Autoethnography is a qualitative method used in the social sciences that requires the author to both reflect on and analyze personal experiences through a sociological lens. Our educational stories all feel unique and specific to us—yet as sociologists, we must also learn how to identify patterns in our own histories that reflect broader sociological trends and theories. Guidelines • This assignment should be 2-3 pages double-spaced and should be submitted online, in the assignments folder. • The scope of the assignment is determined by you—you can focus on a narrow range of years (middle school/junior high, etc.), or you could focus on interactions that span your education career—for example, how has your race/class/gender impacted your interactions with authority figures in the educational system? • It can be helpful to the reader (me!) to provide some context about the school that you are writing about—is it urban/suburban/or rural? diverse or homogenous?, shiny new building or dilapidated old brick?, private or public?, etc. • You don’t have to do outside research for this assignment, but draw on information/concepts from at least 1 course reading that either supports/explains/or contradicts your own experience. For example, if you are writing about your experience in college, you could make a connection between the coursework that you have chosen, and whether that aligns with education as a public good or private good. If you are reflecting on your K-12 experience, you could draw on Hallinan’s discussion of tracking or Turner’s discussion of mobility, etc. Writing an autoethnography gives you an opportunity to both reflect on and analyze personal experiences through a sociological lens. Our educational stories all feel unique and specific to us—yet as sociologists, we must also learn how to identify patterns in our own histories that reflect broader sociological trends and theories. For example, consider the following questions: Did you go to a neighborhood elementary school, or did you have to travel far to attend school—did the demographics of your school match the demographics of where you lived? Did you ever notice discrepancies in how students were punished or reprimanded in school based on gender, race, or class? Why are we enrolled in college, while our high school classmates directly entered the workforce? This assignment should be 2-3 pages double-spaced and engage with at least 1 reading from the course. More specific guidelines are posted in the assignments folder.
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