Finding the Purpose in Education: Assessing the Goals and Ideals of Education from the Perspective of Canadian Elementary Students

Ellen Marie Hamm, Edward Griffith


The focus of this action research project was to discern elementary students’ views regarding the goal or purpose of their education. Participants included 24 students in a grade four/five split classroom from a middle class neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Students were asked to voluntarily complete a researcher made survey regarding their perception on education. The survey required the students to reflect on four major areas; school for the purpose of citizenship, school for the purpose of building a better personal future, attitudes toward curriculum, and student attitudes about their own academic performance. The results of this study indicated that students strongly believed that school plays a large role in preparing them for the future and in building citizenship.  However, the students expressed a generally negative attitude toward personal academic performance academics and curriculum. Implications for educators are discussed in light of student responses.

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