Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

Teaching sociology to public health students: Consumption as a reflective learning tool

Rebecca Olson, Edgar Burns

Abstract


Introduction: This paper responds to a call for creative approaches to teaching the social determinants of health in public health classrooms. A reflective learning tool was designed to help students link social theory to their own lives and reflectively broaden their understanding of the social determinants of health. Each student completed a worksheet on everything he or she consumed in one 24-hour period. Responses were applied, through discussion, to a lesson on social theory and behaviour, as well as to a lesson on the environment. Data on the class’s consumption was then compiled and applied to group work, with students employing sociological theories to critique public health campaigns addressing consumption and environmental sustainability.

Methods: Evaluation of the teaching tool was achieved through in-class questionnaires containing 5-point Likert scale and open questions completed after the first and second lesson.

Results: Eighty-nine percent of participants agreed that the reflective learning tool was an effective means of learning about social influences on individual behaviour. In qualitative responses, several students described self-discovery experiences related to the exercise.

Conclusions: Reflective learning tools, such as the consumption exercise described here, show promise in providing a means of achieving the creative and transformative learning needed to generate public health graduates prepared for the global and political challenges of the 21st century. 


Keywords


public health; learning; sociology

Full Text:

PDF

References


Baum, F. (2008). The new public health (3rd ed.). Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Bauman, Z. (1998). Work, consumerism and the new poor. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.

Beaglehole, R., & Bonita, R. (2004). Public health at the crossroads: Achievements and prospects. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Bourdieu, P. (2003). Participant observation: The Huxley medical lecture. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 9(2), 281–294.

Chávez, V., Turalba, R., & Malik, S. (2006). Teaching public health through a pedagogy of collegiality. American Journal of Public Health, 96(7), 1175–1180.

Coco, A., Woodward, I., Lupton, G., Peake, A., & Shaw, K. (2000, July). Bourdieu: Learning theory and a new game for action learning in lectures. Proceedings of ASET- HERDSA Conference, Toowoomba, QLD: University of Southern Queensland.

Crawley, S., Lewis, J., & Mayberry, M. (2008). Introduction—feminist pedagogies in action: Teaching beyond disciplines. Feminist Teacher, 19(1), 1–12.

Dixon, J., & Broom, D. (2007). The 7 deadly sins of obesity. Sydney, NSW, Australia: UNSW Press.

Evans, M. (2004). Killing thinking: The death of the universities (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Continuum.

Fleming, M., & Tenkate, T. (2012). Biological and environmental determinants. In M. Fleming & E. Parker (Eds.), Introduction to public health (2nd ed., pp. 103– 127). Chatswood, NSW, Australia: Elsevier.

Frenk, J., Chen, L., Bhutta, Z., Cohen, J., Crisp, N. Evans, T., . . . Zurayk, H. (2010). Health professionals for a new century: Transforming education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world. Lancet, 376, 1923–1958.

Germov, J., & Poole, M. (2011). Public sociology: An introduction to Australian society. Crows Nest, NSW, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Giddens, A. (1984). The constitution of society. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

Gill, B., Lombardo, L., & Short, S. (2013). Unscrambling the egg: A muddled path to a holistic, coherent and integrated institution-wide approach to first year student transition. International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education, 4(2), 97–103.

Gillam, S., & Bagade, A. (2006). Undergraduate public health education in UK medical schools: Struggling to deliver. Medical Education, 40(5), 430–436.

Grauerholz, L., & Bubriski-McKenzie, A. (2012). Teaching about consumption: The “not buying it” project. Teaching Sociology, 40(4), 332–348.

Hamilton, C. (2010). Requiem for a species: Why we resist the truth about climate change. Crows Nest, NSW, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Hamilton, C., & Denniss, R. (2005). Affluenza: When too much is never enough. Crows Nest, NSW, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Hofrichter, R. (2010). Tackling health inequities: A framework for public health practice. In R. Hofrichter & R. Bhatia (Eds.), Tackling health inequities through public health practice: Theory to action (2nd ed., pp. 3–56). New York, NY: OUP.

Jones, I., & Young, L. (2006). The relevance of sociocultural theories in learning in a graduate entry medical program. Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi- Disciplinary Journal, 8(2), 11–21.

Leach, D. (2008). Competencies: From deconstruction to reconstruction and back again, lessons learned. American Journal of Public Health, 98(9), 1562–1564.

Lee, J. (2008). Articulation of undergraduate and graduate education in public health. Public Health Reports, 123(S2), 12–17.

Marmot, M. (2004). Status syndrome: How your social standing directly affects your health and life expectancy. London, England: Bloomsbury.

McCulloch, R., & Field, R. (2014, July). An intentional class design model to engage first year students with threshold concepts using the academic discourse theories of Vygotsky and Laurillard. Paper presented at 17th International First Year in Higher Education Conference, Darwin, NT, Australia.

McMichael, T. (1993). Planetary overload: Global environmental change and the health of the human species. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Mills, C. W. (1959). The sociological imagination. Oxford, UK: OUP.

Muntaner, C., & Chung, H. (2010). Teaching social inequalities in health: Barriers and opportunities. In R. Hofrichter and R. Bhatia (Eds.), Tackling health inequities through public health practice: Theory to action (2nd ed., pp. 517–525). New York, NY: OUP.

Ncayiyana, D., Goldstein, G., Goon, E., & Yach, D. (1995). The new public health and WHO’s ninth general programme of work: A discussion paper. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.

Outram, S., Dundas, K., & Johnson, N. (2014). The educated citizen: A case study and guide for teaching public health to undergraduates in Australian universities. Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 15(3), 32–40.

Raschke, V., & Cheema, B. (2007). Colonisation, the new world order, and the eradication of traditional food habits in East Africa: Historical perspective on the nutrition transition. Public Health Nutrition, 11(7), 662–674.

Szasz, A. (2008, January). The dangerous delusions of : “inverted quarantine.” Chronicle of Higher Education, 54(20), B12–B13.

Wegener, G. (2014). “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”: Hippocrates revisited. Acta Neuropsychiatrica, 26(1), 1–3.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/fohpe.v17i1.123

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.