Earlier this year, I had the good fortune to speak at a teaching conference hosted by Hofstra University in Long Island, New York. My favorite presenter at that conference was a sociology professor named Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales. Not only did she go on a beautiful rant about the deficiencies of our traditional classroom spaces, she also shared a fantastic story about taking her students outside to draw chalk timelines on the sidewalks around her classroom building. Rosemary is an adjunct assistant professor in sociology at both Hofstra University and Columbia University, and I am very excited to have her on the podcast today.
We talk about embodied learning, classroom design, teaching hard topics like human rights, getting students to do the reading, and, yes, sidewalk chalk as an educational technology.
· “Getting students to do the reading.. and to talk about it!” Derek Bruff, November 2022, https://derekbruff.org/?p=3934.
· “Transparent Teaching with Mary-Ann Winkelmes,” Intentional Teaching podcast, https://intentionalteaching.buzzsprout.com/2069949/11997464-transparent-teaching-with-mary-ann-winkelmes.
· “Embodied Learning with Susan Hrach,” Intentional Teaching podcast, https://intentionalteaching.buzzsprout.com/2069949/11558821-embodied-learning-with-susan-hrach.
· “Episode 96: Jenae Cohn,” Leading Lines podcast, https://leadinglinespod.com/uncategorized/episode-96jenae-cohn/.
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See my website for my "Agile Learning" blog and information about having me speak at your campus or conference.
Derek Bruff 0:06
Welcome to Intentional Teaching, a podcast aimed at educators to help them develop foundational teaching skills and explore new ideas and teaching. I'm your host, Derek Breath. I hope this podcast helps you be more intentional in how you teach and in how you develop as a teacher over time.
When I started this podcast last year, one of the themes I set out to explore was the notion of embodied learning. By which I mean the ways that learning can be enhanced and supported through attention to our physical bodies and environments. Prior to 2020, it was easy to just meet our students in a classroom on campus and take for granted our shared physical learning environment. When we moved to remote teaching and learning, however, with students participating in Zoom classes from their bedrooms or their backyards or the McDonald's parking lot for the free Wi-Fi, many instructors started paying a lot more attention to our students' physical environments and their effects on learning. And now that classes are back on site, we're looking around at those old classrooms and questioning their effectiveness as learning environments.
Earlier this year, I had the good fortune to speak at a teaching conference hosted by Hofstra University in Long Island, New York. My favorite presenter at the conference was a sociology professor named Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales. Not only did she go on a beautiful rant about the deficiencies of our traditional classroom spaces, she also shared a fantastic story about taking her students outside to draw chalk timelines on the sidewalks around her classroom building. Rosemary is an adjunct assistant professor in sociology at both Hofstra University and Columbia University, and I am very excited to have her on the podcast today. We talk about embodied learning, classroom design, teaching hard topics like human rights, getting students to do the reading and, yes, sidewalk chalk as an educational technology. I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Rosemary, and I think you will, too.
Well, Rosemary, thanks for being on the podcast. I'm excited to talk with you today about your teaching and some of the strategies that you use. Thanks for being here.
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 2:17
Thanks for having me. I'm thrilled to get to chat.
Derek Bruff 2:20
So I'll start with my usual opening question. Can you tell us about a time when you realized you wanted to be an educator.
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 2:28
I think it was when I realized how powerful of an effect my professors were having on me as an undergraduate, in particular in my last year of college. I went to Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. It's a small liberal arts school, and they really highlight language education and international education there. And I got a chance to do two of their mosaic programs. So they have these mosaic programs where they bring together faculty from different departments who work together on research, and it pulls together research and teaching and service. It's very unique and very special. And my senior year, I got to go to Argentina. We were in Comodoro Rivadavia doing research on the migration in the oil industry and did oral histories and we used film and we were in the field as a research team with our faculty members and students. And I came back and I said, Wow, I want to do more of that.
Derek Bruff 3:47
Wow. Wow. Yeah. What a great... What did you call that program?
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 3:51
It's called the Mosaic Program. And they now have had many different mosaics. That in particular was the first international mosaic they did. And I think what was so incredible about those programs is that we got to sit down in not that mosaic, another mosaic I did. We had a professor work with us on writing memoirs relating to our experiences. We learned ethnography, we learned oral history, We learned how to use film equipment, how to do interviews, how to use audio equipment. And it was so hands on getting in there, digging into people's stories, recording them. And it it was just for me, life changing. And I remember sitting down with one of my professors towards the end of the semester and saying, You know, I love research, and if you're a college professor, you must love research. But at what point or if if there was any point that had shifted towards teaching, when was that? And she said, well, it kind of started out more 60/40 and then maybe went to 50/50 and then shifted in the other direction. And now she was so committed to teaching as well as doing research, but doing them together.
Derek Bruff 5:08
And then you saw that as a path for yourself, as something you could do.
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 5:12
And I think that that's really how... that's really marked my teaching and my teaching philosophy in an indelible way.
Derek Bruff 5:20
Wow. Well, say a little bit about kind of where you teach and what you teach at this point in your career.
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 5:26
Sure. So I teach at Hofstra University in the sociology department, and I also teach a course at Columbia University, also in the sociology department. And I teach sociology of human rights. I teach an introductory course called Contemporary Society. I taught in Hofstra University's Honors College Culture and Expression Course, which is a course co-taught by 14 faculty members across the social and behavioral sciences and humanities. I've also more recently taught a course I developed called Playlist for Revolution. And that course brings together theory of revolution and sociological study of music together in one course.
Derek Bruff 6:16
Wow. Wow. Okay. Lots of different fun courses, hard courses, I think, some hard topics. But I'm going to ask you about when when I saw you present at Hofstra, I think the activity that stood out most to me was your sidewalk chalk activity. And, you know, I kind of play in the educational technology space a lot. And I do try to make the point occasionally that educational technology is not necessarily digital. It can be analog as well. But I can't say I've ever talked about sidewalk chalk as an educational technology. Can you tell us about that course and that activity and kind of how it worked and what what happened?
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 6:57
Sure. So that activity is for sociology of human rights. And before I did it with sidewalk chalk, it took many forms. I think it was kind of like a kind of beginning of the semester introductory activity, kind of let's throw out there all the things that you as students, you know, I would tell them, know about human rights, right? Imagine a timeline of any and everything human rights related. It could be human rights violations. It could be human rights gains, it could be institutionalization, documents, anything relating to human rights. And let's put it on a timeline. What is that story and set of stories look like?
And so we I'm trying to think of how I did it the first time. But I'll tell you a couple of the different ways I did it before I got to sidewalk chalk. We did it on paper. I had students working on paper in small groups. We did it on chalkboards. I've done it on whiteboards. During the pandemic, we did it in Excel and then I found a digital program where you could make a timeline and I tried all these different things.
And then one semester it was a beautiful day, the day I was teaching the course and I had a group of students outside before we were about to go in and they were saying, Oh geez, it's really beautiful today. And and wouldn't it be so nice to have class outside? And I said, Well, we have an activity to do today. And I we could do it outside if I only had sidewalk chalk. And so I went around looking for chalk and I found some in the anthropology department, which is, which is kind of a little bit comical, right? They had it wasn't sidewalk chalk, it was blackboard chalk.
And so I had enough for students to work in about five groups and they drew their time lines in different sections on campus of the sidewalk. And what was so cool about this was that it made a public display of the time lines. And so then I had students that when students ran into trouble and said, Well, we don't know what else to put on. And I said, Well, go spy on another group and see see what they've got on their timeline. And so I had kind of spies running around going to these different time lines, and then they would say, Wow, you know, we didn't even think of that or, you know, kind of things of that nature as they built out their timelines.
And then we kind of gotten to a circle at the end and talked about what patterns do you see? And so they said, well, you know, some really interesting patterns, right? Some of it was that they were more U.S.-based events. Right. So and then some other folks had more international events. We talked about why that might be. They talked about events being more recent as opposed to historical.
Derek Bruff 10:00
And they were they were drawing the events for the timeline, mostly from their own knowledge and experiences?
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 10:08
Right. From their own knowledge. I think that's such an important way to start. No matter what I'm teaching, no matter what class it is, you kind of walk into the room that first day and you have this topic, whatever your topic is. What theories is everyone walking in the room with that they've got in their heads, right? What are the what are the stories that they they might not even be conscious of them? What do people already bring to the table? What do they know? And and then you start mixing them into groups and you get to see it's really beautiful what happens once you do that.
And so I think first taking that step and kind of acknowledging this is what I walked in with, and then that reflection in the timelines is a really important step to say, Well, well, these are my blind spots, right? So I get students that I usually ask the question, Well, what kind of surprised you when you looked at other folks as timelines, right? And so they realize their own blind spots. And then we get to talk about collectively as a group what are our blind spots, what things might be on here that we just don't know enough about yet?
And and so it was really cool to see it in such a public way on the sidewalk. And, and the other neat part about it was that as students, it was towards the end of the class and, and students from other classes started passing by to go to their classes and would stop and kind of look and and turn back and and then I had students who didn't know me and who I didn't know reading the timelines. Once I had all, you know, after classes, you kind of chit chat with students afterwards, right? They might have a question or, or you might chat about something. Once they left, I was picking up my bags to go and there were two students and they asked me which which class is this? And I said, I don't know. Can you do you think you can make a guess?
And then a third student walked up and and so they started looking at all the timelines and they were going back and forth and and they came up with history, they thought. Rights. And and they came up with a couple ideas. Nothing fit. And then all one one of them said sociology and and then one of the other ones said sociology of human rights. And they got it. Just looking at the timelines, which was very, very cool. I have to say it's that is one of my favorite teaching moments, even though I couldn't tell you what the students names were, I didn't know them. They didn't know me, and they were not even my students.
But I think I think doing teaching and in this sense doing sociology in public space on campus with chalk, on the sidewalk, made an opportunity for learning that otherwise we wouldn't see when it's when it's limited to the classroom space.
Derek Bruff 13:01
Yeah, Yeah. Well, and I think both faculty and students often think of the courses as these kind of self-contained, you know, capsules almost, right? Like, what stays and... what happens in the course stays in the course. But what I hear from you is that you open your course to the community in this kind of public way. And those other students who wandered by were like, oh, you know, we're part of a learning community together, right? I don't have to be in a course to have an interesting conversation with the professor about what they're teaching.
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 13:34
Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. That intellectual engagement and and and making it part of the day and part of the university space. You don't just have to attend to public talk, which are also fantastic opportunities for learning on college campuses, right? You don't only just take courses. So much of my learning in college was done outside of the classroom space because of those Mosaic programs. But I have memories of sitting on the grass in the center of campus, turning literature into performance for one class. I have memories of sitting in the cafeteria talking about topics I was only somewhat familiar with because my friends were studying those topics in their courses. And that is what's what's so neat about universities is that intellectual energy and and and you know, synergy and sharing and that goes on outside the classroom space.
Derek Bruff 14:28
And I also like how you took the request for class outside, which I find is not always a productive move. Like I remember taking my math class outside and I don't know that we got much done that day, but in your case, you really use it to your advantage.
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 14:48
I remember one time I was in a classroom that there was a heating issue and it was like a sauna, and I had to call the plant to have them send someone. And I said, We won't be here when you get here. But just so you know, it's I don't know how many degrees hot in this classroom. And I took my class outside and I had to take an activity that was not supposed to be an outdoor activity and make it into one. And so I think that it's good to have a little bit of flexibility, a kind of sense of, well, these are the things I want to accomplish in the in the in the classroom today. But if something goes wrong, I'm flexible enough that I can still accomplish it in a different way and even in a different space if I have to. It's not always going to work out perfectly, but I think in some ways that's where innovation can happen when you're met with the unexpected and when you rise to meet the challenge of managing and dealing with the unexpected.
Derek Bruff 15:51
Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think a lot of us found that during COVID, when we were forced to teach in new contexts, and I know a lot of faculty found tools and activities and ways of interacting with their students that they're still using now, even though they're back in the physical classroom. One of the other things that you shared in your presentation at Hofstra was a some analysis of our physical classrooms and perhaps some of their shortcomings.
What what do you see us as the shortcomings of our physical classrooms, and what would you change about them if you could wave a magic wand?
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 16:30
Oh, this is the question. I love this question. I wish everyone would ask me this question. In fact, I wish that people who had decision-making power to change my classrooms would ask me this question.
I, I really feel that the desks in rows all facing the professor at the front of the room. It primes people for listening. It's it's a lecture based model, right> That that use of physical space. And I think that if we really want to take students seriously, we need to set them up physically to take each other seriously. One of those things is their ability to look at each other, to see each other without having to turn around and crane their neck to do so, but really have of a vantage point to be able to look their classmates in the eye, to be able to look at them, use their names.
And that, I think, was always clear to me, but became especially clear to me when I have students in the in my classes who are in wheelchairs, who have limited mobility and cannot turn their bodies to look at people in the back of the room speaking. And this is especially because those students in the classrooms that I've been in with those students, those students come in and they're at the front of the room because that's the space that's the most accessible for them. But it doesn't make socialization and conversation and discussion accessible for them. And so so that's one thing.
I think I if I had to design my ideal classroom space, it would have a big kind of conference table at the center where students could sit around it. But then we would have a space for mingling like couches around the edges of it for students to kind of lounge in, in small groups like little coffee shop style. I do an activity often with my students I call speed dating, where I'll have a question or a set of questions and I'll have them everyone look for someone or one or two people to chat with. And then I watch the time and maybe every 3 minutes I say switch and they have to stop mid-conversation switch. And so they really have to get down to business quickly and they're moving around the room. But the oftentimes the classroom space makes it hard to do that.
What's so important about that, I think, though, is when you have that space and when we make that space, they get to talk to people they would never otherwise talk. you know, the person who sits in the front up towards the door gets to talk to the person who sits in the back towards the window. And and so it gives them that space to move around it.
And I also, again, I think that having students at tables that the desks in a row are individual spaces and they're really cramped, whereas if you're at a table, you can spread out a little bit more. You'd have someone next to you, but it's like a works... It's a workspace in a way that those small desks are just not, you know? And so you can put a paper down in the center of a group of people and work on it together. We can model things out and really do hands on activities with tables that you can't do. Even even if you put small desks together, you can't do that.
Derek Bruff 20:12
Let me. So I could talk about classroom design all day, but you do have me thinking... it sounds like you have your students spend their class time in a lot of activities talking to each other, right? Maybe listening to you a little bit, but a lot of group activities. What I know some of the things... Faculty sometimes struggle with getting students to come to class prepared to do that kind of work. And I'm wondering if you have any strategies you use to try to kind of motivate your students to see that this is a valuable use of class time, but then also to come prepared so they can engage meaningfully in those activities?
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 20:53
Yeah, thanks for that question. I think the most important thing in making these activities work is that if you assign reading, the students need to have done the reading to be prepared to be there. And, and there are a couple of things I do that I think work.
One of them is I have students write memos before they come to class on the things that they've read those memos, ask them to consider some really specific things or answer some really specific questions. If there's something if there's more than one thing they've read, I want them to look for connections. I want to know what new thing they've learned, what new thing they can explain, what new question they have, and then I'll usually give them a chance to say what what's sort of not not random in a mathematical sense, but what random something in the colloquial sense that that our students use it, right? What random something caught your attention? And those memos end up looking a little like journals, but they're intellectual journeys as well as journals.
And and those questions also kind of mirror... this what the research process looks like. So that's one thing. But also prepares them to be there. And so even if you have a student who is struggling with a text that's at a higher level for them, they can still answer what new thing they learned or what new question they have. There's always a place for them to start. I want the memos to to meet students where they are, and then and then they're prepared to be there.
The other thing, if you don't do that right or along with that, is to have students answer a question or two at the very start of class in writing, and you can have them do that in some kind of like discussion board. They can do it on paper. You can have them do it on paper and then break out into small groups real quick to discuss it. So then it helps them fill in the blanks. So maybe if you have three people and they don't all have the same understanding of a text, but but if they come to expect that they have to do that, then they take the reading more seriously. And so I think it's about setting that expectation through those writing activities that gets them to be there and ready to talk.
So along with those writing activities, I also talk to them a lot about reading strategies, the kind of reading strategies no one taught me when I was an undergrad and I had to figure out when I was a grad student myself. When you make that jump from undergraduate to graduate school, you become a different kind of reader. And no one really tells you how to do it. And, you know, I mean, I did get a few tips, but otherwise you kind of have to figure it out.
And so when I was in grad school, I remember in particular one faculty member talking to us about how to "gut" a book, right? Read the intro, read the conclusion, and then go back and skim to see what's the most interesting to you. Right? We shouldn't read everything like that, right? But but it's also the way people read sociology journal articles, right? Where you'll read the intro and the conclusion and then go back. And so I think that that kind of reading, it's important for students to see that you can actually get a lot from a longer text by doing that and get it a lot more quickly. And you can read the middle of a piece more efficiently if you know where it's going. And so I start with that very early in the semester because then I'm more likely to get students to do the reading if they have a set of strategies for doing the reading right?
We also talk about marginal notes. There's usually at least one time in every semester when I share my text with the marginal notes with the students. It could be that when I assign it, that's the PDF I provide them, like my marginal notes on on the article so that they can see how I mark up a piece. It could be that I summarize key pieces and I do it in a way I think is helpful, and I'll show them what that looks like on a PowerPoint slide. All right, So I'll say this is what your notes could look like. And so I do this in a few different ways over the course of each semester with the idea that students these students are also better readers and better processors and more efficient processors of information when they leave my class at the end of the semester.
And so I think between that and then getting students to write, try to meet them where they are so that everyone feels like they they... if everyone has written a memo about what was new to them and what they could now explain and what new questions they have, then everyone feels like they potentially have something to bring to the table. So I think that also feeds participation.
The other thing I do is I tend to do mini lectures where I try to keep them to 15 to 20 minutes because that's generally what people's attention spans are. And so that that works. And for example, when we do sociology of culture, I'll have a of a bunch of concepts that they don't do any reading on, but I present them and I tell them before I start, I need you to focus. I need you to take notes because you're going to be using these ideas to analyze texts. You're going to do something with it, right? So if they know that they're going to do something with the thing I'm teaching, then they have to pay attention to be able to do it and to be able to do it well. And then after I go through that, they actually analyze... I bring a suitcase full of children's books from my children's library, and I have them look at culture relating to children's books.
And so so those are some of the ways I think we can make... I don't I don't... you can't force participation, right? There are some students who, despite every effort, will not feel comfortable speaking in a full group. They might feel comfortable speaking in a small group, right? Which is why it's important to vary it. And there are some students for for many different reasons, will not engage as much with the course. You can't force it, but you can make it more likely for students to participate. You can break down some of the barriers for them by giving them a set of assignments and skills to make participation, make the barrier to participation maybe a little less daunting.
Derek Bruff 27:33
Yeah. Yeah. Well, let me make a couple of connections. One is that your memos are asking students... It sounds like you're not asking them content questions about the reading. You're asking them to make the kinds of cognitive moves that a sociologist might make when they're reading something new, right? What's the random thing that jumps out at you? What's what's the one thing you learn? What's one question you have? Right? What's the connection between what you're reading and something else that we've done? Right? And I love that because you're giving students practice in doing the discipline right?
And so so that's one connection... there's a there was a couple of sociologists I saw in a conference years ago, Cherry and Parrot were their last names because they published this, they call it structured reading groups. And in their case, they wanted students to do the reading and come to class and talk about it in small groups. But they wanted to make that easier on students. And so the students were given a particular cognitive move to make before class. So one member of the small group would be the creative connector. Their job was to look for connections in the reading, and one group would be the passage master, right? They're looking for key quotes. One member would be the devil's advocate. Their job is to argue with the author, right? And so then when you get all those together in a small group, they each have something unique to contribute. And the reading process itself is simpler because you've given them kind of scaffolding to make sense of the reading and practice doing the cognitive moves that you would want them to make. So I love that.
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 29:11
Derek Bruff 29:13
Isn't it great? I've used it when I had students do collaborative annotation of a text using Perusall as an annotation tool, and so different groups had different moves to make as annotators, which I thought was helpful.
The other connection I'll make is in a previous podcast episode, I talked to Mary-Ann Winkelmes, who argued that the study strategies and the learning strategies that our students develop in high school are often insufficient for college because they need more discipline specific learning strategies. And that's what you're doing by teaching them how to read the types of articles that you want them to read. You're you're moving them from kind of generic academic reading strategies to more discipline specific academic reading strategies which they need, right? And you're right, Sometimes you get to grad school and you're like, Holy moly, how can I read six books this week? Right? And it's because you're not supposed to read them in the same way that you would have read them as an undergrad.
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 30:13
Exactly. Exactly. And I and I do think that part of my job in in helping is... especially when you're teaching an introductory course in your field, right? Is in my case to to get students to develop the sociological imagination. It's a way of thinking. It's a way of approaching understanding the social world. And so for me, the best way to teach it is to teach students how I do what I do. And sort of that's how I came to that. And so it's neat to hear your kind of analysis of it, which I don't I don't know that I would have thought about it that way. So that's pretty cool. Thanks for that.
Derek Bruff 30:51
Let me also ask you about the activities that you do. And a lot of them involve movement, physical bodies moving around the room. Why do you think that's so important to the learning process?
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 31:08
Yeah, you know, it's so funny. My son plays soccer and I was recently talking to his trainer about this and about what memory and what what memory has to do with learning and his persective ont hat is really interesting because he teaches a sport, right? You need to use your body, right? So so what I teach isn't quite that, but I do think that the moving around the room, the drawing with chalk, the looking through children's books, I've also brought in building toys and had students build things. I brought in puzzles and had students work on puzzles together.
And so I think all of that creates memories, right? Not. And I think what students end up doing is connecting the memory of that moment with the memory of the material. And so another thing I have students do when I teach them how to make observations is go out on campus and make observations and then come back and we'll we look at them and we talk about what's an observation and what's not right? Where were we making assumptions or judgments? And so moving around on campus, right? I could assign not only and not do the practice first, but they get to have that memory of being on campus, of then discussing and giving feedback and getting feedback from other students. And I think that is one of the ways in which learning happens.
I also think... I recently I got an email at the end of the semester from a student who took a course with me this year and also the previous year. And in the email she mentioned that the activities we do in class and the the space for discussion is seen in the relationships that the students develop with one another. And that's probably one of the coolest emails I've gotten as an instructor because that's one of my goals. And part of college is developing relationships, right? And you can look at it in an instrumental way, building your social network, right? We're just building relationships with people. And so I think that having people move around the room, do things together, make those memories together aids the learning process.
Derek Bruff 33:41
I fully agree. And another connection: I interviewed Susan Hrach on this podcast last year, and she's the author of a book called Minds and Bodies. I think I'll put the correct title in show notes.
[Hey, this is Future Derek. I got the title right. It is Mind Bodies. The subtitle is How Physical Space Sensation and Movement Affect Learning. That is Susan Hrach's 2021 book from West Virginia University Press.]
But it's about embodied learning, right? And she also made the argument that the kind of physical location of where we are when we're moving our bodies right, we do associate that with the things that we're encountering and experiencing. And so, you know, it's even when I'm I, I mentioned to her that when I'm out running. Right, I'll listen podcasts and I can sometimes remember where I was when I heard a particular podcast, right? Like I've associated that in my mind. And so I do think it does it helps the memory and the relationship building that you say too, right? It's a, it's an opportunity to help our students develop meaningful relationships with their peers when we when we build these activities into our classrooms.
Well, let me ask I've got one more question for you, Rosemary. Your courses do take on some pretty hard topics and some grim things. How do you help your students manage the emotional load of those topics?
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 35:09
Yeah, that's a that's a really good question. That's especially an issue in sociology of human rights. And I don't know that my solution to that is a perfect one, but I can talk a little bit about it.
I, I talked to students very early in the semester about the fact that we will encounter lots of difficult material and that some weeks might be harder for some students than other weeks. But that also I try to be very careful about how much very thin I don't want to say graphic, how much really emotionally loaded material I give to students. My solution to that in sociology of human rights has been to go a little bit more theoretical because and I explained to students that my my goal is to help them understand how sociologists see human rights and also how human rights can contribute to the field of sociology so that they can then frame issues as human rights issues when they encounter them.
And I don't need to give my students lots of gruesome reading to do that, to teach the skill I can I can really kind of go up theoretically and and then also I do give heavy content, but I spread it out across the semester and and try to constantly connect back to theory. The other thing I do is I give students opportunities to work on issue projects that take them throughout the entire semester so they get to work on something that they want to focus on. And I think that also helps little bit, right? So if I'm if I'm giving you material that's difficult emotionally, but I choose it as opposed to you choosing it, that's a a different and so so I don't know if that really answers your question or not but but that I think is helpful.
Derek Bruff 37:20
Well, thank you, Rosemary. This has been really great. Thanks for taking us into your classroom a little bit and then out of your classroom as well.
Yeah, this has been really great. Thanks for sharing.
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 37:32
Yeah, this was really nice. Thanks so much for inviting me and thanks also for making those neat connections to the other podcasts. Now you're sending me there, so great.
Derek Bruff 37:40
Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales 37:41
You're giving me work to do. I've got homework.
Derek Bruff 37:45
That was Rosemary McGunnigle-Gonzales, adjunct assistant professor of sociology at Hofstra University and at Columbia University. Thanks to Rosemary for sharing her time and experience here on the podcast. If you'd like to learn more about Rosemary and her teaching and research, see the show notes for a link to her website.
You'll also find links to some of the past episodes of intentional teaching I referenced in the interview and one other podcast episode that I didn't mention out loud but totally had in my head. An interview I conducted with Jenae Cohn on reading in digital environments. That was for my old podcast, Leading Lines. In that interview, Jenae shares her experience as a beginning graduate student, realizing that the reading strategies she developed as an undergrad would not be sufficient for her graduate work. If you found Rosemary's comments about helping students learn to read in disciplinary ways interesting, I highly recommend the interview with Jenae Cohn.
And if you found this interview with Rosemary as inspirational as I did, would you take a minute to share it with a colleague or maybe post about it on your social media? I would love for more educators to benefit from Rosemary's creativity and her enthusiasm for embodied learning.
This episode of Intentional Teaching was produced and edited by me, Derek Bruff. See the show notes for links to my website, the sign-up form for the Intentional Teaching newsletter, and my Patreon, which helps support the show. For just a few bucks a month, you get access to the occasional bonus episode, Patreon-only teaching resources, the archive of past newsletters, and a community of intentional educators. As always, thanks for listening.