My first teaching gig was as an instructor at a summer camp where I taught groups of eight-year-old girls how to play the drums. I learned something very important about teaching from that experience: effective teaching is informative, interactive, and tailored to meet the needs of a specific audience. Just as it is ineffective to spend an entire drum lesson lecturing about rudiments and eighth notes without giving students the chance to sit behind the drum kit and come up with their own beats and fills, it is ineffective to spend an entire class lecturing about your discipline without providing opportunities for students to actively apply what they are learning.
Along these lines, all of my pedagogical strategies are dedicated to critically engaging students with sociological concepts in accessible and applied ways that they can take with them after they leave the classroom. With a grant from my current institution’s Center for Teaching and Learning, for example, I developed a simulation activity for my medical sociology course using Pandemic, a collaborative board game where players take on the role of medical professionals to find cures for diseases and prevent further outbreaks. After playing the game according to the original rules, students design a modified version with rules, strategies, and positions that take into account the social factors that influence the spread and treatment of disease. Among other things, students have added a “medical sociologist” character to the game and included game cards that task the expert team with addressing the unequal distribution of resources that affect who gets sick and who has access to treatments once they are discovered.
University of Health Sciences & Pharmacy in St. Louis
Principles of Sociology
Health, Biomedicine & Society
LGBTQ Health Care
Social Science Research Methods
Drugs & Society
University of Illinois at Chicago
Sociology of Gender
Sociology of Sex and Sexuality
Sociology of Children and Youth
Topics in Medical Sociology: Health Social Movements