Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Hill, Michael R. 1991. “Teaching Sociology: An Approach to Pedagogy.” Invited paper presented to the Roundtable on change and Innovation in the Undergraduate Sociology Curriculum, Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Cincinnati, Ohio.


Copyright 1991 Michael R. Hill


The central emphasis in my classroom approach, regardless of the substantive content of a given course, is on “learning to think sociologically." Teaching students to think as sociologists is an uphill struggle in this psychologically-oriented culture. Thinking sociologically involves, for most students, the acquisition of a new point of view to which many students are ideologically hostile. This hostility does not emerge fundamentally (although it often appears overtly the case) from the students' location on the political spectrum (i.e., from conservative to liberal), but derives from deeply held (and often conflicting) convictions about the nature of science and religion, freedom and determinism, responsibility and individualism, and the meaning of democracy.