American Sociological Association

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  1. Sociology, Teaching, and Reflective Practice: Using Writing to Improve

    The scholarly literature on teaching sociology contains relatively little about improving courses from one semester to the next. In this article, I describe a method for continual teaching improvement that is based on writing, the well-established practice of teacher reflection, and classical sociological principles. This method was developed through the analysis of nine semesters of autoethnographic data that I collected in the form of daily reflective notes.

  2. 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.

  3. “I Understand What They’re Going through”: How Socioeconomic Background Shapes the Student Service-learning Experience

    Traditional service-learning pedagogy assumes that learning occurs when contact between relatively advantaged students and a relatively disadvantaged service population reduces prejudice. However, little is known about how students whose backgrounds are similar to the populations they serve process this learning experience. This study explores the connections between socioeconomic status and learning trajectories within service-learning. Students provided written reflections on a service-learning experience focused on food insecurity as part of course requirements.

  4. Integrating Community-based Research into a Senior Capstone Seminar: Lessons Learned from a Mixed-methods Study

    This article describes a senior capstone, Neighborhoods and Health, which used community-based research (CBR) as its primary pedagogy. Students in the course drew upon multiple research methods and forms of data to provide our partner, the Urban Farming Institute of Boston, with an array of research products in support of the revitalization of a historic farm in the Boston neighborhood of Mattapan.

  5. Using Racial and Class Differences in Infant Mortality to Teach about White Privilege: A Cooperative Group Activity

    A considerable amount of research across the past several decades has documented the emergence of a new racial ideology of “color-blindness” as well as evidence that white college students have difficulty recognizing the racial privileges that are obscured by this color-blindness. To address this, we developed a cooperative group White Privilege Activity that used racial and class differences in infant mortality to help students recognize the existence of white privilege.
  6. Navigating the Process of Curriculum Redesign in Sociology: Challenges and Lessons from One Program

    The American Sociological Association has produced a wide range of reports and materials addressing curricular best practices. Collectively, those materials are an invaluable resource for guiding revisions of the sociology major, but they do not address processes for implementing such revisions. In this conversation piece, we describe the steps by which our department implemented a thorough curricular redesign—a process nearing completion after five years of formal discussions, and with roots reaching back even farther.
  7. Pedagogy: Teaching and Learning about Settler-colonial Racism: A Case for “Unsettling” Minoritizing and Multicultural Perspectives

    This article contributes to emerging efforts to decolonize race-based approaches and antiracist pedagogies in sociology. Building on recent scholarship on settler colonialism and decolonization as well as her experiences of being unsettled, the author discusses the limitations of her critical sociological toolkit for understanding and teaching about the cultural violence associated with “Indian” sport mascots.
  8. Share, Show, and Tell: Group Discussion or Simulations Versus Lecture Teaching Strategies in a Research Methods Course

    Impacts of incorporating active learning pedagogies into a lecture-based course were examined among 266 students across nine research methods course sections taught by one instructor at a large public university. Pedagogies evaluated include lecture only, lecture with small group discussions, and lecture with simulations. Although lecture-simulations sections outperformed lecture-only sections on one outcome measure, few performance differences appeared between lecture-only and alternative groups.
  9. Teaching Note: Social Networks and Labor Market Inequality: A Role-playing Activity to Teach Difficult Concepts

    Role-playing activities, as a form of active learning, enable instructors to teach difficult concepts in ways that better facilitate student learning. This note tests the effectiveness of a role-playing activity that simulates the job market: Most students play job seekers seeking employment, and a few play the employers who make employment decisions. However, students are constrained in that they can only talk to students they already know or meet during the game.
  10. Do They Have to Like It to Learn from It? Students’ Experiences, Group Dynamics, and Learning Outcomes in Group Research Projects

    Small-group pedagogies, such as group research projects, are a common instructional method in undergraduate education. The literature suggests that small-group learning has positive effects on learning outcomes, but some students have negative attitudes toward group work, and student complaints about negative group dynamics, such as free-riding, are common.