This tenth anniversary issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences (LATISS) focuses on a range of learning and teaching innovations in our core disciplines of anthropology, politics and sociology.
Annika Strauss addresses the emotional and bodily aspects of anthropological fieldwork in the first article. These powerful and often unsettling experiences are underemphasised in classes that prepare students for participant observation abroad and are infrequently discussed in formal academic settings after they return. In order to enhance students’ awareness of and reflection on these dimensions of their fieldwork, she advocates experiential teaching methods derived from improvisational and experimental theatre. She demonstrates how students are enabled to make deeper sense of their own reactions to remembered incidents and encounters through the exercises and re-enactments she uses.
In the second article, Stephanie Limoncelli shows how service-learning with local branches of international non-governmental organisations can contribute to the internationalisation of the social science curriculum and extend students’ awareness of themselves in relation to other people, other places and broader transnational processes. She added an optional service-learning component to a course on the sociology of globalisation and, while the work involved in setting up suitable placements was substantial, the benefits of this form of experiential learning were considerable. Students’ understanding of the issues discussed in class were deepened and they learned first-hand about the meaning of thinking globally and acting locally.
In the third article, Katie Kirakosian, Virginia McLaurin, and Cary Speck explore the value of including an experiential assignment on an elective general education course taken by students from across the university. The teaching team responded to problems with the structure of the course, ‘Culture through Film’, by requiring students to use their technical and creative skills to make individual films on anthropological topics. The task was started early in the semester and clear guidance was given on each stage of the process. Students responded positively to the assignment and high average grades were achieved by students majoring in Science and Engineering as well as in the humanities and social sciences.
Neriko Doerr argues in the fourth article that the concept of the ‘global learner’ is particularly associated with those who undertake study-abroad programmes or international internships. The label is not usually given to the types of students she studied – secondary-school students in a Māori–English bilingual unit in Aotearoa/New Zealand, a U.S. undergraduate in London who learned more from her co-nationals than by immersing herself in U.K. culture, and mainly immigrant English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) students in the U.S. – and yet they achieve many of the learning outcomes deemed to constitute global learning. She concludes that the way the term is used privileges some learners and marginalises others, acting as a phantasmagoria that hides the power relations beneath.
In the fifth article, Paula Booke and Todd Wiebe evaluate a quasi-experiment that involved embedding a librarian into one group taking an introductory U.S. politics course. The subject specialist and the librarian were both involved in designing the course assignments and the librarian ran the information literacy training. The parallel control group did not have an embedded librarian or information literacy training. While both groups of students reported increased confidence in their ability to find information about public opinion polls, campaign donations and candidates’ backgrounds in U.S. elections, the increase was greater in the experimental group and their reflective journals indicated that they had developed transferable research strategies and skills.
The issue ends with a review by Jeroen Huisman of the Routledge Handbook of the Sociology of Higher Education.
For this issue and for the twenty-eight previous issues of LATISS that take us up to this tenth anniversary, our thanks go to the authors of the articles, essays, reports, commentaries and book reviews, the anonymous referees who commented on the manuscripts, the publishers who provided review copies of books, our own publisher Berghahn and the Editorial Board.