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COURSE OBJECTIVES for INTRODUCTORY SOCIOLOGY

(Revised 9/28/04)

These are the Course Objectives that I use for Introductory Sociology courses (At LCC...for SOC 204, 205, & 206). They reflect the critical and emancipatory perspective found in every topic and issue covered in these courses. Please read them over carefully.



1. Learn and learn to apply & use key sociological concepts, ideas, and principles


----to become aware of new concepts and ideas
----to give form and names to vague impressions and narrowly understood experiences




2. Learn "thinking tools" for Critical /Dialectical Thinking


----Learn we are taught a WAY to think, as well as WHAT to think
----Unlearn some definitions of familiar ideas
----Learn some new ideas to think with
----Learn sociological consciousness
----Learn the difference between BELIEF (desire) and REALITY (is)
----Learn that "commonsense" (as a way and what to think) is limited



3. Learn how to UNLEARN...RELEARN...and...LEARN


----How to develop the capacity to:
----------locate
----------evaluate
----------digest...and
----------utilize new information
----NOT to merely accumulate and store so-called "facts" ----Rather, to ask NEW questions about new and familiar things
----In short, to learn about THINKING itself as a process of "doing"
----------an activity every bit as "physical" as exercising or manual labor
----to develop the "skill of controversy with oneself"




4. Learn to recognize long-term historical tendencies


----to NOT just take the "now" as the ONLY perspective
----to situate realities and events in a process over time
----being and becoming




5. Learn TOLERANCE and EMPATHY for the beliefs/ways of others


----WITHOUT condoning OR condemning beforehand
----Understanding something or someone ON THEIR OWN TERMS and NOT through the filter of your agreement or disagreement
----Experiencing a "genuine clash of viewpoints"




6. Learn to recognize and scrutinize your PERSONAL VALUES


----you will be asked to "bracket" your current values
----------to hold them aside in order to give way to inquiry and analysis
----------when course is over...to let them back in and mix with what you've learned
----NOT to instill in you a specific set of values or beliefs
----BUT RATHER, to help you discover:
----------WHAT you believe
----------WHY you hold those beliefs
----------HOW you argue for them
----------HOW you apply them
----In other words, to develop a SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS about yourself and society




7. Learn that IGNORANCE does not mean dumb/stupid...but rather, means a lack of AWARENESS.






8. Learn to become aware of the ALTERNATIVES you now or will face


----to transcend personal situations
----to step back from day-to-day concerns and routines
----to understand HOW alternatives come about
----to consider the likely consequences of taking alternatives or not
----to become comfortable with the "art of personal decision-making




9. Learn to take yourself seriously...as people capable of dealing with ideas which have been traditionally seen to be above or beyond an Introductory level


----"Introductory" does not mean "simple" or "easy"
----Philosophical and Theoretical issues are practical matters concerning our lives
----It is way past time to stop dishing out "pabulum"
----I will respect you and your intelligence by presenting "meaty" issues and ideas
----------If the course content seems to be "above you"...maybe that says more about your previous educational experiences than about how "upper level" this introductory course is




10. Learn that there is not just one kind of Sociology


----Preconceptions of what it "should be" depend on whom you've been talking to
----------you will get different "sociologies" from different sociologists

1. SOME will be CONTENT-ORIENTED---merely descriptive of society...as if the "is" is what "ought to be"

2. SOME will be MORE ANALYTICAL of the "is"---realizing that society is a matter of perception and definition

3. SOME will be CRITICALLY-ORIENTED---seeing the "is" as it is and promoting change where necessary

----The course you're about to take is a combination of all these...and more
----------We will critically describe and analyze society in order to understand the "is" in order to learn how to change social reality to better reflect the need of human beings...rather than the needs of a "system"