by Lindsey Trimble O’Connor and Julie A. Kmec
Undergraduate students have difficulty grasping the concept of discriminatory treatment at work in part because many have not yet had substantial labor market experience but also because so much discrimination at work is subtle or hidden from view.
One way to teach a difficult concept like workplace discrimination is through the use of active learning opportunities—teaching strategies that engage students through the practice of doing sociology. Active learning opportunities are the gold standard in teaching because they tend to yield positive learning outcomes, particularly for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Providing these sorts of opportunities is easier said than done, particularly when we teach large, lecture-based or introductory classes. How can we embed active learning opportunities in these less-than-ideal class formats to help us teach difficult concepts like workplace discrimination?