Well this semester has flown by! Although this was my final course in completing my minor for Gender Studies I did not really know what to expect. Initially I thought we would be focusing on activist movements covering a variety of gender related issues, however this course (and this assignment in particular) has really allowed me to branch out and work towards things I am passionate about. Before I started this class I had intentions of improving certain structures in the SOCY 101 class I assist with. Learning about activism has given me the framework to develop my ideas and fortunately my initial proposal has taken shape.
The medium for the final product is not yet determined but the key material that will be included is all completed. A new possibility that was explored after my initial reflection assignment was giving my material to fellow teaching assistants instead of students. I have used this material when assisting students and using a single material source for everyone involved with teaching the course would surely benefit the students. This is something that I will look into during the next few months. Although when I began I had intended on completing this task this semester, the nature of the work included means that I will need to be patient. For myself, I will be able to go through the course again with the new material that I have developed. This will give me a new perspective to address the problems I wish to tackle. The availability of a calendar year will certainly place me in a better position to add to what I have already developed. For the students, I will be better prepared to help them during class work and when I assist them in outside study hours. Finally, allowing more time to develop what I have places me in a better position to present this to other members in the department. The fall semester always has more students in all sections of SOCY 101, often just over 200 students. Continuing this project past this semester is probably the best thing for all parties involved.
The actual work I have developed is impressive. The material is a collection of work I have learned during my own classes, outside research that I have studied, and my own personal developments based on previous theories. The structure for the information is broken down into four sections as follows; I) Introduction, II) Influences of Society, III) Research Methods, IV) Theorists. The introduction is essentially an overview of the most basic concepts in sociology. All further material is developed off of the information presented in this section. The introduction opens with a story referenced throughout the material followed by a concept overview. The “influences of society” section is broken down as follows: Culture, Socialization, Deviance and Crime, Class and Stratification, Race and Ethnicity, Sex and Gender, Drugs and Alcohol, and The Economy/Work. The third section, “research methods” contains the most challenging concepts. The information included here is essential for conducting proper research in the social science setting. The final section, “theorists” is essentially an included reference section. In this section those reading the material can connect the previous concepts with those that were responsible for developing it.
Coming into this class I was unaware that we would be covering such a wide range of topics related to activism. Not only have we been able to learn about gender related issues and the history of Baltimore, but we have also been afforded the opportunities to expand on our own interests. Fortunately I was able to connect my own passions for education with the activism topics that we were covering in class. Now I have seen how broad and layered activism can be. I remember we spent significant time earlier on in the class discussing the definition of activism. However, as I have gone through the semester and learned about my peers’ projects and expanded on my own, I have learned that activism is really what you make of it. In my case, providing better information on sociology concepts and education in general for those around me is certainly an activist project that I look forward to continuing.