Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Ronald A. Lindahl

Committee Members

Russell F. West, Nancy Dishner, Elizabeth Ralston


Character education has been a part of public schooling in the United States since its beginning. It has undergone dramatic changes over the years, from didactic instruction to service learning; it continues to evolve as more and more schools become involved in teaching students right from wrong. The current emphasis on character education in schools began in the early 1990s as an attempt to alleviate the increasingly violent behavior of students as reported in the media.

The purpose of this study was to determine how character education affected the behavior of students. The study involved: observing student behavior; interviewing teachers, students, and parents to determine their perceptions of the effects of the character education program on student behavior; and reviewing disciplinary records to identify behavioral patterns.

The findings from this study suggested that character education programs may have a positive effect on student behavior. Furthermore, the findings led to recommendations regarding the implementation of character education programs in elementary schools. Character education should be an integral part of the curriculum, not taught as a separate subject. This includes not only academic subjects but also specialty areas such as art, music, and physical education. Classroom rules should be based on the principles of good character and teachers should model good character for the students to observe. Additionally, students should be taught character through hands-on service activities that contribute to the school, the community, and society in general. This will help the students develop a sense of ownership of the program and should help to improve student behavior.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.