The Lesson to Be Learned: The Past Troubles and Future Promise of Teaching High School Sociology

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

Teaching Sociology


American Sociological Association

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

High school sociology has historically been and largely continues to be neglected by the discipline's professional organizations and by academic sociologists. The few past reforms of high school sociology-such as the SRSS project during the 1960s and early 1970s-were aimed at course content and instructional materials; they have failed. I argue that a new approach is necessary, one that focuses on improving high school sociology teacher training. Professional associations and academic departments must both contribute to efforts to improve the formal sociological education and professionalization of high school teachers of the discipline. Improving teacher training is the best way to enhance the quality of secondary sociology courses, and may also help rectify the discipline's distorted public image as high school students gain a more accurate appreciation and understanding of fundamental sociological insights from their better trained teachers.