Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wilkins, Elizabeth A.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Education; Educational leadership; School management and organization; Elementary education


Due to the escalating moral problems in society, parents are asking schools to create an environment to not only teach academics but values and social responsibility as well. This dissertation examines the perceptions of teachers, parents, and administrators in regard to social responsibility at the elementary school level. Many programs exist to teach moral and values education to elementary students and are utilized to address acts of school violence, bullying, drug and alcohol abuse. These programs are widely accepted within schools; however, at what point does a school's obligation for social instruction stop and parents' responsibility begin? If there is a lack of continuation between home and school, how can common values be identified and reinforced? Is it appropriate for schools to only impose its values on students? This qualitative case study examination consisted of an open-ended interview format of teachers, parents, and administrators, who represent the three main types of people that influence a child's character in elementary school. Four participants from each type were selected to be interviewed on 1) their views of the role of the classroom teacher in the instruction of social responsibility, 2) their comfort level of teaching social responsibility, and 3) others' role in teaching social responsibility. A focus group interview was conducted with each group to allow them to collaborate with each other and reflect on their answers from the first interview. Themes were identified by each group, including the importance of teachers balancing social responsibility instruction and academic content along with the importance of teachers serving as role models for students. Parents and teachers both felt they needed additional support from each other in order for students to be successful. All three groups identified comfortable and uncomfortable topics that impacted teaching social responsibility. These included positive ways they impacted students as well as challenges, which included amount of communication, need for increased support, and less apathy toward student issues by parents. Lastly, each group weighed in on the others' role in teaching social responsibility. This resulted in each group identifying how the others could support them in teaching students' social responsibility. Examples included the importance of home/school partnerships, increased communication, and parents not undermining school-based decisions. Due to the daily interactions, evaluating the perceptions of administrators, teachers, and parents may be an important indicator in students' moral and character development. The study was designed to gain insight on the differences and similarities of these three influential groups of educators regarding how, when, and how much social responsibility should be taught in schools. These findings highlight several recommendations on how these three groups can improve the social responsibility instruction that schools provide for students as well as suggestions for future research on this topic.


Advisors: Elizabeth A. Wilkins.||Committee members: William A. Pitney; Teresa Wasonga.||Includes bibliographical references.


135 pages




Northern Illinois University

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