Analyzing the Theories within an Article
Lesson objective: to understand the theories in an article, which students will use to analyze another text.
Total estimated time: 70 – 100 mins
Additional outcomes: learning about opposing theories and how scholars refute ideas with additional evidence
Course work that’s underway: This is a lesson for Essay #3, Comparing and Contrasting Family Identity, from Overview 1: “Compare and contrast two communities that we read about in class through the lens of Judy Root Aulette’s findings on race, class and cultural values shaping American families; demonstrate some new insight that you gain about collective identity formation in the process.”
Work and/or reading completed before class: Reading of an excerpt from Changing American Families by Judy Root Aulette
Sequence of classroom activities:
Students will get into 7-8 small groups; each group will tackle a category of family within Aulette’s article and identify what her findings indicate about education, marriage, child-rearing, sharing of resources, etc. for that group. (20 mins.)
They’ll then write on the board, under the heading of their category, qualities of that group, any findings they found questionable, and any families we read about that could be included in that category. (20 mins)
Each group will then present their ideas and questions about their category. Particular attention will be paid to working-class and low income black families for the way her study refutes the Moynihan report. (15-20 mins)
Writing: After discussing and debating Aulette’s methodology of classification, each student will choose a family we read about (either written about on the board and discussed, or one that was somehow overlooked) and free write on how this family fits or doesn’t fit into the category assigned. Students should look at the qualities that Aulette identifies, i.e. education, marriage, child-rearing, etc. (15-20 mins)
Reflection on the lesson’s success or alternative approaches: You could let students know that this last writing task could become the start of their next essay that will compare and contrast two families we have read about. They can refer to it as the class reads about more families and further discusses other ideas that might complicate Aulette’s. Further on, they will express their own ideas about how identity is formed and shaped by culture or society.
Download: CulturalIden_Predraft3_AnalyzingTheoriesWithinArticle (doc)