Good teaching doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and although there is a competitive element to teaching at the university level (in terms of t/t jobs), it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s important to network, to support each other, and to share what works. It’s also important, of course, to give credit where credit is due, so if you use my work, please give proper attribution. You’ll see that where I’ve built on the idea of others, I’ve given credit as well.
Feel free to use or adapt what you find here (again, please give credit).
Teaching sociological theory
Karl Marx: I like using the movie Chicken Run to help students understand Marx’s concepts associated with the division of labor. Students enjoy watching the movie, the worksheet gives them something to jot notes down on as they watch, and I refer back to the behavior of the characters during class discussion.
Max Weber: I warn students ahead of time to bring their books or photocopies of the appropriate textbook pages for the “Legitimate Domination” exerpt, and in class they get into groups and fill out this sheet. What they write then becomes the basis for class discussion. The students responded VERY well to this activity and asked for more like it. (Note that there is no “definition” line. You could add one, but to me, the definition of each type of legitimate domination is in the characteristics.)
Gender Stratified Monopoly: this activity requires a significant time investment to do well, but works very well to help students experience what it’s like to live as a woman and to experience the wage gap across multiple social statuses. Below I’m liking to a page on this site that thoroughly describes the assignment and provides downloads so you can make your own cards (to pair with standard Monopoly game).
Gender Socialization through Toys: this assignment requires a significant time investment, and in my class, it’s done in stages, as follows:
- Students go to a local store that has a toy department, and diagram what they see there.
- Students write and submit a discussion post that describes what they saw and that includes labeled diagrams.
- In class, students divide into groups and conduct a SWOT analysis of the toy sections they observed. They then design a toy store that they feel would compete with the existing toy stores, using their observations and our understanding of gender socialization from the text. Groups draw their toy store layouts on a large sheet of newsprint that I provide, and a group member presents the newly designed store to the class.
Credit goes to members of the Facebook group Teaching with a Sociological Lens for the original activity of having students diagram and discuss the gendered nature of toy sections.
The activity is meant to introduce the student to the idea of doing field research, to help them critically analyze their findings, to help them apply and present their findings, to give them practice working as a team, and to help them practice both written and oral communication skills.