Efficiency of Social Studies Integrated Character Education Program

Article excerpt

Abstract

In this research, it is aimed to find out (i) the efficiency of a character education program based on overt values of Turkish 7th grade social studies lesson, and (ii) its hidden effects on the academic success. This research employed a semi-experimental design with pre-test, post-test and control group For this research primarily character education program and quantification tools were developed and then the practice process of the research was carried out. The practice of the research was made in a state primary school in Umraniye, Istanbul. Before the practice one of the classes is assigned as experiment and the other is as control group, equality of the groups has been determined through statistical progress. While character education program is being applied to the experiment group, normal course program has been applied to control group. The practice was continued totally 39 course hours being 3 course hours in a week.

Key Words

Character Education, Social Studies, Values Education.

Decline of human rights and the idea towards their deficient consideration were issued frequently both in academic and popular publications in last two decades and, it was stated that the societal structure and individual characters which were necessary to derive benefit from main human rights began to get lost (Lickona, 1991; Ryan & Bohlin, 1999). Studies towards removing this concern are in workspace of different disciplines and one of them is education because, in its' general meaning, education is a process that aims to change individual's behaviour for societal life (Akbas, 2004). In this process, societal values and cultural elements are purposely transferred to individuals for the purpose of maintaining societal structure (Demirel, 2007; Etürk, 1997). In other words, societal values and attitudes are transferred to young generations in school environment (Nucci, 2001). Besides, it is among educational aims to ensure individuals embrace universal values and the society also expects this from schools (Eksi, 2003b).

In Turkey, National Education Act with number1739 which organizes governments' tasks and responsibilities in educational area highlights training people who are academically succesful and have rational character properties, when it defines the general aims of Turkish national education (Milli Egitim Bakanligi [MEB], 1997). According to this, we can say that the governmental demand is towards young generations' character development and, research about this issue includes practices in the context of character education (Lickona, 1991).

The origins of character education start from antiquity and, it was defined as intentional implementations which were done with the aim of providing students to know good, to desire it and to do good (Healea, 2006; Lickona, 1991). As we can understand form this definition, good character is a concept which contains knowing good, embracing good and doing well. Therefore, intentional implementations towards knowing good, embracing good and doing good are remembered when we ad- dress activities related with character development (Ryan & Bohlin, 1999; Lickona, 1993). The rationale of these implementation is formed parallel to the considerations that positive character traits cannot be spontaneously existed, and intentional implementations are necessary (Arthur, 2008; Lickona, 1991). Besides, character education is supported by its' advocators because of the thinking that the individual whose moral development has reached a relatively mature level might gain responsibility sense and s/he might be academically successful at the same time (Arthur, 2008; Lickona, 1991; Nucci, 1989). In this context, we can define the character education as intentional implementations that organize behaviors according to main human values and are provided with the aim of training academically successful individuals.

Social studies researchers have stated that there is an interaction between character education and citizenship education (Johnson, 2005, p. …