Chapter Essays as a Teaching Tool
A few years ago I added a simple assignment to my introductory sociology classes, and it has paid off in more ways than I expected. Each student writes an essay for each chapter we cover. In the essay, prepared outside of class, the student identifies what they consider the single most important concept from the chapter unit (anything in the textbook or class lecture and discussion) and then explains why they think it is important. Each student must give an example from their own life experiences that illustrates the idea and establishes its importance, and then relate it to the topic.