Teaching By Numbers 2021

As a sociologist of education, it is important for Kari that she provide the best possible education to undergraduates. In all of her classes, Kari hopes that students:

  • Learn to differentiate evidence-based analyses from assumptions and opinion
  • Use their sociological knowledge of inequality and their status as future college graduates to mitigate, rather than reproduce, inequality

Kari designs her classes around small- and large-group discussions and activities that allow students to analyze the validity of sociological arguments and apply course themes to their own lives. For example, one social fact that she teaches in her course on Racial and Ethnic Relations is that neighborhoods are some of the most racially segregated spaces in the U.S. To make this social fact even more real for students, she encourages them to use the “Racial Dot Map” to identify the level of racial segregation in their own communities. Kari then presents sociological explanations for why neighborhoods are so segregated, asks students to evaluate different authors’ evidence, and challenges students to think about how we might create more racially integrated neighborhoods.

Graded paper assignments in Kari’s courses are typically “mini-research” projects where students collect their own data (through surveys, observations, interviews, and social experiments) and explain patterns that they see with course evidence. In her Sociology of Education class, for example, students interview peers from different socioeconomic, racial, and gender backgrounds, explain similarities and differences between their interviews, and use sociological evidence to explain their findings.

For more information on Kari’s syllabi, class activities, assignments, and evaluations, click on the links to the left.


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