American Sociological Association

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  1. Living Theory: Principles and Practices for Teaching Social Theory Ethnographically

    This article details the principles and practices animating an "ethnographic" method of teaching social theory. As opposed to the traditional "survey" approach that aims to introduce students to the historical breadth of social thought, the primary objective of teaching ethnographically is to cultivate students as participant observers who interpret, adjudicate between, and practice social theories in their everyday lives.

  2. Social Issues and Problem-based Learning in Sociology: Opportunities and Challenges in the Undergraduate Classroom

    This article discusses the use of problem-based learning (PBL) in the undergraduate sociology classroom. PBL shifts students from the role of passive listeners and learners to active knowledge builders and communicators through the use of concise and engaging social problem cases. PBL creates opportunities for building substantive area knowledge, research skills, and problem-solving capacities and fosters student enjoyment.

  3. Student Engagement, Accountability, and Empowerment: A Case Study of Collaborative Course Design

    This article describes an experiment in collaborative course design in a midlevel sociology course. Unlike most of the literature on collaborative teaching and learning, which often deals with collaboration among students, this article discusses collaboration between the instructor and students. The students in this course collaborated with the instructor in designing the course—choosing the readings and developing the assignments—from the first day of class. Student feedback on the experiment was overwhelmingly positive.

  4. Teaching "Real Utopias" through Experiential Learning

    In this article, we describe a way to encourage students to envision "real utopias" through the Global Village experience at the Heifer Ranch in Arkansas. The Global Village experience introduces participants to issues associated with global hunger, poverty, environmental sustainability, and resource consumption and provides opportunities to experience simulated poverty and resource inequality.

  5. "It Didn't Seem Like Race Mattered": Exploring the Implications of Service-learning Pedagogy for Reproducing or Challenging Color-blind Racism

    Prior research measuring service-learning program successes reveals the approach can positively affect students’ attitudes toward community service, can increase students’ motivation to learn and ability to internalize class material, and can change their view of social issues. Studies also suggest that college students sometimes enter and leave a field site in ways that contribute to the reproduction of inequality.

  6. What Should Activist Scholars Teach in the Social Problems Classroom? Social Problems Literacy for Civic Engagement

    What should activist-scholars teach in the social problems classroom? In this conversation, I challenge the assertion that advancing a sociology of social problems is an overly academic enterprise of little use to students and other publics. I introduce the potential of a pedagogical framework for promoting social problems literacy: a set of skills that promotes critical, sociological understandings of social problems toward aims of supporting civic engagement and activism.

  7. LL3 Task Force Is Making Progress

    The ASA Task Force on Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major, Third Edition (LL3) has been working steadily on the charge put to it by ASA Council at their August 2014 meeting: to revise the ASA document Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major Updated: Meeting the Challenges of Teaching Sociology in the 21st Century (McKinney et al. 2004). Perhaps the most important as well as the most cited sociology curricular document in the United States, this revision comes at a critical time when several changes are occurring in higher education.

  8. Tactical Innovation in Social Movements: The Effects of Peripheral and Multi-Issue Protest

    Social movement researchers argue that tactical innovation occurs as a response to changes external to movements, such as police repression and shifts in political authority, or is due to internal movement processes, such as the characteristics of movement organizations and actors. In this study, we locate the roots of tactical innovation in the multiplicity of movement claims articulated at protest events.