Integrando conferencias individuales

Integrando conferencias individuales

By Katie Nelson, Ph.D., Inver Hills Community College

 

Durante las primeras semanas de cada semestre académico, Dr. Kathryn A. Kozaitis (Profesora Asociada y catedrática del Departamento de Antropología en la Universidad Estatal de Georgia) realiza   conferencias individuales con cada estudiante graduado de sus cursos sobre Teoría y Práctica Antropológica y Antropología Aplicada. En esta práctica, ella encuentra ayuda para cimentar una relación con ellos. “desde esta relación nace un tipo de corresponsabilidad” (Kozaitis). Además, sostiene horas de oficina obligatorias para informes de seguimiento o progreso   durante todo el semestre. A través de estas interacciones, adquiere conocimiento respecto a los antecedentes, las fortalezas y áreas de crecimiento para sus estudiantes; trabaja en estrecha relación con ellos para propiciar su éxito en el curso. Las conferencias al principio del semestre, además, sirven como evaluaciones previas individualizadas permitiéndole medir como están los niveles de preparación del grupo en relación a el contenido del curso, y ajustar su diseño del curso para garantizar que todos los estudiantes avancen en la comprensión del material. Ella considera que esta técnica ayuda a cultivar una comunidad particularmente de estudiantes productivos, y una cultura de confianza en el salón de clases que fomenta un aprendizaje más profundo y transformador. 

¿Que son las conferencias individuales?

Las conferencias individuales son reuniones planificadas de uno a uno en otras palabras de persona a persona, en este caso con un estudiante y un miembro de la facultad con un propósito en particular.  el objetivo puede ser discutir el trabajo del curso, evaluar el progreso del curso, dialogar sobre problemas o inquietudes, o explorar otros asuntos. Estas pueden realizarse en el principio y al final del periodo o de manera regular a lo largo del semestre, y pueden variar desde evaluaciones estructuradas hasta conversaciones abiertas y fluidas. Algunos catedráticos incorporan estas conferencias dentro de la planificación del curso y las requieren como parte del criterio de calificación.

Desde una perspectiva pedagogica/andragogica, la ejecucion de conferencias  individuales uno a uno con los estudiantes ofrece numerosas ventajas:  Ayuda al instrucor a conocer al estudiante a un nivel mas personal y permite una mejor intruccion diferenciada. El profesor puede aprender sobre lo que esta funcionando en el salon de clases  y que necesita modificar. Los estudiantes pueden incrementar su confianza en el instructor, y sentirse conocidos en un nivel mas profundo. Asimismo,  provee un ambiente alternativo en el cual el estudiante (y profesor) pueden hacer preguntas uno al otro. En esencia, las conferencias con los estudiantes ofrecen una base para el establecimieinto de relaciones.

⇒ Hacer Click aqui para descargar una muestra de una tarea que ultilizo.

Me gustaría decir que, en muchos sentidos, la educación antropológica es (o debería de ser) sobre   relaciones; relaciones con estudiantes y profesores, pero, además, relaciones entre estudiantes y el contenido del curso. El aprendizaje autentico (que es retenido e integrado dentro de la orientación intelectual de cada uno), por supuesto, eso no ocurre en aislamiento o en abstracto si no haciendo conexiones. Las conferencias individuales adoptan ese tipo de relaciones y vínculos. Es Importante mencionar que también ofrecen oportunidades para el aprendizaje contextualizado y la reflexión. El pensamiento reflexivo y crítico. Las conferencias pueden ayudar a los estudiantes a integrar el contenido del curso en sus experiencias de vida y apreciar cómo es relevante para sus vidas y los caminos del aprendizaje.

¿Hay algunas desventajas?

Los profesores que utilizan las conferencias individuales en la planificación de sus cursos dicen que   puede ser una estrategia muy intensa que consume mucho tiempo y trabajo. Con frecuencia requiere de preparación para cada reunión, tomar notas o apuntes después de cada reunión, y proporcionar una retroalimentación escrita adicional para los estudiantes. Por esta causa, puede ser poco práctico implementarlo en clases extensas de introducción. puede ser un desafío logístico establecer los horarios de reunión, por lo que debe pensarse detenidamente en la preparación de la programación.  Las conferencias con el profesor pueden también ser intimidantes para algunos estudiantes que no están familiarizados con la estrategia. Cabe mencionar que se deben establecer claramente las expectativas y explicar el propósito (y como ayudara a los estudiantes) desde el principio ya que puede ayudar con las preocupaciones antes mencionadas.

¿Cómo las implementan los catedráticos o profesores?

Hilarie Kelly, PhD., Universidad de la Verne, imparte una Clase de tesis de último año(senior), en la cual integra las conferencias individuales dentro de la planificación del curso. Un objetivo principal de este curso es que sus estudiantes diseñen y ejecuten sus propios proyectos de investigación y los presenten a la clase. Para hacer esto, los estudiantes primero revisan la literatura relacionada o relevante y discuten que métodos de muestreo y de recolección de datos usar. Seguidamente, analizan sus resultados, escriben una tesis formal y finalmente dan una pequeña presentación con calidad profesional en un entorno de conferencia agendada, generalmente usando Power Point.

Hacia el final del curso, en lugar de esperar las clases habituales. Ella se reúne casi con todos sus estudiantes, uno a uno. Las conferencias son programadas, requeridas y semiestructuradas, ya que están configuradas para discutir la conclusión de cada parte del proyecto de tesis de cada estudiante. Es posible que los estudiantes programen el tiempo específico de sus conferencias en el día designado (en lugar de reuniones de clase en ciertas semanas). Utilizando su Sistema de Gestión del aprendizaje (Blackboard LMS)[1]. Asimismo, puede ser utilizado para conversaciones en foros o mesas de discusión. La programación completa de las reuniones de clase y días de conferencia se enlistan en el programa al comienzo del semestre. La mayoría de secciones de la clase de tesis de último año(senior) se reúnen una vez a la semana por la noche. De igual forma, puede servir ocasionalmente como días de conferencia en un marco de tiempo predecible. Esto funciona porque se espera que los estudiantes   asistan a las clases todas las semanas ya sea reunión grupal o conferencia individual. esto evita dificultades de programación logística cuando se realiza las conferencias 1:1.

[1] Blackboard LMS es un sistema de gestión de aprendizaje en línea, un ecosistema donde hay interacción de conocimiento entre tutores/estudiantes. Comienza desde 2005 y ha sido implementado por más de 60 universidades en países de todo el mundo. Esta es una plataforma que tiene módulos de contenidos, herramientas de comunicación interna, herramientas de evaluación, herramientas de seguimiento y gestión de aprendizaje.

Sarah Martin, Ph.D., (Profesora de Antropología en Spokane falls community College. Co-presidenta del Comité de Mejoramiento de la Enseñanza y Aprendizaje Institucional y Co-presidenta del Comité Asesor de Aprendizaje En Línea). Enseña Cursos de Antropología que son parte del programa intensivo de escritura diseñado para fortalecer las habilidades de escritura fuera de los cursos de composición.  Estas clases son requeridas por los catedráticos para incluir oportunidades de revisión programadas en sus cursos, y ofrecer retroalimentaciones importantes. La forma de como estos componentes son incorporados dentro de las clases depende del instructor individual. La mayoría de sus estudiantes están expuestos a la Antropología por primera vez, en esta clase de Escritura intensiva. Por lo tanto, se abordan las conferencias de estudiantes por medio de tres fases: retroalimentación, reflexión, y evaluación. Además, la profesora se refiere a las conferencias como una conversación entre instructor-estudiante con la esperanza de convertirse en un dialogo centrado en el crecimiento del estudiante   más que en una herramienta de evaluación. 

Pssst: descargue una copia de la descripción general de su tarea haciendo clic sobre la página a la izquierda o el botón debajo de ella.) 

Mark Busse, Ph.D( Profesor titular  de Antropología Social de  la universidad de Auckland) utiliza reuniones individuales  en sus dos cursos de posgrado: Antropología y propiedad intelectual e Investigación Etnográfica.  En cada uno de esos cursos sus estudiantes escriben un reporte extenso de una investigación sobre un tema de su elección, que esté relacionado con el curso. Para motivar a los estudiantes a comenzar temprano sus trabajos, Mark les pide escribir propuestas de ensayo los cuales deben ser entregados a mediado del semestre. Él se reúne con cada estudiante unas semanas antes de la fecha de entrega de la propuesta de ensayo, y vuelve a reunirse unas semanas después de que envían dichas propuestas.

Las reuniones individuales duran alrededor de 20 a 30 minutos. Las primeras reuniones se enfocan más en ayudar a los alumnos a identificar una pregunta de investigación e identificar fuentes documentales en las cuales respaldar sus textos. Asimismo, utiliza estas reuniones para conocer a sus estudiantes y sus intereses (si no han tomado cursos previamente con el), y hablar sobre su participación verbal en los seminarios. Las segundas reuniones se centran en dar una retroalimentación sobre sus propuestas de ensayo, y abordar cualquier pregunta que tengan respecto al ensayo o sobre el curso en general. Estas reuniones son agregadas a sus horas regulares semanales de oficina.

Si bien las reuniones individuales requieren un tiempo intenso de trabajo, el piensa que son valiosas porque ayudan al estudiante producir trabajos de alta calidad. Es importante mencionar que también le ayudan a identificar desde un principio a los a estudiantes que están en dificultades, y a resolver sus problemas antes que se vuelvan demasiado grandes.


TIPS PARA QUE LAS CONFERENCIAS INDIVIDUALES FUNCIONEN

Al inicio del semestre, explica el propósito de las reuniones y como beneficiaran a los estudiantes.

  • Establece expectativas claras y concretas y describe el marco de objetivos específicos (para ambos, el estudiante y profesor.)
  • Solicita a los estudiantes que escriban antes del trabajo la reflexión antes de la reunión, y revisarlo juntos.
  • Incluye las conferencias como parte de tu planificación del curso y asigna puntos para completarlas.
  • Incluye el horario completo de las reuniones de clase o días de conferencias en el programa al principio del semestre.
  • Da la oportunidad a los estudiantes para inscribirse en el tiempo que mejor les favorezca.
  • Considera usar software como Doodle [https://doodle.com/] para ayudarte con la programación.
  • Para cursos online, considera oferecer reuniones via conferencias web.
  • Para las reuniones individuales, tenga un recipiente con dulces o golosinas, y ofrecerlas a los estudiantes para ayudarlos a instalarse.

ENLACES PARA MAS INFORMACION

RECONOCIMIENTOS: 

Me gustaría agradecer a Kathryn A. Kozaitis, Hillarie Kelly, Sarah Martin y Mark Busse,  por compartir sus ideas y detallar como utilizan las conferencias Estudiante -Instructor en su  práctica  de enseñanza antropológica.

Traducción Por: Wendy Torres

The Anthropology “UnEssay”

The Anthropology “UnEssay”

Katie Nelson, Ph.D., Inver Hills Community College

Marc Kissel, Ph.D., (Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Appalachian State University) regularly teaches two general education courses; Our Primate Heritage and Gender, Race, & Class. Tiring of the limited range of assessment options commonly used in higher education (such as multiple choice exams and formal essays), he has chosen to assign a different type of learning activity: the “unessay”. 

For this project, his students pick a topic that interests them and then they think of a way to produce something that addresses that theme. He lets students choose the topic, the format and final product. “The idea of having students choose not just the topic but the medium in which they can best present their ideas seemed to jell with the themes of my classes and would give non-majors a chance to explore the topic in a way that is meaningful to them” (Kissel). 

 

WHAT IS AN UNESSAY? 

An unessay is a type of assignment in which students select a topic that interests them (related to the course content), conduct research and then demonstrate their understanding of the topic in any manner that is meaningful to them. The final form of the projects can vary greatly. Here is a sampling of some of the types of projects Mark Kissel’s students have submitted:

  • A Dungeons & Dragons style role-playing game about evolution
  • A magazine-style story on Homo floresiensis
  • A watercolor about breastfeeding
  • Comic strips about primates, the island rule, and pronoun use
  • Clay sculptures of hominin skulls
  • A play about life as Fa’afafine
  • A canvas about gender roles and fluidity
  • a lesson plan on primates designed for 8th graders

This sort of assignment aligns with anthropology learning because, as Mark Kisse states, imagination and creativity are inherently human qualities. Sadly, creativity has been ‘educated out’ of us. An UnEssay project gives students a way to creatively interact with the class themes (Kissel)”. The unessay allows students to use their creative abilities while also reflecting on how humans continually use creativity to solve problems in unique ways.

Unessays also allow for students to apply an anthropological lens to view their research projects from different perspectives. This may also allow students to engage with their arguments in deeper (and potentially more meaningful) ways as they have to present their ideas in a different format than an essay.  

 

HOW DO FACULTY ASSIGN IT? 

This type of assignment is often new to students, so to introduce it, many faculty first provide an explanation for why they assign it and what students can expect to learn. Many also provide a range of examples of topics and final products to give their students initial ideas. Most require that students present their topic and project ideas for instructor approval prior to completing it.

Emily Suzanne Clark, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University), offers her students the choice of writing a traditional essay or an unessay. She then provides a prompt and a clear rubric for how she will grade the final projects. “…students choose their own topics, they present it in any way they choose, and we evaluate [it] based on how compelling it is. The idea is to break open the corral of the traditional essay and encourage students to take a different approach to the assignment” (Clark).   

In addition to the final unessay product, Holly Norton, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Cincinnati), also asks her students to prepare a two-page reflective paper that details what they learned in the process of making their projects. “This lets me learn more about what excited them, what they understood, and what I need to do a better job of teaching next time around” (Norton).

» Link to Dr. Clark’s grading rubric: https://esclark.hcommons.org/the-unessay/
» Link to Dr. Kissel’s assignment guidelines (at the end of the post): https://marckissel.netlify.com/post/on-the-unessay/

ARE THERE ANY DISADVANTAGES?

Unessays can be hard to grade and faculty that assign them often state that it involves rethinking the grading scheme. Without clear and measurable grading guidelines, grading can be challenging and frustrating for both students and instructors. Additionally, this type of assignment may not work as well for certain upper-level courses or especially large courses (ie: 100 or more students). Some students can struggle with coming up with ideas while others will thrive with this sort of freedom. For this reason, providing examples and assigning the project in steps can help all students complete the assignment successfully. 

 

Tips to Make it Work

  • Provide clear and measurable grading criteria
  • Explain the reason(s) you are assigning the unessay
  • Provide examples to students of high quality unessay projects
  • Ask students to reflect on what they learned
  • Work on the project in steps throughout the course
  • Allow students the choice of writing a traditional essay or an unessay
  • Consider having students present their final unessay projects to one another in a conference-style setting
  • Consider allowing students to work in groups

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 

I would like to thank Mark Kissel, Emily Suzanne Clark and Holly Norton for generously sharing their experiences with unessay assignments. I would also like to thank Nina Brown (Community College of Baltimore County) for suggesting the topic for this piece.


SAMPLE STUDENT UNESSAY WORK

Sample student unessay work. Courtesy of Heather Norton.

Sample student unessay work. Courtesy of Heather Norton.

Sample student unessay work. Courtesy of Heather Norton.

Sample student unessay work. Courtesy of Heather Norton.

Sample student unessay work. Courtesy of Heather Norton.

Learn About Ancient Egypt with the British Museum

Learn About Ancient Egypt with the British Museum

The interactive webpage, Ancient Egypt, hosted by the British Museum allows students to digitally learn about topics like mummification, pyramids, geography, and religion through stories, activities, and quizzes. For example, students learn about timekeeping through a story about an ancient temple and by exploring a timeline of important developments in ancient Egyptian history. Students then test their knowledge by placing important objects in chronological order from oldest to most recent.

These activities require you to have a flash plug-in, like the free one offered by adobe, downloaded onto your browser.

Teaching Anthropological Analysis through Annotated Participant Observation Essay

Teaching Anthropological Analysis through Annotated Participant Observation Essay

By: Danica Loucks

Students just beginning their undergraduate education may not have a strong grasp of the distinction between description and analysis and what that looks like in anthropological work. If they’re just beginning to be introduced to anthropology and/or other social sciences, this may be especially so. In order to facilitate the growth of students’ abilities to conduct anthropological analysis, gain a better understanding of how description and analysis relate to each other, and see how anthropological concepts and theories can become useful tools, I have assigned Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology students what I call an annotated essay.

With this assignment, students carry out participant observation in a public space. Afterwards, they use their field notes to compose an essay describing their experience. I ask students to write their essay in a formal organized style (i.e. aiming for strong macro, meso, and micro organization, clear topic sentences, etc.) but to focus on describing their experience/what they observed. After writing this essay, the students then must annotate their own writing. With each annotation they must identify a concept or theory introduced in the course that their observation relates to. They must explain how the concept relates or detail why their observation is an example of that concept, as well as provide a formal definition of the concept (you can also require citations if that is a desired learning outcome of your course/the assignment). Carrying out this conceptual work as annotations separates and makes distinct basic analytical skills–a distinction that can be pointed out to students to help them identify how analysis differs from description. This assignment can function well as a precursor to an assignment later in the term in which students will be expected to write into a way that integrates analysis into the main body of their compositions.

Skills and learning objectives: de/familiarization, semi-structured field observation, taking and organizing field notes, applying anthropological concepts and perspectives to data gathering in order to gain experience in how anthropologists “code” observational data.

Variations:

  • This could be done as an ongoing “observation journal” in which students write field notes numerous times throughout the academic term (e.g. weekly or biweekly) and annotate with concepts as they are introduced in the course.
  • If you are leading discussion sections and are not in a position to create/choose formal assignments for your students, you could modify this to be on a smaller scale or ask students to analytically annotate news articles, media, etc.

See the following text for an example of how this assignment has been presented to students:

  • First, spend 30-60 minutes in a publicly accessible location (a space that is available to you as a member of the public, student, or worker, not one that is private, proprietary, or requires special permissions to be in and report about). This space can be an everyday place, or a site where a particular event or gathering is taking place. Direct your attention to observing the space and the people, beings, and things around you. As you observe, take down notes of all you see and notice.While recording everything you observe, try to identify what things you might usually take for granted. If you’re in a familiar space, challenge yourself to make the familiar strange, in other words, to write about things you take for granted as something culturally produced and not necessarily “right” or”natural” or “common sense.”  If you’re in an unfamiliar setting,try to make sense of what is going on in terms of those who belong to it–that is, try to make the strange familiar. Write down descriptions that don’t assume you know what something is or why something is done a particular way.  Also, using our course concepts, feel free to include speculations in your notes.
  • Take into the field a notebook, writing instrument, and phone for pix or video if you want (not required). Take also a mental “checklist” of socio-cultural features that we know, from our work in class, that can be observed in human social spaces. This list includes but is not limited to:  language/gesture, sights and sound, ideologies, ways relations are structured or enacted, relational activities (human and non-human),how material cultural objects are part of or excluded from the space, rituals and performances, gendered signs and processes, racialized spatializations,social inclusions or exclusions, sexism, racism. Combine walking around and using defamiliarization and semi-structured observation (as we will discuss in class) to immerse in the space. Take detailed notes while you are doing this or wait until you are finished and write down your experience right away so you don’t forget. Write down everything you see, hear,feel, smell, taste, and or perceive in any other way.  We’ll talk about strategies in class!
  • The final product for this assignment should be 4-6 pages of typed (double spaced) field note-based description and footnoted annotations. Minimum 1500 words (including footnotes/endnotes). 
  • Here are instructions and requirements:
  • Write up your field notes into a clear, cogent description. Although this is not a formal essay with a thesis or argument, you must title your essay, use standard good writing skills, and organize description through logically flowing paragraphs.
  • Read over your description and use the colored highlighter function to highlight phrases or sentences that relate to concepts or processes we’ve studied in class.
  • Then annotate your highlighted parts, here’s how:  Use the footnote function to put a footnote after those highlighted phrases or sentences. In those footnotes,relate what you observed and highlighted to a concept or process we have discussed in class. Explain what that anthropological concept or process is,then offer your own analysis or speculation of what is going on. You do not have to do a bibliography referencing the concepts or lectures, because the purpose of this is to show how you can observe and identify examples of what we’ve been exploring. You can go ahead and speculate to – use educated guesses when you can. Some of your footnotes will point to things that require that you reference multiple concepts and processes, this is just fine and indicates how social life is anthropologically complex. You must provide a minimum of 10 annotations, but see how many anthropological concepts and processes you can discover and point out!
  • Skills and learning objectives: In this assignment you will practice de/familiarization, semi-structured field observation, taking and organizing field notes, applying anthropological concepts and perspectives to data gathering in order to gain experience in how anthropologists”code” observational data.

Resource Contributed by: Danica Loucks, University of California, Irvine

Danica Loucks is a PhD student at the University of California, Irvine. Her dissertation research examines how different stakeholders understand public lands in the U.S., considering how differing ways of knowing landscapes, contrasting ideologies about land and property, and competing historical narratives (as well as understandings of how history matters) shape contemporary public lands conflict. Danica is a Pedagogical Fellow through UCI’s Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation and is currently conducting research regarding how students develop anthropological analytical skills.

First Day Activity: Ten Things You Believe to be True

First Day Activity: Ten Things You Believe to be True


This resource was originally published by Cultural Anthropology: Teaching Tools: https://culanth.org/fieldsights/851-first-day-activity-ten-things-you-believe-to-be-true

By Angela Jenks

The first day of class is often a challenge for new instructors. After addressing the inevitable logistical issues (e.g., enrollment, the syllabus, access to course materials), should you end early? Dive right into a lecture? Engage students in an ice-breaking activity?

Like other faculty (Lang 2008; Nilson 2003), I have several goals for the beginning of a class: 1) I want to introduce the course topic and ways of thinking about course materials; 2) I want to introduce myself as an instructor, setting the tone for the rest of the course and stimulating student interest; 3) I want to encourage students to talk to each other, both to learn about their colleagues and to make connections that may prove useful if they want to form study groups or share notes and resources later on; and 4) I want to learn more about who my students are and why they chose to enroll in the course.

Here at the University of California, Irvine, courses run on a quarter schedule, so we have just started spring classes. This has given me the chance, once again, to bring out one of my favorite beginning-of-class activities. I first participated in this activity when I was a student in a folklore course taught by Alexandra Griswold at the University of Pennsylvania. I remembered it years later when I began teaching on my own, and I have used it routinely in both introductory cultural anthropology and anthropology of religion courses. I often use it on the first day of class, and always during the first week. It is easily adaptable to both small and large courses.

The activity has 6 steps:

Step 1

Ask students to write a list of ten things they believe to be true.

In my experience, the activity works better if students do this before class, rather than writing the list during the class session, although I’ve done it both ways. I tell them that I will collect the lists, so all of the items should be things they are comfortable with me knowing, and at least three should be things they are willing to share with other students in the class.

I purposefully leave the interpretation of the term belief up to students, although I often say that they are not limited to listing religious beliefs. Students’ lists often do include statements about the supernatural: I believe that God exists; I believe in karma; I believe that I have seen a ghost; I believe witches are real. Others include statements they perceive to be explicitly anti-religious: I believe in evolution; I believe that science can answer all our questions; I believe that there is no life after death. Many will include statements about their everyday lives: I believe my boyfriend loves me; I believe I live in California. And there are always some whimsical responses: I believe that chocolate makes everything better.

Step 2

In class, students are instructed to find a partner who they do not know well. Each student should interview his or her partner, learning the partner’s name and other information (e.g., major, year in school, where they are from) and three things she or he believes to be true. Small groups of three are also fine if necessary. I often explicitly tell students that they should not simply trade lists to read, but should share their three beliefs in conversation. This step can usually be completed in 5–10 minutes.

Step 3

Ask students to introduce their partners to the entire class and to share one thing their partner believes to be true. At this stage, I have divided the board into three columns. I write short versions of these beliefs in the first column. In small classes, every student is introduced; in large classes, I ask for volunteers to introduce their partners.

Step 4

Ask students why, when they were being interviewed, they chose that set of three beliefs to share with their partner. I write these responses in the second column on the board. Common responses include: Those were the three I felt strongest about; the three I’m most certain of; the three I thought were least weird; the three I thought others would agree with and not judge; the three I thought would be most controversial; the three I thought were most unique to me.

Step 5

Ask students why, when they were introducing their partner to the class, they chose that one belief to share. Again, I write the responses on the board, this time in the third column. Common responses include: That was the one I agreed with; the one I thought everyone else could relate to; the one that was most different from my own beliefs; the one I remembered; the one nobody else had said yet.

Step 6

Depending on the course I am teaching, this activity provides a segue into future conversations about epistemology, the culture concept, anthropological representation, or ethnographic research. In introductory courses, I ask students to reflect on their understandings of the term belief, and I use their lists to help demonstrate multiple ways of knowing. Following this activity, we might talk about the problems of defining culture or religion in terms of easily articulated beliefs, and I emphasize the normalized, invisible aspects of cultural life that we would never think to write on a list or to state to a stranger.

This activity is also helpful as I encourage students to question common understandings of culture that presume bounded groups: the Azande believe X; the Trobriand Islanders believe Y; or Latinos believe Z. Would it be possible, I ask, to create a list of what college students believe?

The activity is also a simple way to introduce some of the complexities of ethnography and to encourage students to think critically about the way anthropological knowledge is produced. What factors, we discuss, might affect the ways in which people talk to an anthropologist or the ways anthropologists write about their data and craft ethnographic representations? Are any of those similar to the factors that affected what students in the class chose to share or report?

In upper-division classes, students and I engage in a deeper interrogation of the concept of belief in the history of anthropology, and this activity leads into a discussion of introductory readings by Malcolm Ruel (1997), Byron Good (1993), or Stanley Tambiah (1990).  

I have found this activity to be successful at a variety of institutions. In addition to introducing and encouraging critical reflection on course concepts and providing a reference point for future class discussions, the “ten things you believe to be true” activity gives students an opportunity to meet each other, encourages their active participation in the course, and allows me to learn more about my students and their understandings of anthropology.

References

Good, Byron J. 1994. “Medical Anthropology and the Problem of Belief.” In Medicine, Rationality, and Experience: An Anthropological Perspective, 1–24. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lang, James M. 2008. On Course: A Week-by-Week Guide to Your First Semester of College Teaching. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. 

Nilson, Linda B. 2003. Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors. 2nd edition. Bolton, Mass.: Anker.  

Ruel, Malcolm. 1997. “Christians as Believers.” In Belief, Ritual, and the Securing of Life: Reflexive Essays on a Bantu Religion, 36–59. Leiden: Brill.

Tambiah, Stanley Jeyaraja. 1990. Magic, Science, Religion, and the Scope of Rationality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Resource Contributed By: Angela Jenks, University of California, Irvine

Learn Genetics

Learn Genetics

The Learn.Genetics website created by the Genetic Science Learning Center offers a wealth of free educational resources on genetics for students and teachers alike. The resources can all be used to complement a classroom lecture, activity, or demonstration. Students can also use the resources independently. The resources focus on basic genetics and cover such as chromosomes, inheritance, proteins, RNA, mutation, and observable human traits. Using pigeons as an example, students can also learn about the intricacies of inheritance in fun, easy to understand lessons and activities. There are also lessons and activities on epigenetics and genetic science.

There is an additional classroom materials section where educators can explore active learning activities covering translation, mutation, inheritance, and DNA structure.

Note: Some of the interactive resources require a flash plug-in, like the free one offered by adobe, downloaded onto your browser.


Resource Contributed By: Megan Danielle Neal, University of California, Irvine