The lived experiences of principals, counselors, and high school students who participated in the character first guidance education program
Rindone, Helena Gayle
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The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences that a principal, counselor, and two groups of students had from implementing and receiving a character education program at a high school in South Texas. This study sought to uncover their experiences in order to contribute to the literature surrounding participant reflections and the growing literature surrounding impacts of character education programs. In order to gain an understanding of the experience a qualitative phenomenological case study was employed. The qualitative study focused on interviewing and observing school-wide participants (principal, counselor, and two groups of high school students) and implementers of the Character First guidance education program (n=10). Utilizing purposeful sampling, the participants were selected based on specific criteria used to identify participants who would best be able to answer the research questions. Findings are presented in a thematic format and highlight the unique experiences that each group of participants had. The data revealed the essence of the experiences and are presented in five themes with one sub-theme: (a) connection and affiliation, (b) implementation issues, (c) sub-theme: implementation ideas, (d) different perceptions of the Character First program, (e) guidance needs and intended goals of the program, and (f) participants recognize the benefits of character education. The findings of the study shed insight into the continued need to consider the importance of participant voices when considering the impact a program can have. This study has implications concerning the theoretical foundations that are used when implementation tactics and curricular components are designed and implemented. Future direction for research includes the continuation of including students as stakeholders for implementation ideas and considering other human development theories for curricular foundations.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of DOCTOR of PHILOSOPHY in COUNSELOR EDUCATION from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas.