This study investigates the importance of character education on Emirati students’ morality and character development and explores the essential role that teachers play. Character can be defined as a set of personal qualities and traits that guide people’s conduct. It is worth noting that before defining character education, it should be mentioned that it can be referred to character education in different terms, such as, moral reasoning, moral/values education, the teaching of virtues to name a few. Character education is the big umbrella that covers all teaching and learning that take place for the sake of character development. However, educators and parents believe that it is crucial to educate children to adhere to the morals and values of the society. Hence, one of the most important aims of schools is to develop children intellectually and morally to be good members in their societies. It is asserted by McClellan (1999) that the main target of establishing schools is to inculcate moral values in children. Lickona (1989, p. 6) has demonstrated that, “down through history, in various countries, education has had two great goals: to help young people become smart and to help them become good”. In other words, the education system’s main aim is to develop pupils in two main aspects, intellectual and moral. Building good character is a crucial topic in most societies due to its major impact on the whole community. A person’s character starts developing during childhood and continues to develop through all of his life. Thus, a big responsibility is given to parents to help their children develop appropriate morals and virtues (Boyer, 1995). On the other hand, schools have the lion’s share in developing children’s characters since children spend quite some time at schools on a daily basis. Teachers’ significant role in character education is obvious. According to Henson (2001), parents and teachers are united, but their roles are disjointed in the development of character. In this light, teachers are expected to provide learners with a set of core virtues and morals in a healthy and safe school climate where they can build and develop their characters. Teachers provide them with the intellectual equipment that help develop a sense of wisdom in their life. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of studies that address character education in the UAE schools, especially, in the private sector where it is highly required due to the fact that there are numerous cultures at these schools including the teachers themselves. This study with its mixed method design targeted two International British schools. Quantitatively, three kinds of questionnaires were used to explore the perceptions of parents, teachers and students on the Emirati students’ morality and character development in International schools. For the qualitative phase that followed the quantitative part, interviews were held individually with the participants including teachers, parents and students selected to talk about their perspectives on character education in these schools.


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  • Received: 30 April 2015
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