Last friday I gave my first lecture to a group of students. Or rather: soon-to-be students, for I was asked to give an active lecture to secondary school students on the ‘Laatkiezersdag 6 VWO’. These students recently finished their finals and are now up for the task to select a new study for next year. For almost an hour and a half I explained some on the progress of scientific research and then brainstormed with these students on a specific project. This was all with the purpose of assisting these students to choose the right study which, obviously, should be sociology at the Radboud University.
I decided to show them that sociology ‘lies out on the street’. I picked the newspaper of the previous evening and demonstrated that of all three main questions of sociology (rationalization, inequality, and cohesion) multiple articles were to be found in that edition of the newspaper. Together, we discussed the relevance for sociology of the discussion regarding embryo-selection, the increased educational gap in health, and the processes of inclusion and exclusion of a unified Europe.
The majority of the time I spend on a discussion how to investigate when people object against minorities. I showed two fragments of a news show, illustrating two perspectives on when indigenous people object against minorities. I let the students brainstorm on how this background could lead to a specific research question, what kind of theoretical background would be appropriate, and how to investigate such a problem. I contrasted the survey approach with what they were familiar with from their secondary school (literature review). I also wanted to show them some results from ‘real’ research, so I interwove the brainstorming with the problem, theoretical background, and some of the outcomes of some project I worked on earlier.
I found it to be an inspirational process to prepare myself for giving this lecture. Especially because it was an interactive one, which you can’t (or rather: shouldn’t) write out literally. Some of the students came up with interesting discussion points and I think they had a good time. I know I did, and I hope to lecture a group of students again soon.