The aim of this research was to explore student teachers’ attitudes towards character education and their experience of values and character education on their courses and in school.
The main findings from the project are summarised below:
- Student teachers consider the task of influencing the values and behaviour of pupils as integral to the role of the teacher before they begin their training.
- The majority of students are aware of some input on their courses in relation to this area but training and discussion about character or values is not uniform between courses or institutions.
- Student teachers believe that there are a variety of factors whose influence on pupils’ values is greater than their own. Despite this belief student teachers persist in the perception that teachers should be involved in values and character education.
- There is a difference between the approach to values education between students completing a teacher training course at a Christian institution and those at a non Christian institution.
- The majority of student teachers think their role is to encourage pupils to form their own values, however they also think that pupils should be encouraged to accept the ethos of their school and that there are common values shared by society more generally.
- Student teachers’ views on values education are sometimes contradictory.
- There is no common practice in relation to the formation of pupils’ character or values education in schools in relation to teacher training. The majority of student teachers in this study experienced and observed character and values education whilst the minority did not.
- The majority of students in both institutions thought that there should be greater provision of opportunities to study character education on their courses