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A Content Analysis Of Iranian Children'S Story Books For The Presence Of Social And Moral Values

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Problem. This study was conducted to identify the incidence of specific Iranian middle-class social and moral values in the content of children's story books. Four questions were used as research guides: (1) To what extent are Iranian middle-class social and moral values present in the content of the selected story books? (2) To what degree of frequency and level of intensity are the values presented? (3) What additional values, if any, are not presented in the list of the specific values? (4) How do the findings of this study compare with those of a previous study of social and moral values in the textbooks used for the elementary level in Iran? Purpose. The purpose of this study was to gather data related to the presence of specific values from nineteen of the most popular children's story books for ages seven to eleven in Iran. Procedures. In collecting the data, a coding form was used for each of the books, as adopted by Ghandi, in her study. The form consisted of sixteen major Iranian middle-class social and moral values which were selected by six Iranian sociologists. The values were: Marriage, Religion, Country, Family, Authority, Education, Cleanliness, Kindness, Work, Thrift, Honesty, Boy as favored sex, Justice, Charity, Friends, and Hospitality. With the assistance of five Iranian students as coders the validity and reliability of the coding procedures were validated. Findings and Conclusions. There was no balance in the presentation of the sixteen major values in story books. Three values: Honesty, Justice, and Work received strong attention (42%). Two values: Boy as a Favored Sex, and Cleanliness received the lowest attention (2%). Five additional values: Prudence, Cleverness, Conservativeness, Being greatful, and Bravery were identified in the content of the story books. The results of comparing the two studies indicated that three values: Work, Education, and Religion received the major emphases, while the value Boy as a Favored Sex actually was not observed in either study. Implications and Recommendations. The findings may help Iranian children's writers to be aware of the value content in story books and create stories appropriate for young readers' moral development. The findings may help parents, teachers, and librarians and other interested persons in identifying and/or selecting books emphasizing specific social and moral values. The findings may assist the children's writers to follow a consistent pattern in presenting values in story and textbooks. Further studies should be done in the following areas: a study similar to this for ages other than seven to eleven; indepth studies to explore the manner in which social and moral values are internalized by children; studies to compare findings of this study and those story books translated from other languages into Farsi.

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