Sociology: Gender Differences Among High, Middle, and Low Income Countries

Title: How does Sociology Explain Gender Differences Among High, Middle and Low Income Countries?
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Sociology, Gender Studies, Population Studies
Authors: Helen Rosenberg, Teresa Reinders, Anne Statham, University of Wisconsin – Parkside
Submission Date: November 7, 2007

Executive Summary

Learning Goals: The anticipated focus of the lesson study was the challenge of getting students to examine everyday issues through a sociological lens. We wanted to learn ways to enhance students’ abilities to make the connection between learning theory (factors that impact global stratification) and understanding experience (how the level of stratification of a nation from a global perspective impacts gender stratification on a national level and women’s quality of life on a individual level). As part of our lesson study training, we hoped to develop skills to aid students in making the theory-experience connection. Secondly, students worked in groups and were required to develop a poster and report as a team. Therefore, a second goal of the lesson study was developing an organizational strategy for presenting findings through a team effort.

Instructional Design: Instructors adapted two iterations of an active learning exercise based on Bradshaw, et al. (2001, pps. 272-273) Gender Inequality with and between Nations: Internet Research. The first iteration was designed to get students to generalize about differences among high, middle, and low income nations. Students compared nations on the following indicators: life expectancy, contraceptive use, educational attainment, women in the military and government, and women in the workforce. The second iteration required students to apply their knowledge from the first iteration to gender stratification from a national and individual perspective. This moved students from understanding indicators that defined the status of a nation globally to applying this status to gender stratification and then speculating about how women’s status impacts their everyday lives. Students presented information about different nations they chose to study as part of the first iteration and then discussed gender differences as part of the second iteration. Students were required to study a nation and create a poster (Appendix A) describing that nation on the assigned indicators, discuss the impact of the income level of the nation and gender stratification, make generalizations about the quality of life of women in that nation and compare this to other nations. Students wrote up findings in a final group paper.

Findings about student learning: From this assignment, students learned differences among nations, economically, socially, and politically with specific emphasis on gender differences, considering commonalities and differences as a function of survival in a global, interdependent community. They began to see patterns in nations on the basis of income levels, but also noted that middle income nations varied the most on criteria used to describe them. They gathered information on gender differences across all nations, but these differences were not made explicit until iteration two of the lesson study. Students learned through experience and interaction about differences across nations and how women’s lives are impacted. Issues of number of children, contraceptive use, role of religion and tradition, role of women in childrearing versus employment outside the home, and role of women in government were discussed.

Sociology Lesson Study: Gender Differences Among High, Middle, and Low Income Countries (Final Report)

Report Appendix containing:

A. Student posters,
B. Group Project on Global Stratification,
C. Informed Consent Form,
D. Poster Project Rubric,
E. Global Stratification Table
F. Discussion Sheet: Gender Stratification
G. Observer’s Notes
H. Sample Syllabus
I. Rosenberg’s Notes

Political Science: Global Summit on Sustainability

Title: Global Summit on Sustainability
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Political Science, Environmental Studies
Authors: Katia Levintova, Kevin Vonck, Terri Johnson, Denise Scheberle, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay
Submission Date: March 2, 2009

Executive Summary: The goals of introductory political science courses are not only to equip students with the fundamental knowledge about our discipline (that is about political processes at home and on the international level), but to give students a set of important skills, including political engagement, meaningful political citizenship (efficacy and agency), critical thinking, cultural empathy and respect for diversity (both domestic and global). To this end, four faculty members in Public and Environmental Affairs (Terri Johnson, Denise Scheberle, Kevin Vonck, and Katia Levintova) devised, piloted and refashioned a Global Summit on Sustainability. The summit pilot (Spring 2008) involved two sections of American Government (approximately 200 students) and one section of Global Politics (120 students).

The lesson study involved 29 student teams role-playing countries in a summit designed to adopt a global resolution on sustainability. Prior to the Global Summit session, a pre-Summit session was held. During pre-Summit students selected their roles, received instructions, and agreed upon the schedule for assignment completion. During the Global Summit, the global resolution was adopted as a result of compromises and negotiations among country delegations. Prior to the Global Summit, students researched their assigned country’s environmental, social, economic, and political problems that pertained to sustainable development. They also learned about the role their country played in international sustainable development efforts and international affairs in general. Each country delegation had to come up with a UN-like resolution on sustainable development which both addressed national needs and priorities and had a reasonable chance of being a framework for the global policy on sustainability. Preliminary negotiations started as soon as a resolution was approved by the delegation and posted on a D2L website created specially for the Summit. Students had one or two summit work days in class, but their work also took place outside the class as they worked in teams, and also on-line. The learning objective was for students to come away from the Summit empowered as citizens, with an increased understanding of and appreciation for global citizenship, domestic and global negotiations and policy-making, knowledgeable about their own country and the complexities of the world.

The Global Summit pilot (Spring 2008) and the slightly revised Global Summit (Fall 2008) increased students’ appreciation for global citizenship. Students perceived improved skills supportive of effective citizenship (negotiation and empathy). The change was measured through a survey instrument developed specifically for the Summit as well as observations of face-to-face and virtual (D2L) behavior and dialogues before and during the Summit and content analysis of quick reaction papers and longer (required) reflection papers. Most significantly, we detected the difference in means between the pre-Summit and post-Summit surveys, with the questions’ means increasing or decreasing in response to participation in the Summit. Qualitative content analysis of student written assignments also revealed increased sophistication in global thinking and negotiations skills.

Below are links to some additional material:

This section contains every handout or prompt mentioned in the description of the lesson.  It provides useful instructional materials to use with the lesson.

This presentation is shown during the Pre-Summit.  It provides brief overview of the project and is designed to introduce students to the global thinking.

This presentation helps keep the summit on track.

In this video students discuss their assignment.

Excerpts from the Global Summit on Sustainability Fall 2008.