Comparing the use of cinematherapy and bibliotherapy to teach character education: a quasi-experimental study

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University of Alabama Libraries

Character education, an educational construct which emphasizes educational strategies and targets the specific moral development needs of children (Berkowitz & Bier, 2007), is often taught in the school setting through direct instruction by the school counselor using simple tools such as books and movies. However, there is absence of literature comparing the effectiveness of these tools for providing character education. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to compare the effectiveness of bibliotherapy (using books in counseling) and cinematherapy (using movies in counseling) on third grade students’ understanding of character education. Third grade students at four schools were randomly assigned by classroom to one of three groups: intervention with books, intervention with movies, or the control. School counselors at four elementary schools presented six classroom guidance lessons focusing on the six character traits of Character Counts! (2017): caring, citizenship, fairness, kindness, respect, and responsibility. The students’ understanding of these character traits was assessed with a pre- and post-intervention test using a researcher developed instrument, Understanding Character Traits Survey (UCTS; Davis, 2017). The psychometric properties of the instrument were investigated using the Rasch model. Rasch model indices of item difficulty, person locations, along with item and person fit statistics were investigated. The researcher-developed instrument exhibited acceptable psychometric properties in the sample examined in this study. Results of the data collected from students’ pre- and post-intervention tests indicate that all groups improved their understanding of character traits over time regardless of intervention group. Therefore, classroom guidance lessons using bibliotherapy and cinematherapy were not supported as mediators in the students’ understanding of character education traits based on pre- and post-test results. There was a statistically significant change in scores between the pre-test and post-test indicating that time was a factor in students’ understanding of character. This study highlighted the value of time on students’ understanding of character and will serve to contribute to future research on character education, bibliotherapy, and cinematherapy and their roles in classroom guidance lessons.

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School counseling