Friday, August 3, 2012

High School Sociology Syllabus

I have alluded to it a variety of times and people have asked for it.  I perceive it as nothing special, but please feel free to take it and modify it however suits you.

The link for my entire set of docs (will be updated soon) is here:

This includes a link to a .doc version of the file below.

Mr. Schallhorn
Class Behavior Expectations: What I expect from you!
®      This is a “Safe Classroom” and therefore certain types of behavior are encouraged and others discouraged.  I hope all students will feel welcomed and included and be free from harassment based upon ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation or any other difference.  I encourage you to take risks, share ideas and stories appropriate to the class.  Respect is a very big issue for me.  To that end, I expect all of us to avoid “put-downs” as well as derogatory comments or gestures.  Should I do any behavior that violates this principle, please call me on it.  You and I are responsible for every behavior we do. This is a college-prep course and you will be treated as responsible adults, not children.

We will observe three fundamental rules:
1.       all students have the right to express their own ideas, and
2.       all students' ideas are to be heard and treated respectfully.
3.       Each student will bring the text, paper, unit materials, and writing utensils to class (be prepared)

                Greetings!  I am Mr. Schallhorn, your teacher for this course.  You ought to know a few things about me.  I taught in Indiana and Illinois for 15 years (1987-2001) and began at San Benito High School in the fall of 2001.  I have taught Psychology, Advanced Psychology, AP Psychology, Government, Sociology, Honors Sociology, Comparative Religions, World Geography, Philosophy, Anthropology, US/World History/Government (Civitas), Hindu Literature, American Metropolis, and Popular Culture.  Over the years, I have coached volleyball and basketball.  I’m also a bit of a computer and video geek.  Basically, I have been into a lot of different things.

To paraphrase Emile Durkheim (a famous sociologist) - Society was/is more powerful than any of us and is beyond our personal control.  It’s separate from us, yet we are a part of it and it’s a part of our consciousness.  It outlives all of us and we depend on it.

                Introduction to Sociology is one semester course for seniors intended to give you a broad picture of the field of sociology with an emphasis on preparation for college and critical thinking.  This course is all about problem-solving and working in groups.  The course will offer you a set of intellectual tools with which to more accurately understand the society in which you live.  Your participation, discussion, and feedback are needed.  Group activity, work and cooperation are heavily emphasized.  Most of the readings in this course are on the college level.

Things you ought to learn by taking this course:

A.      To understand how sociology views society and to develop a broader and more comprehensive understanding of the complex society in which we live.
B.      To explain the relationship between the most basic cultural concepts: values, norms, roles, and sanctions.
C.      To explain why people behave the way they do employing the concept of socialization.
D.      To explain why people deviate from and conform to the norm.
E.       To evaluate our society's system for dealing with deviants and deviance.
F.       To identify and explain the basic causes for human hatred and prejudice.
G.      To explain the unique position of blacks in our society and why they are in that position.
H.      To critically examine how the school as a social institution has molded their behavior.
I.        To understand the nature and variability of cultures in order to better understand our own.
J.        To explain human motivation in terms of interaction and group membership.
K.      To begin to be able to explain human behavior in terms of abstract sociological concepts.
L.       To analyze how families and family systems influence their behavior.
M.     To identify major social concerns and understand their importance so that students as future citizens will be better prepared to confront these problems.

Course Content
Units Covered
1.       The Sociological Perspective
2.       Culture
3.       Socialization
a.       Education
b.       Sex and Gender
c.        Media
4.       Race and Ethnicity
5.       Families and Intimate Relationships
The grade you earn will be based upon the number of points within the context of the following weights.
·         Classwork/HW/Projects/Essays=40%
·         Quizzes/Tests = 40%
·         Final Exam = 20%
Final Exam—Yes, we have one.
The final examination will be comprehensive (cover the entire course) and will represent 20% of your semester grade.
Grading Scale:
92+ = A
90-91.9  = A-
88-89.9  = B+
82-87.9  = B
80-81.9  = B-
78-79.9  = C+
72-79.9  = C
70-71.9 = C-
68-69.9  = D+
62-67.9  = D
60-61.9  = D-
Below 60%  = F

Materials: bring daily your textbook, loose-leaf (binder or notebook) paper, notebook, folder, pens/pencils

·         Please make note of the San Benito High School Attendance Policy.  Everyone is expected to be in class.  This is a participation and experience-based class and although class notes can assist in making up information, nothing can totally replace the experience of being in class. 
·         Be sure to go to attendance to obtain an Admit Slip. 
·         ***I will not allow you in class without an admit slip/pass/being on excused list after an absence.

Late Fees” (for homework and other assignments)
  1. For major assignments (40 points and above), late assignments will have a penalty of 10% per school day. 
  2. Late homework is worth 50 percent of its original score if it’s done well and turned in by the day of the exam. 
  3. If work is turned in after a unit exam, only completion credit is available.


Every assignment will be labeled with the following information
(if not, it will be counted as a late grade): 
·         Staple all assignments before class begins
Name (First and Last)
Assignment/Title of Assignment
Date turned in
To the left, the format
To the right, an example
Charles Schallhorn
Syllabus Project
January 4, 2014

Testing procedures:  Tests will be given at the end of most units.  Quizzes will be given at a variety of times during the course.

Extra credit:  Extra Credit may be earned only after the regular work is completed.  It will be available only at the instructor’s discretion.  Most often it will be for a superior effort on an assignment.

·         I strongly encourage you to participate in class discussions and activities.  Students assist in creating the atmosphere and mood of the class.  Please become actively involved when appropriate.  Participation in a class such as Psychology where we will be doing many demonstrations and activities will enhance your interest in class and learning.
·         You are also encouraged to bring into class any materials, ideas, news, articles, artifacts
·         Positive class participation is expected.  It includes: paying attention; not sleeping in class; looking interested in the class material; asking questions about the material you've read; bringing in cartoons, magazine, newspaper and journal articles related to the topics studied; being willing to summarize the content for the class; arguing with me on the basis of evidence/logic; and actually contributing something to the class activities of the day.

Topics We Will Examine

·   The Sociological Perspective
·   sociological points of view on group behaviors
·   Durkheim and studies on suicide
·   suicide from both sociological and psychological viewpoints
·   Culture; definition
·   language and culture
·   values, roles, status and rules of cultures
·   American culture
·   Socialization; agents of socialization;
·   personality as created by the social processes;
·   sociological theories of socialization;
·   the roles of the media, education, birth order and family;
·   Social Structure and Interaction; 
·   groups, roles, status
·   nonverbal communication
·   Sex and Gender
·   Sexism
·   gender role socialization
·   Deviance
·   personal abnormality
·   the handicapped
·   history of deviance
·   theories of deviance
·   crime, prisons, and penal reform
·   Race
·   Ethnicity and Prejudice
·   sociological definition of minority
·   causes of bigotry
·   stereotypes
·   prejudice
·   discrimination
·   sexism
·   theories as to the causes of prejudice
·   History of prejudice in the U.S.
·   Sexual Harassment
·   Multiculturalism
·   The Family and Intimate Relationships
·   What is love?
·   family types
·   forms of marriage
·   historical change of the American family
·   attraction
·   relationship issues
·   perspectives on families
·   Social problems
·   Current Issues as decided upon by class


1.         You are expected to read all assignments given in this class (text, boxes in text, handouts, additional readings)

2.             I will give periodic "pop" quizzes on the readings but, in most cases, I will require you to turn in notes over the reading the day the assignment is due or assign a worksheet to go with a reading.  Handing in the assignment when you return can make up a missed assignment.

Academic Integrity and Ethical Standards

                Students are expected to abide by ethical standards in preparing and presenting material that demonstrates their level of knowledge and which is used to determine grades.  Such standards are founded on the basic concepts of honesty and integrity.  An Academic Integrity Policy is an important part of your academic life.  You are responsible for knowing, understanding, and following that policy.  Should any questions arise regarding the policy and your activities, please contact the instructor as soon as possible.

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Please sign below and return to the instructor.
I acknowledge my reading of the course syllabus and the demands and responsibilities and consequences that will be required for the Sociology Course.  Extra help is always available—set up an appointment for before or after school.
Student Name (print):

Student Signature

Parent Name (print)

Parent Signature:


  1. How do you find schools to teach sociology at? I wish it was more common in high schools!

  2. I suspect it depends upon the state. I was hired to teach sociology in Indiana back in 87. The state had teacher cert. that was subject specific then-I was psych, soc and geography. Here in Cali, I proposed and got the course accepted by my school. I would contact people at the ASA and on the listservs to find them. My guess would be mostly in cities and suburbs.

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  5. This is my first time teaching Sociology. Can you suggest any really good activities or projects for teaching this course?

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    1. I have longed believed teaching sociology to students who do not seem to be inherently interested in learning would be a possible effective way to get them excited about education. I recently watched a documentary Precious Knowledge ( in which students of a primarily Latino background in Tuscan, Arizona were integrated into an ethnic studies program. From what I gather from the film the program was a mix of history and sociology, which a focus on social inequality. Students who had previously been failing courses began to receive A's and B's and somehow were intrigued enough to stay up all night to study, which they had never done before. Scores on standard tests also increased. The film also focuses on some of the controversy this program caused in the area and with the local school district. However, after watching this film I felt overwhelming confident that, teaching students who are not doing well in school an in introduction to sociology, sociological concepts, and introducing them to study social inequality would be extremely beneficial to their educational careers. Currently, I am a sociology major. I began at a community college and though I was a good student I could not find any major I was particularly interested in except sociology, though I did not see sociology as a plausible choice due to gossip that surrounds the major in regards to finding a job at a later time. However, as I was uninterested in anything else, I figured graduating with a degree in sociology is better than not graduating at all. Now I am even planning out my own research proposals. Sociology is the best thing that even happened to me. And I believe pushing the school district to integrate into their curriculum, maybe even as an alternative to a writing course or instead of one of the elective requirements would do students only good and intrigue them, esp those students who are apathetic to their studies.

      This is how I found your blog. I had no idea that in California there were schools who offered sociology courses. This is excellent to hear! I hope us sociology majors can push to implement this course as a requirement for high school students.

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