What does character education mean to character education experts? A prototype analysis of expert opinions

Journal of Moral Education 51 (2):219-237 (2022)
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Having an agreed-upon definition of character education would be useful for both researchers and practitioners in the field. However, even experts in character education disagree on how they would define it. We attempted to achieve greater conceptual clarity on this issue through a prototype analysis in which the features perceived as most central to character education were identified. In Study 1 (N = 77), we asked character education experts to enumerate features of character education. Based on these lists, we identified 30 features. In Study 2 (N = 101), experts assessed which features were central to character education through a categorization task. In Study 3 (N = 166), we assessed the extent of centrality using scalar items. We conclude by offering practical advice for the development of future character education studies and programs rooted in what is deemed central to such programs.

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