Applying Anthropology to General Education: Reshaping Colleges and Universities for the 21st Century (Applying Anthropology in the Classroom: Communities of Practice and Activity-Based Learning in a General Education Course for First-Year Students)

Loker & Wolf / Routledge / March 2022

The authors argue for greater attention to the explicit pedagogical design of general education courses. They explore two distinct connections to anthropology: (1) insights from learning theory, often contributed by anthropologists, provide a theoretical foundation for Communities of Practice (COP) and active learning pedagogies, and (2) the use of applied ethnographic research as a practice for instantiating COP and active learning among first-year students. The chapter provides a concrete example of these approaches in an innovative general education course and reviews their effectiveness, particularly for the enhanced engagement and success of our most vulnerable students: minoritized, first-generation, and low-income students.