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Tolerance as a Democratic Value in Higher Education

Author(s): Kasım Kıroğlu | Cevat Elma | Alper Kesten | Şule Egüz

Journal: Journal of Social Studies Education Research
ISSN 1309-9108

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 86;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Democratic value | tolerance | academician | university student

When we think about democracy, what springs to mind are values such as solidarity, tolerance, responsibility, love, respect, helpfulness, honesty, justice, freedom, compromise, and equality. There is no way that any one of these values could be preferred over another. However, tolerance has a special place in nurturing democracy. The Turkish for tolerance is hoşgörü and the Arabic and the Ottoman-Turkish is müsamaha. It is the state of not being bothered by others’ differences in way of language, religion, gender, creed, and attitudes, and being patient with those holding views and expressing feelings that may be in conflict with our own. A tolerant person is one who accepts there may be various approaches to a given issue, who tries to see these various approaches, and who views other people’s approaches from this perspective. A new generation that has internalized democracy is only possible through democratic classroom settings at all levels of education and especially in institutions of higher education where the lecturers train the future teachers in a tolerant environment and encourage them to adopt similar attitudes and behaviours. In this sense, lecturers’ attitudes towards students in the education process are important for nurturing democratic understanding and improving tolerance. However, how an individual defines themselves does not matter so much as how others define them. It is therefore not sufficient for lecturers just to define themselves as tolerant. In order for them to be so considered by their students, their tolerant classroom environment must be at least partially in line with their fellow lecturers’ and students’ expectations. An original dimension of this study was the development of a scale by first asking students’ ideas of how a tolerant lecturer should be, which is expected to make a contribution to the field. The main objective of this study is to find out the views on in-class tolerance of lecturers working at schools of education.
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