Exploring Prosocial Behavior Through Structured Philosophical Dialogue

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education and Human Services


Educational Foundations

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Alina Reznitskaya

Committee Member

Maughn Gregory

Committee Member

David Kennedy

Committee Member

Monica Taylor


Bullying is a serious social problem that can have deleterious effects for school children. A variety of interventions have been implemented, and research shows that the majority, which are monological in nature, have demonstrated minimal, if any, impact on counteracting occurrences of bullying in schools. This study examines the impact of an instructional method that uses dialogical inquiry on students' attitudes and beliefs about aggression. The quantitative measures showed that the instructional treatment was not significantly associated with these attitudes and beliefs. However, quantitative content analyses of formal, conversational strategies suggest that students who participated in the community of inquiry began to internalize behaviors, such as respect, fairness and caring. The role of the facilitator in modeling and encouraging good inquiry and empowering students to fully engage the process so that they can practice and, ultimately, internalize dispositions, such as respect, fairness and caring, emerged as a critical element.


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