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ERIC Number: EJ890028
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Apr
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
ISSN: ISSN-0092-055X
Competing Perspectives in the Classroom: The Effect of Sociology Students' Perceptions of "Balance" on Evaluations
Dixon, Jeffrey C.; McCabe, Janice
Teaching Sociology, v34 n2 p111-125 Apr 2006
"Balance" in the classroom has been the subject of recent debate in academic and public spheres, with some calling for legislation to prevent instructors from "indoctrinating" students. The debate over balance is important to sociology because the discipline is sometimes characterized as overtly liberal and activist; but the implications of balance for teaching and learning remain unclear. In this article, we present the results of a study in which we operationalized balance as students' perceptions of whether instructors discussed points of view other than their own and invited criticism of their ideas. Using OLS regression on undergraduate classes' quantitative evaluations of sociology instructors at Indiana University during the 2002-2003 academic year (N=99 classes), we asked whether classes perceived their sociology instructors to be balanced and whether positive perceptions led to better evaluations. We also asked about the relative influence of sociology classes' perceptions of balance compared to other influences. We found that most classes perceived their instructors as balanced and instructors who were perceived as being more balanced received better evaluations. However, we also found that balance was not as important as other factors in influencing evaluations. We discuss implications. (Contains 3 tables, 2 figures and 7 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Indiana