ERIC Number: ED207907
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Aug
Adapting-Sociology to the Changing Demands of General Education: The Use of Debate and Critical Analysis.
Suggestions are offered to help college-level teachers of sociology develop and implement programs which are consistent with the recent trend toward traditionalism in general higher education--a renewed interest in the traditional disciplines such as history, economics, and language studies. Suggestions center around two teaching methods--critical analysis and debate. These methods are stressed because the author believes that they can be successful in teaching two skills generally considered essential to the modern conception of the ideal core curriculum--communication skills and skills of critical thinking. Specific skills which this re-emergent core curriculum should stress include knowledge of major ideas which characterize civilization at various points, capacity to ask relevant questions about historical and contemporary political and moral issues, aesthetic sensibility, ability and propensity to analyze arguments, competence to communicate orally and in writing, development of an informed self-consciousness, and a desire to continue learning. Ways in which sociology can contribute to both these general and specific aims of liberal education include offering students an opportunity to read and analyze primary sources from divergent intellectual traditions and debate contemporary issues with reference to these primary sources. A course on criminology and deviance, for example, can help students analyze social structures and social institutions, become familiar with a wide variety of primary source material, and debate topics such as gun control and drinking age. The conclusion is that a major way in which teachers of sociology can incorporate traditional concerns such as the history of ideas into the curriculum and still meet student expectations for relevant subject matter is to combine critical analysis of divergent primary sources with student debates on current issues. (DB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (76th, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 24-28, 1981).