ACTION RESEARCH: THE DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS OF THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS OF A TEACHER-INITIATED CHARACTER EDUCATION PROGRAM IN AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
This study describes and analyzes the process by which teachers, support personnel, and administration developed homegrown implementation strategies that resulted in an enhanced character education program, improved student behavior, and a strengthened community of practice empowered to find its own solutions. The Review of Literature provided an historical and a theoretical background for this investigation.
This researcher became a catalyst introducing participants to the action research cycle of observe, reflect, and act. Teachers observed student behavior in relation to the simple character education directives that had been grafted onto the daily announcement form, e.g. We come to school on time. School is important. Focus groups reflected upon a variety of teacher strategies, selecting three for implementation by the entire staff. Visuals, additional announcements, and student recognition brought the improvement necessary to upgrade the character education program, energized the people using it, and facilitated a change in student behavior.
The results of the study were analyzed by comparing data from the January interviews to responses found in the June interviews. From principal to five-year-old kindergartener, the empowered community of practice developed a school identity by hearing Hear at Amadeus every day and following the desired behaviors that comprised the character education program. It was simple, doable.
Qualitative methodology was also used to analyze the field notes. The NUD*IST N6 software program codified data pinpointing the evidence of the beneficial changes in both the character education program as well as in student behavior. A descriptive narrative told the story of how the character education program traveled through the daily life of the elementary school. Then a numerical analysis answered the six research questions.
Recommendations for further study include investigation of how changes in administration, staff, especially the catalyst, and student population might affect the efficacy of the action research cycle and the character education program itself. A longitudinal study of these factors is recommended to investigate long-term impact. Research could also give voice to students perceptions of the program. The study of these questions could open new venues for a practitioner looking for solutions to the problems facing todays learning communities.
Advisor:Dr. Mary Margaret Kerr; Dr. Carl N. Johnson; Dr. Beverly Melenyzer; Dr. Kathryn S. Atman
School:University of Pittsburgh
School Location:USA - Pennsylvania
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:instruction and learning
Date of Publication:09/27/2007