This activity is used to introduce students to the structure and essence of the theoretical frameworks that then will be covered more in depth throughout the rest of the course. Through this activity, students get a taste of what it means to theorize.
Instead of being given the theoretical frameworks with all their associated assumptions and points of interest, the instructor creates a list of 4-5 statements related to each theoretical framework. These statements are cut up individually and mixed together in an envelope. Students, in groups, work in class to find patterns among the statements, and try to organize them back into coherent groups. They also give a name (the ‘framework’’) and a symbol to each grouping. Students, as a class, then discuss the reasons for how they divided the statements. They identify patterns and highlight core assumptions that group certain statements After class, the instructor sends students a photo of their work and the ‘correct’ theoretical frameworks with their accompanying statements and an application of the frameworks to one example.
For the rest of the course, the instructor can refer and link to the names students picked to describe the theories (instead of the standard ones), which creates a “class language” that supports bonding and community. As well, the symbols can be used a visual cues in any visual aides.
Activity content: Introduction to four major sociological (theoretical) frameworks: functionalism, conflict theory, feminism and symbolic interactionism.
Students will be able to:
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