Date of Award

1994

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Cary Burke

Second Advisor

Michael Fox

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to design an instrument and to use it in a study to measure teachers' perceptions of their effectiveness in teaching Catholic moral principles to middle and upper secondary students. As well, a final version of the instrument based on the results of the study and respondent feedback was to be developed. The study was justified on the following grounds: - less than half of Western Australia's Catholic secondary teachers of Religious Education are qualified to teach Religious Education. - Research findings (Fahy, 1980; Flynn, 1985; Angus, 1988) cast doubt on the effectiveness of moral education within the Catholic middle and upper secondary school. - No studies have measured teachers' perceptions of their effectiveness in teaching Catholic moral principles to senior secondary students. Following the distribution of the initial instrument to respondents, the study's focus was refined from the school to the classroom in Catholic middle and upper secondary moral education. The instrument was revised to accommodate this change in research focus for the purpose of data analysis and its content was based on the Catholic school models of effective teacher behaviour and effective moral education curriculum. The revised instrument was used in a study of 87 respondents from Catholic secondary schools in Western Australia and New South Wales. Cronbach alpha coefficients and face, content and construct validity assessments confirmed the instrument's reliability and validity. Means, t tests and response distribution percentages were obtained to evaluate data. The study found that fewer unqualified teachers than other teachers in the study perceived that their teacher effectiveness, teacher attributes and teaching strategies were effective in Catholic middle and upper secondary moral education. The study also found that less than half of unqualified teachers agreed that the Catholic secondary school's curriculum priorities, and in particular those related to the provision of a comprehensive guide to Catholic moral teachings, were effective for the needs of unqualified teachers of Religious Education in middle and upper secondary classes. Some adjustments were made to the revised instrument following the study. The final instrument is a self administered questionaire. It contains 29 items, 27 of which are six option Likert Scales, including 'Not Applicable' response options outside the scales. The final instrument was developed, potentially, for use in a larger study to evaluate Catholic middle and upper secondary moral education in Australia.

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