Faculty Research at Morehead State University


How Would Teenagers Respond?: Rural Educator Estimates on Selected Core Value Statements

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This paper compares the responses of rural educators from northeastern Kentucky to those of a national sample of respondents completing Phi Delta Kappa's survey, "How Teenagers Respond." This survey aimed to determine what common values adults believe adolescents possess. Thirty-five administrators and teachers from middle schools and high schools in northeastern Kentucky completed the survey, which asked respondents to estimate how adolescents in their school would respond to various values questions. The majority of respondents from both samples were White married female teachers who lived and taught in small towns and rural areas. Respondents from the local sample reached consensus on predicting how teenagers would respond to 25 of 43 value statements, but were undecided on the remaining 18 statements. That is, on 25 of 43 statements at least 67 percent of respondents agreed on a predicted response. In comparison, the national sample of educators reached consensus on 29 of 43 statements, but were undecided on adolescents' responses to 14 statements. Despite the large disparity in sample sizes (35 and 2,163), the relative percentage of educators predicting how teenagers would respond on each statement were similar. In general, rural Kentucky educators believed that teens subscribe to democratic ideals over authoritarianism, are susceptible to peer pressure, yearn for parental understanding, feel that their generation faces tough situations, and are unclear about what values their parents hold or the role honesty should play in real life situations. Implications for practice and future research are addressed. Includes survey questionnaire and data tables.