Integrating character education in the classroom using young adult literature to strengthen the social and emotional awareness of middle school students
The research question addressed in this capstone is can integrating character education in the classroom using young adult literature strengthen the social and emotional awareness in middle school students? This capstone unit documents one teacher's creation of a thematic unit which integrates elements of character through an exploration of young adult historical fiction in an attempt to build social awareness and empathy amongst middle level students. The author documents the details of the unit through the use of research literature to build purpose and reliability for the unit construction. Key influences for the capstone were various character education and literacy leaders such as Kelly Gallagher, Stephen Wolk, and Thomas Lickona all of whom emphasized the value of purposeful and authentic curriculum as a means to strengthen the social and emotional awareness of adolescents. Wolk (2013) emphasizes the concept of thematic based units in the English and language arts classrooms to establish character amongst students using various young adult literature texts alongside core themes. Young adult literature provides a rich foundation for adolescent students they get to walk along with a character through their journey as a means to reflect on their own life and the lives of others. Overall, the motivating factor for this capstone was the shift in today's society and the need to create engaging curriculum to support the growth of character development amongst students at the middle school level.
Gustafson, Rachel J., "Integrating character education in the classroom using young adult literature to strengthen the social and emotional awareness of middle school students" (2014). School of Education Student Capstones and Dissertations. 4066.
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