We applied critical pedagogy in the college classroom by asking students what topics they would want covered in their Introduction to Sociology courses if they were given the power to decide. Students were also asked to explain why they were interested, and uninterested, in learning about the topics they chose from our questionnaire. Survey data was collected from 191 students at a southeastern community college; the majority were not sociology majors. Overall, students were the most interested in learning about culture, deviance, race, and gender issues. Students were the least interested in learning about topics concerning urbanization and the economy. We found that students are typically interested in topics that are related to general curiosities or are applicable to the students’ personal lives or future careers. However, students were vaguer in their responses regarding why they were uninterested in learning about particular sociological topics; most students claimed that they were simply “just uninterested.” These results support the claim that a student’s desire to learn material is guided by how personally invested he or she is in the topic. By implementing a critical pedagogical teaching approach in the classroom, professors could increase student interest, thus fostering more successful and satisfied students.
Student Author Biography
Mindy Mauldin recently graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and Psychology from Florida Southern College. She is originally from and currently resides in Fort Worth, Texas. Mindy’s research interests center around the application of sociology and psychology to a variety of topics such as education, the prison system, and trauma. In the future, she intends to pursue a doctorate degree in clinical psychology. Cullen O’Donnell, a senior at Florida Southern College from Mentor, Ohio, has always had a passion for learning about society and improving social issues. He is pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Sociology and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish. He is currently employed as a youth development professional at Boys & Girls Club, counselor at Neighborhood Ministries, and substitute teacher for Polk County. He has held several leadership positions on campus, including Founding Father and Historian of Pi Kappa Phi. He plans on getting his Masters of Social Work and is interested in joining the Peace Corps. Jeremie Bates is a Bachelor of Fine Art student at the University of Central Florida. Although the study of fine arts is his main focus, he has always had a lifelong interest in human behavior. While attending Valencia State College, he took an Introduction to Sociology course to learn more on the subject. He continued his sociology studies as an intern under Dr. Chastity Blankenship. He applies this knowledge to improve his work and understanding of the different cultural standards of art.
Mauldin, Mindy R.; O'Donnell, Cullen T.; Blankenship, Chastity L.; and Bates, Jeremie
"‘It Relates to My Everyday Life.’ Critical Pedagogy and Student Explanations of Interest in Sociology Course Topics,"
Papers & Publications: Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 5
, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.northgeorgia.edu/papersandpubs/vol5/iss1/3