Through a reflection of personal philosophy, a literature review focused on best practices for teaching language arts, including the use of scaffolds and differentiation, and through the collection of and interpretation of instructional data, a study was conducted about the expansion of empathy skills in the language arts classroom. Questions of how to include curricula that promotes student identities, values cultural capital, and promotes relationship-building were analyzed, with an emphasis on reading that promotes empathy. Key findings from data collected and studied found that discourse was an underrepresented tool for literary reflection and that creativity fosters student engagement, which increases connection with classroom content.

Exit Requirement

Action Research

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (initial licensure)

Committee Chair

Melanie Landon-Hays and Amy Bowden

Committee Member

Scott Graves


empathy, engagement, peer-learning, reading, language arts, diversity, relationship-building, literature



Type (DCMI Terms)


Subject Categories

Language and Literacy Education

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Rights Statement URL


Additional Files

Neidenbach, Cylinda ARP.pdf (528 kB)



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