Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

2008 Action Teaching Award Recipients

SPN Action Teaching Award    In 2008, the Social Psychology Network Action Teaching Award was won by David ("Tony") Hoffman of the University of California at Santa Cruz for his entry "The Forced Migration Project: A Refugee Shelter Display."

For details on the winning entry as well as another excellent entry that received Honorable Mention, please see below. Instructors are welcome to use or adapt these teaching ideas for their own classes, provided the use is noncommercial and appropriate credit is given to the individuals below. To see other award-winning entries, please use the pulldown menu below.

Winning Entry
Title: The Forced Migration Project: A Refugee Shelter Display
Submitted by: David A. Hoffman (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Category: Classroom activity, student assignment, field experience
For students/learners in: College, high school
Objective(s): To (1) teach students about psychological and cultural aspects of forced migration, particularly the migration of children in war zones, (2) let students experience the construction of shelters used for refugees and internally displaced persons, and (3) educate the campus community about forced migration


Student Construction Crew Most of the world's war-affected families are refugees or "internally displaced persons" (IDPs), people who have been forced to migrate from their homes and communities. Over 9 million children currently live in refugee camps outside their country of origin, and another 10 million children are IDPs living within their country but displaced from their home. To learn about the psychosocial dimensions of forced migration and refugee living conditions, students participated in the Forced Migration Project, an activity in which the class built a typical IDP shelter and erected a refugee tent on a campus lawn, using only the tools and supplies typically available to refugees in emergency situations, and created informational posters, handouts, charts, and flyers for public display next to the shelters. This exhibit was then displayed for one week, with students staffing the exhibit during the day.

Honorable Mention
Title: Project Implicit Demonstration Site
Submitted by: Brian A. Nosek (University of Virginia)
Category: Web-based resource
For students/learners in: Graduate school, college, high school, grade school, work settings, other
Objective(s): To provide hands-on experience with the Implicit Association Test (IAT), a popular measure of implicit associations, as an opportunity for self-discovery about the potential dissociation of our implicit and explicit thoughts, beliefs, and values, especially with regard to intergroup relations


Project ImplicitThe Project Implicit web site features the Implicit Association Test (IAT), a popular measure that can reveal associations distinct from the attitudes people report holding. The IAT is most often used as a measure of attitudes and stereotypes about social groups, and the IAT demonstration web site uses an action teaching approach modeled after an interactive museum exhibit. Visitors to the site can take tests related to race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or even stereoptypes about "who is American." After taking an IAT, visitors then receive personalized feedback with comparative information about how others performed, thereby educating them about implicit social biases while also teaching about psychological research and behavioral science methods. Thus far, more than 6 million IATs have been completed since the site was first released in 1998, and IAT materials have been translated into 16 languages.

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