active learning to the rescue?

A colleague at another university brought this article to my attention.
In an era of declining institutional support for the discipline, a panel suggests how pedagogy can help anthropology save itself.
Some anthropologists I’ve talked to think these activities are great, and some think they are too basic for their own students. Beyond that are larger questions: can the kinds of projects and activities described in the article reinvigorate student interest in a discipline?

1 thought on “active learning to the rescue?

  1. Angela R. Linse

    Wow, this is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, that the panel got accepted at the AAA conference is great. Second, many of these activities have been around for a long time and it is great that they are getting some good press! Third, it makes me think about our recent discussion about why it is fun and important to teach these introductory classes–they really are the way we introduce students the possibility of contributing in substantive ways to the field, either immediately or in the future. Hooray!!

    The article provides a nice array of examples too, simple to complex, quick to time-consuming.

    It reminds me of a couple of activities I tried when I taught an intro anthro course ages ago. When we talked about bipedality, I asked the students to stand up, then try to balance on one leg w/o engaging their gluteus maximus muscles. I also asked them to do a small walking exercise at home concentrating on feeling which muscles they use to walk, attending to muscles in their arms, back, hips, legs, and feet and comparing that to the muscles of other apes.

    Writing this makes me wonder how I would have adapted this to students who are not able to walk. It is definitely possible, even though I did not do so at the time.

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