Date of Award

Fall 1991

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Betsy Ann Balzano

Second Advisor

Robert B. Ribble

Third Advisor

Not legible

Abstract

Changes in contemporary society have led to the re-evaluation of assumptions about humanity and its institutions. Values, morals, and character are being questioned and rewritten to address the needs of a new era. Given their important place in society, educational systems have increasingly become a space for these public re-imaginings. Moral and values education is being re-examined in the hope of bolstering academic success and addressing moral issues that arise in the community. This study constructs a reliable and valid instrument that will survey attitudes towards transferring morals and values in the elementary classroom. The survey measures an overall attitude towards moral education and compares the attitudes of teachers and parents. It asks about the innate importance of morals education in the public school curriculum, the use of moral training or a moral reasoning approach, and the influence that the presence or lack of a moral environment has on the school environment. Thirty parents and thirty teachers were surveyed twice, first with a pilot survey and then with an amended one which refined the questions. The author found that a majority of respondents felt a universal core of values could be agreed upon to create a program and that a morals curriculum should be directly taught to elementary school children. An overwhelming majority think a morals education curriculum will have a positive influence on classroom behavior. Views on teaching religion as the source of morals were mixed, with a greater emphasis being placed on morals emerging from feelings. Overall, respondents feel that the school is secondary to the family in instilling values. Finally, there was no significant difference between the responses of teachers and parents.

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