Creating Equitable and Just Classrooms with the Teaching Tolerance Project

Teachers typically enter the classroom with just a few courses in teaching students with learning disabilities or those from diverse racial and ethnic groups. This lack of professional training, combined with the great diversity of today’s classrooms, can lead to challenges in creating a classroom characterized by respect and equity. One resource that provides a wealth of knowledge and high-quality resources is Teaching Tolerance.


Teaching Tolerance is a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which describes itself as a “nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society.” Based in Montgomery, Alabama, the birthplace of the modern civil rights movement, the SPLC monitors hate groups and racial extremists across the country, works to ensure appropriate services for at-risk children, fights for immigrant justice, and provides free resources for preK-12 educators who wish to create classrooms where “equality and justice are not just taught, but lived.”


The Teaching Tolerance web site is divided into six sections, each of which contains high-quality, free resources.

Magazine. Teaching Tolerance magazine is published twice a year (Fall and Spring issues), focusing on equity issues such as immigration, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, and bullying. Teachers may access full issues online via the magazine archive (which dates back to 1996) or order a free subscription by downloading, completing, and returning this form.

Professional Development. The Teaching Diverse Students Initiative (TDSi) provides a suite of research-based, professional development tools to help teachers, administrators, teacher educators, and school improvement teams identify policies and practices that support effective teaching and learning for all students. Creating a free account provides access to tools (such as the Common Beliefs Survey and Primer on Culturally Relevant Pedagogy), case studies, and other learning resources.

Classroom Activities. This section of the web site is a searchable database of classroom activities spanning preK to 12th grade.

Teaching Kits. A variety of teaching kits and professional development handbooks can be ordered or downloaded for free. Topics include preventing and responding to prejudice, civil discourse in the classroom, Rosa Parks, and Cesar Chavez.

Mix It Up. In this program, schools designate a Mix It Up at Lunch Day (in which students take a new seat in the cafeteria) to promote contact between diverse groups and social border crossing. Downloads, activities, and a map of participating schools across the United States are included in this section of the Teaching Tolerance web site.

Publications. This section of the site is a  database of tolerance-related books and resources, recommended and reviewed by the Teaching Tolerance staff.


In addition to browsing the web site, teachers can stay up-to-date through several social media sources. A blog provides the ability to comment and subscribe for periodic email updates. Teachers can also follow Teaching Tolerance on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.


Teaching Tolerance
Free resources for professional development and classroom instruction.

Southern Poverty Law Center
The home page for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which runs the Teaching Tolerance program.

This article was written by Jessica Fries-Gaither. For more information, see the Contributors page. Email Kimberly Lightle, Principal Investigator, with any questions about the content of this site.

Copyright June 2010 – The Ohio State University. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0733024. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. This work is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons license.

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