Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Terrie Epstein

Committee Members

Nick Michelli

Ofelia Garcia

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Other Education


character education, teacher beliefs, New York City


This dissertation uses as its conceptual foundation the research on teacher beliefs to examine how teachers at an Expeditionary Learning School in Brooklyn, New York perceive the character building initiatives at their school. Using thematic case study methodology, the study found that teachers believed that character education is important and should be taught. Not only should character education be taught in schools, but the teachers believed that schools should be intentional about the teaching and development of student character. Teachers also believed that teachers are capable and should be allowed to spearhead the school initiatives intended to develop character. According to the teachers, character building initiatives impact academic achievement in the long run. The study also found that teachers need adequate preparation for the initiatives to be effective and that school leadership must take on a greater role in the implementation and execution of these initiatives.

The findings suggest that Expeditionary Learning School leadership should assess the character development initiatives at the school, based on the experience and perceptions of the practitioners that implement the initiatives. Concurrently, veteran teachers should be used to turnkey the best practices to new teachers. Teachers believe that there are obstacles to character development initiatives in the school but offer suggestions for improvement to ensure that none ultimately hinder the effectiveness of the initiatives. They point to administration and faculty collaboration in strengthening school initiatives meant to build student character.