The Metropolitan Life Survey of the American Teacher, 1996. Students Voice Their Opinions On: Learning about Values and Principles in School. Part IIIReport as inadecuate

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This report, the third in a series of four, reflects MetLife's continued efforts to bring insight and understanding to current issues in education that affect the nation's public schools. The survey sought student information on topics related to values and principles of right and wrong from the perspective of public school students in middle and high school, including whether or not lessons on values belong in the classroom; how helpful such lessons may be; where they learn their values and seek advice; and the role that peers and adults play in student decision-making activities. A total of 2,524 questionnaires were completed with public school students enrolled in grades seven through twelve throughout all states of the continental United States. Every public school containing any of these grades had an equal chance of being selected. Weights were applied so that the sample of students in grades seven through twelve is projectable to the total student population nationally. From December 19, 1995 through February 2, 1996 questionnaires were self-administered by students in the classroom under teacher supervision. Reported findings include: (1) For many students, values and principles of right and wrong belong in the classroom and one in three would like their teachers to place more emphasis on teaching this subject than they do currently; (2) Non-urban African-American students appear to be a unique group of students with respect to their opinions about teaching values in school; (3) Most teens learn their values from their parents but seek advice from their peers; (4) Students report that they value their own opinions and judgments, are willing to learn from their own mistakes and are not easily persuaded by what others might think; (5) Many students participate in activities such as after-school groups, religious services and volunteer work that provide positive contributions to their values and principles of right and wrong; (6) Most students feel that their own faith and values have an important place in their school life; (7) When the level of social tension is high, students seem to be interested in increasing the emphasis being placed on teaching values; and (8) Students overall are equivocal about how helpful these lessons will be to them in the future, perhaps because half of them think that teachers fail to use realistic examples. Four appendices are included: (1) Cleaning Data for the Report; (2) Methodology; (3) Harris Scholastic Sample Design Methodology; and (4) Questionnaire. (Contains 37 tables.) [This report is one of a 4-part series. For Part I, see ED504813. For Part II, see ED504814. For Part IV, see ED504827.]

Descriptors: Public Schools, Middle Schools, High Schools, Student Attitudes, Opinions, Values, Values Education, Grades (Scholastic), Relevance (Education), Role, Interpersonal Relationship

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Author: Metropolitan Life Insurance Company


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