicated in other settings. We conclude that the success of this programme can be understood in terms of teachers' willingness to encourage students to take responsibility for their lives, and their learning through modeling of high character values, use of an integrated and experiential curriculum, and employment of a dialogical perspective on active education.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0305724022000073310

Affiliations: Brigham Young University, Utah, Provo, USA Orem High School, Provo, Utah, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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