Crystal Dozier, PhD student in the Department of Anthropology and a winner of the Glasscock Award at Student Research Week 2015, will be presenting her research in an oral presentation on Friday, 3 April 2015 from 10:45-11:05 a.m. in 237 Anthropology Building. The Glasscock Award is meant to acknowledge exceptional interdisciplinary projects in the humanities. Awards for both oral and poster presentations are provided to undergraduate and graduate students.
Concepts of race and ethnicity are undeniably some of the most important ideas confronted in anthropology. The American Anthropological Association, among many institutions, has publicly denounced race as a biological fact, yet this concept remains normative for large parts of the United States. Proper instruction in the concept of race as a historical and cultural construct can help combat implicit and explicit discrimination. This research project aims to assist collegiate instructors in choosing teaching methods that result in high retention of anthropological understandings of race. Presented here are the patterns in six sections of an introductory anthropology course, ANTH205: Peoples and Cultures of the World. Student learning was assessed through pre- and post-instruction questionnaires; students were asked basic questions about the nature of race as well as how they related to race in their own lives. Each course was taught by a different graduate instructor, who also reported their teaching methods. We compare the learning outcomes for the different class sections in order to understand what instructional methodologies, class formats, and demographics impact student learning. Analysis of over 200 student responses shows perceptions of race after instruction moved towards more anthropological conceptions in small, but significant, ways. Although our results are preliminary, classes that employed video within their lecture strategy, as well as classes that used a weekly reading quiz, had significantly more student change than those sections that did not. These results are consistent with current educational theory about student engagement and a reminder of the importance of reflective teaching practices.