Resource 

EMBRACING THE LEARNER-CENTERED APPROACH: A NEIGHBORHOOD RESEARCH EXAMPLE

Abstract:

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Teachers struggle with helping students learn complex content, on the one hand, and encouraging students to become more engaged at the beginning of the course, on the other. After nine years of teaching in a traditional way, I now employ a more learner-centered approach. To engage students intellectually right away, I hand out a neighborhood research project on the first day of class. Because I divide it into manageable steps, however, they are not overwhelmed. So, why wait? My students spend the first weeks of class engaged in research in which they are genuinely interested and, at the same time, learn the basics of urban sociology. I argue that students in any course can learn the content more deeply by engaging in meaningful research starting on the first day of class.

Details:

Resource Type(s):
Essay 
Author(s):
Daniel Monroe Sullivan, Portland State University 
Date Published:
6/12/2012 
Subject Area:
Urban Sociology 
Class Level:
College 400 
Class Size:
Medium 
Language:
English 


Usage Notes:

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1) This assignment takes ten weeks to perform the seven parts of the assignment and write the first draft, plus one extra week to engage in a self-assessment of the assignment, get feedback from the instructor and/or fellow students, and write the final draft. 2) Students should bring their assignment to...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
1) Understand how to conduct neighborhood research using quantitative (e.g., census data) and qualitative data (e.g., observations of public spaces, photos).
Assessment 1:
Please see the following supplemental documents for guidance on how I assess the extent to which students learned the course's learning goals: 1) grading rubric; 2) student self-assessment; and 3) assessment of small-group members.
Goal 2:
2) Learn urban sociology concepts, such as the political economy approach and racial & social class segregation/integration (e.g., ghettoes, ethnic enclaves, gated communities, cosmopolitan canopies, demographic vs. social integration).
Goal 3:
3) Develop skills and the disposition to become active learners and researchers.

Files for Download:

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1 Embracing the learner centered approach, essay, TRAILS 2012.doc
10 Embracing the learner centered approach, assessment of small group members, TRAILS 2012.doc
2 Embracing the learner centered approach, neighborhood research project, TRAILS 2012.doc
3 lab 1 educaton, crime and general neighborhood data sources, TRAILS 2012.doc
4 Lab 2, demographic data sources for your neighborhood, TRAILS 2012.doc.docx
5 Public observation and neighborhood amenities assignment, TRAILS 2012.doc
7 Oral presentation guidelines.docx
8 Embracing the learner centered approach, grading rubric, TRAILS 2012.doc
9 Embracing the learner centered approach, self assessment of neighborhood research project, TRAILS 2012.doc
citation.docx