It Relates to My Everyday Life.’ Critical Pedagogy and Student Explanations of Interest in Sociology Course Topics

Mauldin, Mindy R.
O'Donnell, Cullen T.
Blankenship, Chastity
Bates, Jeremie
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Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities University of North Georgia
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.
Pedagogy , Sociology , Teaching -- Aids and devices , Effective teaching , Student participation in curriculum planning
Mauldin, Mindy R.; O'Donnell, Cullen T.; Blankenship, Chastity L.; and Bates, Jeremie (2016) "‘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: