Teaching tolerance in language arts for student awareness in middle schools

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership


Department of Educational Leadership


Advisor: Thomas Oldenski


This qualitative study examined how students' awareness of tolerance varied depending on their school setting. In addition, the study focused on teachers' attitudes and perspectives about including elements of social justice in their seventh grade language arts curriculum. The setting of the study was representative of schools in rural, urban, and suburban settings in the Midwestern United States. Through the study, the researcher evaluated students' awareness of tolerance through the use of focus groups. In contrast, a semi-formal interview was used to gauge teachers' perspectives and attitudes in regards to teaching issues of tolerance in their seventh grade language arts classes. Transcriptions of the focus groups and interviews were analyzed, coded, and divided into themes to express the findings of the study. In addition to field notes, the researcher kept a journal to document personal responses to the experiences in each school. The findings of the study did not show substantial differences in the school settings and the students' knowledge and awareness of tolerance in most cases; however, the semi-structured interviews with the teachers displayed variance in the school settings and the teachers' attitudes and perspectives toward teaching tolerance. The findings showed that the teachers in a suburban setting were the most likely to address issues of tolerance in their seventh grade language arts curriculum. The implications for teaching are that educators must provide opportunities through their classroom curriculum for students to learn skills that will encourage them to become tolerant and accepting members of society.


Toleration Study and teaching (Middle school), Discrimination Study and teaching (Middle school), Middle school students Attitudes, Middle school teachers Attitudes, Education, Middle School Education, Language Arts, tolerance, middle school, awareness, teaching, social justice, curriculum

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