Perceptions of character education in a Seventh-day Adventist school

Marva Elaine Tyrell, Florida International University


Character education has been viewed by many educators as having significant historical, academic, and social value. Many stakeholders in education argue for character development as a curricular experience. While understanding the degree to which character education is of worth to stakeholders of institutions is important, understanding students, teachers, and administrators perspectives from their lived experiences is likewise significant. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to gain a deeper understanding of character education within a Biblical framework environment by examining the lived experiences of students, administrators, and teachers of a Seventh-day Adventist School. Phenomenology describes individuals' daily experiences of phenomena, the manner in which these experiences are structured, and focuses analysis on the perspectives of the persons having the experience (Moustakas, 1994). This inquiry was undertaken to answer the question: What are the perceptions of students, teachers, and an administrator toward character education in a Seventh-day Adventist school setting? Ten participants (seven students and three adults) formed the homogeneous purposive sample, and the major data collection tool was semi-structured interviews (Patton, 1990; Seidman, 2006). Three 90-minute open-ended interviews were conducted with each of the participants. Data analysis included a three-phase process of description, reduction and interpretation. The findings from this study revealed that participants perceived that their involvement in the school's character education program decreased the tendency to violence, improved their conduct and ethical sensibility, enhanced their ability to engage in decision-making concerning social relationships and their impact on others, brought to their attention the emerging global awareness of moral deficiency, and fostered incremental progress from practice and recognition of vices to their acquisition of virtues. The findings, therefore, provide a model for teaching character education from a Seventh-day Adventist perspective. The model is also relevant for non-Seventh day Adventists who aspire to teach character education as a means to improving social and moral conditions in schools.

Subject Area

Religious education|Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

Tyrell, Marva Elaine, "Perceptions of character education in a Seventh-day Adventist school" (2012). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3554221.