Is School the Best Place to Teach Tolerance

Is School the Best Place to Teach Tolerance - IS SCHOOL THE...

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IS SCHOOL THE BEST PLACE TO TEACH TOLERANCE? 1 Is School the Best Place to Teach Tolerance? AED/200 January 16, 2011
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IS SCHOOL THE BEST PLACE TO TEACH TOLERANCE 2 Is School the Best Place to Teach Tolerance? Tolerance is not a value that is automatically in a child’s brain upon birth. Tolerance is a taught value, learned from the way families interact and how children are educated by teachers. Families are only able to show students one way to interact with their peers. In the classroom a student can learn tolerance in a variety of settings. From the inception of the American public school system, in the mid-1800s, citizenship education has been one of the fundamental principles explicit in the formation of the curriculum. In fact, New York State has stated in its learning standards for the social sciences that understanding American citizenship’s roots and responsibilities is a necessary component at every level of instruction. In a pluralistic society, citizenship education must then inherently include issues of cultural diversity. Students must be taught reasoning in skills to make thoughtful, responsible decisions concerning tolerance. However because we live in a democratic society, it does not necessarily follow that individuals will exercise restraint or tolerance in the face of actions, or ideas that they find offensive, challenging, threatening, or unacceptable. Consequently, teaching tolerance in public schools has become a controversial issue, in light of the ways that America has become so diversified, incorporating people of differing cultures and religions from across the world. Nonetheless, educators in the public school system have a responsibility to inculcate the youth if the nation with the reasoning skills necessary to making sound ethical judgments to practice and exercise tolerance. Admittedly, there has been much confusion over the very definition of what tolerance actually means, which has caused some people to be leery of accepting “tolerance teaching” in schools. Historically, since the days of Thomas Aquinas, tolerance has been seen as a vice,
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IS SCHOOL THE BEST PLACE TO TEACH TOLERANCE 3 which can lead to harming innocent people and the corruption of society (Colasante & Biggs, 1999, p.287). Those beliefs, like those of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages, are established on an appeal to authority or religious tradition (Colasante & Boggs, 1999, p. 287) when those in power abused their authority and initiated a policy, which inhibited freedom. For people who view tolerance in this light, they are concerned that their moral standards will be impinged upon in order to accommodate others’. On the other hand, the 21 st century has seen a rebirth in thought and the way in which tolerance is defined and applied; tolerance is “a positive characteristic which should be encouraged in democratic citizens… to guarantee liberty and justice in a world full of competing self-interests” (Colasante & Biggs, 1999, 9. 279). In this manner, tolerance should no longer be
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course EDUCATION AED 200 taught by Professor Stickler during the Fall '11 term at University of Phoenix.

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Is School the Best Place to Teach Tolerance - IS SCHOOL THE...

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