American Sociological Association

Exploring Classroom Climate in Sociology Courses Using Syllabi

The classroom climate shapes students’ learning and instructors’ teaching experience in profound ways. This study analyzes classroom climate statements in syllabi from various sociology courses to understand the extent that sociology instructors highlight climate issues and how climate is conceptualized in their syllabi. Drawing from data from two different times periods (pre-2005 and post-2010), the current study examines the frequency of classroom climate statements, the factors that may contribute to the presence of a statement, and themes within these statements. Results show a significant increase in climate statements between the two time periods (17 percent vs. 58 percent) and that statements appear more often in courses that focus on race, class, gender, and sexualities and those taught by women. Classroom climate is typically framed as a matter of respect, creating a safe space, scholarly engagement with the materials and ideas, and responsibility.


Jessica Valentin and Liz Grauerholz





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