Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Sandra Harris

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Jennifer T. Butcher

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Irma Harper


Teachers experience difficulty in introducing some sensitive and controversial issues in the classroom environment. The purpose of this qualitative instrumental case study was to identify strategies that exemplary secondary social studies teachers implement when facilitating classroom discussions about sensitive and controversial issues, specifically, racial issues framed within Singleton and Linton’s 4 agreements of courageous conversations: stay engaged, speak your truth, experience discomfort, and accept and expect nonclosure. This study utilized qualitative data collection. Semi-structured, online one-to-one internet-based interviews were used to document the lived experiences of exemplary secondary social studies teachers and the strategies they use when facilitating discussions about sensitive and controversial issues such as race in the classroom. Voluntarily submitted participant artifacts such as lesson plans, strategies, and multimedia resources were utilized to provide in-class strategies and context. The 4 purposefully selected secondary social studies teachers, 3 males, and 1 female, met the criteria to be included in this study by being a recipient of the National Council for the Social Studies, Outstanding Secondary Social Studies Teacher of the Year award. Moreover, each participant is a current or previous classroom teacher of 1 or more courses under the content area of secondary social studies. Geographically, all participants reside within the continental United States. An overall conclusion of the findings revealed that teachers need to teach and model how to communicate effectively by acquiring the ability and willingness to share, hear, understand, and accept multiple perspectives effectively both in and of the classroom.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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