ERIC Number: ED195459
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Sociology and Experiential Learning.
Demartini, Joseph R.
Differences between classroom and experiential learning are outlined and two methods for incorporating experiential education programs into existing sociology curricula are suggested. The author stresses that a successful integration of experiential learning into the sociology curriculum may require fundamental shifts in the definition of the discipline and the role of social science research. Experiential education attempts to effect change in a practice setting, operates in an arena of action, and uses theories only insofar as they are effective in assisting desired action. Classroom learning focuses on understanding valid theoretical statements. It operates in the arena of ideas in which one systematically collects data for the purpose of developing and refining theoretical statements. Formal education in the social sciences stresses reflective observation and abstract conceptualization; experiential learning requires action at the concrete level. Thus the integration of experiential and traditional learning requires educational tasks that develop the ability to act at the concrete level and reflect at the abstract level. One method would be through a form of hypothesis testing in which students begin with the problem at hand and translate it to an abstract level. The second approach emerges from the argument that sociology is too often irrelevant to social problem solving. The approach requires sociology to alter its essential purpose and to attempt to change the world through action in it. Students would be placed in an action setting in which needs and goals of a specific population would be explored. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (75th, New York, NY, August, 1980).