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New Zealand Foundation for Character Education Symposium 2 November 2007 Wellington Dr Gael McDonald Professor of Business Ethics Vice-President, Research.

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Presentation on theme: "New Zealand Foundation for Character Education Symposium 2 November 2007 Wellington Dr Gael McDonald Professor of Business Ethics Vice-President, Research."— Presentation transcript:

1 New Zealand Foundation for Character Education Symposium 2 November 2007 Wellington Dr Gael McDonald Professor of Business Ethics Vice-President, Research Unitec New Zealand

2 Connecting Character to Conduct Teaching Values in the New Curriculum

3 “It’s hard to teach children who are hanging off the lights and have no respect for teachers or concern for anyone else. Before we begin to educate kids, we have first to instil some basic values and bottom-line behaviour.” (Heenan, 2002) (Heenan, 2002)

4 A Longitudinal Analysis A questionnaire was designed in 2004 to capture the effects of implementing character education in New Zealand schools. A questionnaire was designed in 2004 to capture the effects of implementing character education in New Zealand schools. A similar questionnaire was sent out in 2007 as a follow-up study A similar questionnaire was sent out in 2007 as a follow-up study

5 Research Questions Is there any relationship between the size of schools, decile classification and the adoption of character education? Is there any relationship between the size of schools, decile classification and the adoption of character education? What dimensions and activities constitute character education? What dimensions and activities constitute character education? Who are the primary motivators for instigation and continuation of character education, i.e., parents, boards of trustees, staff members, principals? Who are the primary motivators for instigation and continuation of character education, i.e., parents, boards of trustees, staff members, principals? What are the perceived outcomes of a Character Education programme in respect to such factors as, for example: relationships, student behaviour, discipline, vandalism, attendance, enrolments, staffing, ERO Reports? What are the perceived outcomes of a Character Education programme in respect to such factors as, for example: relationships, student behaviour, discipline, vandalism, attendance, enrolments, staffing, ERO Reports?

6 Research Questions Focusing on student behaviour, are there any perceived changes in playground behaviour and overall behaviour? Focusing on student behaviour, are there any perceived changes in playground behaviour and overall behaviour? Focusing on staff, are there any perceived changes in staffing stability, turnover, morale and retention of good teachers? Focusing on staff, are there any perceived changes in staffing stability, turnover, morale and retention of good teachers? What has been the impact of Character Education on the school, i.e., management of the school, and effectiveness of teaching and learning? What has been the impact of Character Education on the school, i.e., management of the school, and effectiveness of teaching and learning?

7 Methodology 15 of the institutions that participated in the initial study also participated in the follow-up study. 15 of the institutions that participated in the initial study also participated in the follow-up study. The survey was not anonymous, i.e., schools that did not respond were able to be identified. The survey was not anonymous, i.e., schools that did not respond were able to be identified. The data was comprised of both quantitative and qualitative components. The data was comprised of both quantitative and qualitative components.

8 Response Rates

9 Demographics Initial Study 2004 Follow up Study N 3134 n 2629 Response Rate 84%85% Average Number of Students (Roll) Average Number of Teaching Staff (FTTE) Student:Staff ratio Average Ministry of Education Decile Classification

10 Demographics There were no significant differences in the demographics of the respondents between the two study periods. There were no significant differences in the demographics of the respondents between the two study periods. The majority of institutions implementing character education in New Zealand are primary schools. The majority of institutions implementing character education in New Zealand are primary schools. The average number of teaching staff for schools in the study was slightly lower in 2007 (13.08) than in the 2004 study (13.11). The average number of teaching staff for schools in the study was slightly lower in 2007 (13.08) than in the 2004 study (13.11). However, the average number of students was slightly lower in 2007 (244.45) than in 2004 (277.85). However, the average number of students was slightly lower in 2007 (244.45) than in 2004 (277.85).

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12 Decile Rating There is no evidence of a difference in the decile ratings between 2004 and There is no evidence of a difference in the decile ratings between 2004 and With a good spread of decile rates, and an average decile rating in both study periods of 5, the decile rating of a school does not appear to influence adoption of character education. With a good spread of decile rates, and an average decile rating in both study periods of 5, the decile rating of a school does not appear to influence adoption of character education.

13 Duration of Implementation of Character Education

14 What Dimensions and Activities Constitute Character Education?

15 The Key Approaches to Character Education Remain As: Definitions of Core Values being provided and taught Definitions of Core Values being provided and taught Having a focus of one Core Value per term Having a focus of one Core Value per term Core Values are featured in the school assembly Core Values are featured in the school assembly Staff being supported by appropriate resources and training Staff being supported by appropriate resources and training The Core Values being taught are also communicated to parents The Core Values being taught are also communicated to parents

16 In comparison to the study in 2004, there is, however, a decline in 2007 in the following approaches to character education: In comparison to the study in 2004, there is, however, a decline in 2007 in the following approaches to character education: Character education having the support of parents Character education having the support of parents Hard data on incidents of unacceptable behaviour being recorded Hard data on incidents of unacceptable behaviour being recorded

17 An interesting trend is the increased emphasis on the use of the disciplinary process to support core values. An interesting trend is the increased emphasis on the use of the disciplinary process to support core values. The lowest emphasis (in both the initial and follow-up analyses) is placed on “A Board of Trustees policy supports character education”. The lowest emphasis (in both the initial and follow-up analyses) is placed on “A Board of Trustees policy supports character education”.

18 Instigators of Character Education

19 Motivators for Character Education The instigation and continuation of character education is still primarily by the principal of the school (81- 86%) The instigation and continuation of character education is still primarily by the principal of the school (81- 86%) Followed by staff members (14-31%) Followed by staff members (14-31%)

20 Impact of Character Education

21 Relationships and Student Behaviour Relationships between staff and students and between students were perceived to have seen a positive improvement as an effect of character education. Relationships between staff and students and between students were perceived to have seen a positive improvement as an effect of character education. But not necessarily between the principal and staff, and the school and the parents. But not necessarily between the principal and staff, and the school and the parents. Positive effects were noted in both studies in overall student behaviour and playground behaviour. Positive effects were noted in both studies in overall student behaviour and playground behaviour.

22 With respect to relationships, evidence of improvements in relationships was demonstrated by more: Mutual respect and understanding Mutual respect and understanding Honest and open communication Honest and open communication Trust and positivity Trust and positivity Clearer expectations Clearer expectations Awareness of others Awareness of others Parents’ willingness to support the values being taught Parents’ willingness to support the values being taught

23 Playground and student behaviour indicates improvement through: Playground and student behaviour indicates improvement through: Fewer incidents (both verbal and physical) Fewer incidents (both verbal and physical) Fewer suspensions/expulsions Fewer suspensions/expulsions School culture is more developed School culture is more developed Identifying both positive and negative aspects of behaviour, and relating them to the cornerstone values Identifying both positive and negative aspects of behaviour, and relating them to the cornerstone values Increased interaction and communication between students, parents, and the school Increased interaction and communication between students, parents, and the school

24 Discipline The use of cornerstone values was seen to have a positive improvement on discipline particularly in regard to discipline within the school and on stand-downs. The use of cornerstone values was seen to have a positive improvement on discipline particularly in regard to discipline within the school and on stand-downs. How? Cornerstone values were seen to provide a clear definition of goals, expectations and behaviour, hence there is more structure and consistency in dealing with any situations that arise. Cornerstone values were seen to provide a clear definition of goals, expectations and behaviour, hence there is more structure and consistency in dealing with any situations that arise. By making students take responsibility for their actions, and relating the consequences of those actions back to the values principles. By making students take responsibility for their actions, and relating the consequences of those actions back to the values principles.

25 Vandalism A majority of schools noticed that having cornerstone values has resulted in a decline in vandalism by 60–75 percent. A majority of schools noticed that having cornerstone values has resulted in a decline in vandalism by 60–75 percent. The biggest changes have been in terms of there being less graffiti, less destruction of property, and students being more aware and having a greater respect for property. The biggest changes have been in terms of there being less graffiti, less destruction of property, and students being more aware and having a greater respect for property.

26 Student Attendance In regard to student attendance in both studies, no notable improvement was observed. In regard to student attendance in both studies, no notable improvement was observed. However, there was agreement in both study periods that cornerstone values had a positive effect on the school being perceived as a caring community. However, there was agreement in both study periods that cornerstone values had a positive effect on the school being perceived as a caring community.

27 Impact on Staff Character education was seen to yield no improvements on: staff turnover, retaining good staff or impact on staff stability. There is, however, a positive effect on staff morale. Character education improves staff morale by creating a sense of structure which allows for a positive environment and where the focus for a teacher is on teaching and learning, as opposed to behavioural issues. Character education improves staff morale by creating a sense of structure which allows for a positive environment and where the focus for a teacher is on teaching and learning, as opposed to behavioural issues.

28 Enrolments and ERO Reports In both studies no notable improvement had been observed in enrolments. In both studies no notable improvement had been observed in enrolments. However, positive comments in ERO reports directly attributed to the character education program have been made. However, positive comments in ERO reports directly attributed to the character education program have been made. “… strong parental and community support. Calm and friendly atmosphere where staff and students work together” “… staff spend minimal time on behaviour issues and more on teaching” “Positive, respectful relationships between teachers and students, and amongst students themselves, are a feature of the school’s learning culture …” “The school’s values programme is a significant contributor to the safe emotional environment for students …” “… reflecting the values is a key part of everyday school life”

29 Use of Specialist Services The general consensus is that the integration of cornerstone values has resulted in a decline in the need for specialist services. The general consensus is that the integration of cornerstone values has resulted in a decline in the need for specialist services. The focus is now primarily on students’ learning rather than behaviour management. The focus is now primarily on students’ learning rather than behaviour management.

30 “How would you rate the impact of character education on the school?” For the study conducted in % of the schools have seen a ‘significant’ effect with the implementation of character education. For the study conducted in % of the schools have seen a ‘significant’ effect with the implementation of character education. The general opinion in the 2004 study was that character education had a ‘highly significant’ effect on the schools. The general opinion in the 2004 study was that character education had a ‘highly significant’ effect on the schools. Schools have identified that the presence of character education in the curriculum has improved relationships between staff and students, and as a result of this, the overall school culture can now be focused on learning rather than on behavioural issues. Schools have identified that the presence of character education in the curriculum has improved relationships between staff and students, and as a result of this, the overall school culture can now be focused on learning rather than on behavioural issues.

31 Management of the School “ Do you consider that the management of the school has become easier since the implementation of character education?” In 2007, 75% of the schools (compared to ~50% in 2004) consider that the implementation of character education has shown a ‘significant – quite significant’ effect in the easier management of the school. In 2007, 75% of the schools (compared to ~50% in 2004) consider that the implementation of character education has shown a ‘significant – quite significant’ effect in the easier management of the school. The general comment is that there is more co- operation between staff and students, and that the whole school works as one team. The general comment is that there is more co- operation between staff and students, and that the whole school works as one team.

32 Improvement in Effectiveness of Teaching “Do you consider there has been an improvement in the effectiveness of teaching and learning since the implementation of character education?” Approximately 50% of the schools noticed a ‘significant’ improvement in teaching effectiveness since the implementation of character education. Approximately 50% of the schools noticed a ‘significant’ improvement in teaching effectiveness since the implementation of character education. The consensus is that better behaviour allows for more focussed teaching, and that students appear to show more responsibility to learn and to incorporate the cornerstone values into most aspects of planning and learning. The consensus is that better behaviour allows for more focussed teaching, and that students appear to show more responsibility to learn and to incorporate the cornerstone values into most aspects of planning and learning.

33 Parental/Caregiver Response to Character Education “Do you consider that parents and or caregivers have been supportive of the implementation of character education?” “Do you consider that parents and or caregivers have been supportive of the implementation of character education?” In 2007 this additional question was included in order to capture parental responses. In 2007 this additional question was included in order to capture parental responses. The comments suggest that parents/caregivers intrinsically believe in values and are very supportive of the programme. The comments suggest that parents/caregivers intrinsically believe in values and are very supportive of the programme.

34 Summary of Findings

35 The majority of institutions implementing character education are primary schools. The majority of institutions implementing character education are primary schools. The average number of teaching staff for schools with character education is 13, and the average number of students was 245 (in 2007) and 278 (in 2004). The average number of teaching staff for schools with character education is 13, and the average number of students was 245 (in 2007) and 278 (in 2004). The decile classification rating of a school does not appear to influence or be an impediment to adoption of character education. The decile classification rating of a school does not appear to influence or be an impediment to adoption of character education. There are now a number of schools who have had the presence of character education for more than 4 years. There are now a number of schools who have had the presence of character education for more than 4 years.

36 There is a variety of dimensions that constitute Character Education, primarily: defining core values; focusing on one value per term; class displays; values featured in assembly, supporting staff with resources; values communicated to parents; recording behavioural incidents; and the disciplinary process supporting core values. There is a variety of dimensions that constitute Character Education, primarily: defining core values; focusing on one value per term; class displays; values featured in assembly, supporting staff with resources; values communicated to parents; recording behavioural incidents; and the disciplinary process supporting core values. The primary instigator of Character Education is, predictably, the principal. The primary instigator of Character Education is, predictably, the principal.

37 Character Education has a notably positive effect on: Relationships between staff and students and between students Relationships between staff and students and between students Student behaviour and playground behaviour Student behaviour and playground behaviour Discipline within the school and on stand downs Discipline within the school and on stand downs Incidence of vandalism Incidence of vandalism

38 Character Education has a notably positive effect on (continued): School being perceived as a caring community School being perceived as a caring community Staff morale Staff morale ERO reports ERO reports Need for specialist services Need for specialist services Easier management of the school Easier management of the school Teaching effectiveness Teaching effectiveness

39 Character Education appears to have little effect on: The relationship between the principal and staff and the school and parents The relationship between the principal and staff and the school and parents Student attendance Student attendance Staff turnover, retaining good staff or impact on staff stability. Staff turnover, retaining good staff or impact on staff stability. Enrolments, suspensions and expulsions, student attendance, and the use of support behaviour management. Enrolments, suspensions and expulsions, student attendance, and the use of support behaviour management.

40 To conclude comparatively, the presence of character education has enhanced many overall qualities within the schools. To conclude comparatively, the presence of character education has enhanced many overall qualities within the schools. In doing so, the school culture can now better focus on learning rather than on behavioural issues... they aren’t hanging off the lights! In doing so, the school culture can now better focus on learning rather than on behavioural issues... they aren’t hanging off the lights!

41 THANK YOU


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