The Effects of Pro-active Character Education on the Management of Student Behaviour

Perceptions of Year 4-8 Teachers in a Full Primary School

To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.

(Roosevelt as cited by Lickona 1991 p.3)

For the past five years the staff, students and community at the writer’s school have been actively involved in a project known as the Cornerstone Values approach to building character. While this effort has been in consultation, training, resourcing, implementation and review, little has been done to evaluate how teachers perceive the connection between behaviour management in the school and this character education project. The conservation and restoration of desirable behaviours in the school was a key motivating factor in the establishment of the project. The writer has therefore taken the opportunity to investigate what Year 4-8 teachers in the school perceive the effects of a pro-active character education approach on the management of student behaviour to be.

For the purpose of this investigation a semi-structured interview was conducted with six teachers the writer’s school. Their responses revealed that:

  1. the most common inappropriate classroom and playground behaviours are due to a lack of one of the eight Cornerstone Values
  2. punishments used reinforce one or more of the Cornerstone Values and are viewed as generally effective
  3. character education is regarded as essential to maintaining current levels of behaviour
  4. an understanding of each Cornerstone Value is regarded as important to appropriate classroom and playground behaviour
  5. there is a need to retain behaviour management as a professional development priority to ensure ongoing consistency and ownership

For the staff at the writer’s school these findings reinforce an informal and previously unsubstantiated perception that character education and in particular the Cornerstone Values approach to building character, is significant in determining successful relationships and therefore the positive culture of the school.

Full text (14 pages) download here (102 kB)

  1. Teacher Survey - download here (30 kB)
  2. Code of Conduct - download here (40 kB)
  3. Think Sheet - download here (27 kB)
  4. Cornerstone Values Words and Definitions - download here (24 kB)
  5. 20 Character Education Implementation Strategies - download here (24 kB)

Galloway is the Principal of George Street Normal School, Dunedin, and can be contacted at

Download links on this page are in PDF format

Copyright ©2007 NZFFCE, All rights reserved -