Social problems a service learning approach


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Corey Dolgon, Stonehill College on his book "Social Problems: A Service Learning Approach"

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Social problems a service learning approach

  1. 1. Social Problems: A Service Learning ApproachCorey Dolgon, Stonehill CollegeChris Baker, Walters State Community College<br />
  2. 2. Course: Social Problems<br /><ul><li>Who takes this course?
  3. 3. Course size – 350k/year!</li></li></ul><li>Who teaches this course?<br />*Adjunct faculty<br />*Most politically interested & engaged faculty<br />*Most junior faculty<br />
  4. 4. What do students learn?<br />*Litany of why the world sucks<br />*<br />*How to connect what is to why it is? <br /> [power and causation]<br />*How theory helps us analyze the politics of these problems<br />what they rarely learn?<br />what can and are people doing about these problems, <br />in particular people just like themselves—students!<br />
  5. 5. Are there many approaches to teaching this course?<br />Yes, but…<br /><ul><li>Most traditional form is a problem a week with a focus on how economic or social policy create or maintain the problems.
  6. 6. Most include weekly assignments and some kind of focus paper on one particular problem.
  7. 7. Some add a historical approach to evolution of issues.
  8. 8. All involve students seeing how “the world makes them!”
  9. 9. We do something different!!!</li></li></ul><li>What do We Mean when we say “Student Driven”?<br />Students are the focal point.<br />Written accessibly and as if their experiences mattered.<br />Portraits (statistics, definitions and description) of problems are clear with current references but not force fed or depressingly.<br />Voices from the field are students or former students whose work as students influenced them.<br />Case studies are all of students engaged in various forms of social action from service learning to community organizing.<br />Celebration of student activity and possibility<br />
  10. 10. 2 Introductory Chapters<br />One: How Sociologists Define, Study and Act on Social Problems—<br />Introduces a “social problems” focused history of sociology, <br />Explains how sociologists have defined social problems, <br />Examines how sociologists use the discipline to challenge and address social problems <br />Concludes with a look at Service Learning as an action-based pedagogy linking learning about social problems to experience working to solve them.<br />Two: Basic Theories & Concepts—<br />This chapter looks at how sociologists use theory and concepts to examine social problems <br />Theories such as Conflict and Social Interaction as well as concepts like values, norms and institutions all defined and described through service learning and action-based case studies.<br />
  11. 11. Case Studies<br /><ul><li>Each chapter starts with 1and then ends with 3 more case studies of students working in communities to understand and address social problems. (More on the case studies later.)</li></li></ul><li>Portraits of Social Problems: By the Numbers<br /><ul><li>Each chapter moves to defining social problems and describing their significance and impact with statistical data and analysis of the data. </li></li></ul><li>Media Boxes<br />As the media plays an increasingly larger role impacting how we view and understand social problems, the book presents a box in each chapter giving an example on how various media portray social problems—often distorting issues or obscuring root causes and possible solutions<br />Media Box: The Disappearing Working Class on TV<br />Working Class characters once dominated the TV screen, from the Honeymooners’ bus driver Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) and sewer worker Ed Norton (Art Carney) to the immigrant working families featured in shows such as Mama and the TheGoldbergs. In the 1970s and 1980s working class heroes expended to encompass African Americans in Sanford and Son, Good Times, and Roc as well as women in Roseanne and Grace Under Fire. Now, however, the only place to find working class folks on TV is either as animated characters such as Homer Simpson, the Family Guy or the gang on King of the Hill, or on reality shows such as Dirty Jobs, Ice Road Truckers, or the Deadliest Catch. Apparently workers no longer capture the mainstream media’s imagination unless they are cartoons or risking life and limb. <br />
  12. 12. Historical SectionsSome books discuss the historical causes of particular social problems, but we look explicitly at the historical evolution of one aspect or institution related to social problems, thus giving students a more complex understanding of how political struggles and social change impact social problems over time.<br />Civil Rights Movement<br />“Identities that had once been sources of stigma and discrimination became sources of pride, power and a collective movement for social justice. With this movement came a new sense of identity for both participants and the system of social relations around them.”<br /> The Environment<br />“Key to the changing consciousness of humans’ impact on the environment came from the emergence of local, regional, an international grassroots citizens’ groups, community organizations and non-profits.”<br />
  13. 13. Voices from the Field<br />Not only are most of these people engaged in challenging various social problems, but they are students or former students of sociology who discuss how their course work and school experiences influenced their career trajectories<br />Cassie <br />Watters<br />“It really inspired me to want to do organizing work, especially based on the coalition model. It inspired me to seek work at nonprofits such as Jobs with Justice, and form SLAP [Student Labor Action Project] remain the most fulfilling work of mine to date. I think the revival of a national student activist network was influenced by local activism such as ours. “<br />Christiana <br />Ochoa<br />“I believe social problems are more complex and muddy than can be expressed on paper – they simply look different in person. my early service-learning work has taught me to recognize my own ignorance and to seek out opportunities to see, to touch, and to engage with social problems, rather that to remain insulated from the dangers and discomforts I will surely face in doing so.”<br />
  14. 14. First Edition: Social Problems: A Service Learning Approach<br />3. Voices from the Field<br />Bob Zellner<br />What’s the benefit?<br />
  15. 15. First Edition: Social Problems: A Service Learning Approach1. Service Learning<br />What is it?<br />What’s the benefit?<br />
  16. 16. First Edition: Social Problems: A Service Learning Approach<br />2. Case-based<br />Welfare Warriors<br />What’s the Benefit?<br />Student focused<br />Action –oriented<br />Enforces idea of analyzing and acting simultaneously<br />Accessible yet poignant<br />