A study of the values, beliefs, and attitudes of students at an international high school
Pettibone, Susan Carole
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Moral values are a key element in the development of good character and good citizenship, and they are the focus of this study which examines the values and beliefs and attitudes of students at an international high school. The purpose was to determine if their values reflect good character and good citizenship, and the un iversal core values of tolerance, compassion, and concern for the welfare of others. Other factors of particular interest in this study are nationality, culture, gender, religion, length of stay at the international school, and the effect of the international school experience on international awareness and understanding. A survey questionnaire and one-on-one student interviews provided the quantitative and qualitative data for this study. Although the findings revealed that there are contradictions and inconsistencies in the values and beliefs of ind ividual students, particularly with regard to tolerance and compassion, the find ings also indicate that the students share a large group of traditional moral values which reflect good character and good citizenship. In addition, almost all of the students indicated that the experience of being at the international school helped them to understand and to appreciate people from other countries and cultures. There were also differences in student values, bel iefs and attitudes based on nationality and culture, gender, religious beliefs, and length of stay at the international school. According to the findings, length of stay at the international school may have the least effect overall on the values, beliefs and attitudes of the students. The most significant differences concern nationality and culture, gender, and religious principles to inform right and wrong behavior. Educators concerned with student values and character education in culturally diverse educational settings may find it worthwhile to examine the values and beliefs of international school students. Because of their emphasis on positive intercultural relations based on cooperation, respect, responsibility to the community, compassion and concern for the welfare of others, tolerance, and cultural awareness and understanding -all facets of good character and good citizenship- international schools could provide educators in America's culturally diverse schools with an alternative way of looking at multicultural education.
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