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Welcome to the ShortCutstv Blog

Saturday, December 23rd, 2017

This is the part of the site we use to post anything we think might be of interest to teachers and students of Sociology and Psychology – from announcements about new Sociology, Psychology and Criminology films, to teaching and learning Notes, PowerPoints, web sites, software – just about anything that piques our interest, really.

In September 2019 we hit 600 individual Blog posts and to make it easier for you to find a particular post on a particular topic we’ve added a range of functions (on the bar to the right) that should help:

Search Box: if you’re looking for something specific. It’s not very clever so try to Keep It Simple.

Recent Posts displays the most recent posts (yes, really). Not the most useful widget in the world. Obviously.

Archive Posts: This is actually useful if you want a quick way to look back through the numerous posts we’ve made by month / year. Just click the month / year you want from the drop-down list.

Popular Tags: identifies the most popular keywords used in posts (the larger the word, the more posts there are about it). Just click the word to see the posts…

Popular Posts: identifies the posts that have had the most views so you can Follow the Crowd(tm).

Categories: allows you to filter posts by Sociology, Psychology, Simulations and Toolbox – so if you only want to see Psychology posts (or whatever), this is the filter for you.

Last, but by no means least, you can use the Get Notified box to sign-up for an email notification each time a new post appears on the Blog.

We only use this address to send you automatic notifications and it won’t be passed to a third-party, used for spamming you or whatever.

We like to think we’re better than that.

Personal Learning Checklists: GCSE Sociology

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020
Family PLC

Although I’ve previously posted about Personal Learning Checklists (PLCs) this was in the context of providing both a general explanation of how they are broadly designed to work and a basic template you could use to create PLCs for whatever course you happened to be teaching.

In basic terms, PLCs can be useful for teachers and students in a couple of ways:

Firstly, by identifying everything a student potentially needs to learn on a course and for an exam. This has an obvious use in terms of revision because it ensures students revise what they need to revise. It can also be useful during a course if a student, for whatever reason, has patch attendance. The creation of a PLC can be used, for example, to ensure they cover work they have missed.

Secondly, they can be used by teachers to provide additional help for individual students who may not have clearly understood some part of the course.

If you want to explore how PLCs can be used as an integral part of a “raising standards” agenda, this short article, Interventions: Personalised learning checklists, could be a useful starting-point.

If, on the other hand, you’re only here for the gear, Blenheim School have very kindly created a whole bunch of GCSE Sociology PLCs so you don’t have to (and if you teach other GCSE subjects there are a whole host of other PLCs available you might want to check-out). This bunch are for the AQA Specification (I think) but if you follow other Specifications they’re easy enough to adapt to your own particular needs.

Crime and Deviance PLC

What is Sociology?

Research Methods

Family

Education

Crime and Deviance

Mass Media

Social Inequality

GCSE Sociology Resources

Monday, January 13th, 2020
Culture and Socialisation Study Guide
Study Guide

Although iGCSE Sociology is a different exam to the conventional GCSE Sociology studied in the majority of English schools, the Specification content is very similar for both in terms of the general areas studied (Inequality, Family, Methods and so forth) and the specific content studied within each area.

This, as you may be starting to suspect, is quite convenient given that I’ve recently stumbled across a range of iGCSE resources (Study Guides, PowerPoint Presentations and Word-based Notes) that GCSE teachers and students should find very useful.

And free.

Never neglect the value of free.

The resources seem to have been assembled by Theresa Harvey and while they’re generally a few years old (the date range seems to be 2008 – 2014) I’ve no doubt you’ll find at least some of them useful.

See the resources…

Criminal Profiling: The Movie

Friday, January 10th, 2020
Click to view buy or rent on Vimeo
The Movie…

While you might be surprised to learn that some forms of criminal (or offender) profiling have been around for a very long time – from profiles of witches in the Middle Ages to “Jack the Ripper” in the late 19th century – criminal profiling really developed into a systematic attempt to identify key features of individual criminal behaviour with the establishment of the FBI’s Behavioral (sic) Science Unit in 1972.

Under the initial guidance of John Douglas (whose fictionalised representation in the character of Holden Ford appears in Netflix’s Mindhunter series) the BSU pioneered an approach to understanding the means and motivations of American serial killers through the deceptively-simple method of interviewing them.

The information gained from a variety of America’s most-notorious and prolific killers was used to develop a range of criminal categorisations – the most well-known probably being the idea of organised and disorganised crime scenes and offenders – that could be applied to understand and apprehend “unknown suspects” (or “unsubs” as the phenomenally-successful Criminal Minds TV series, based loosely on the BSU, would have it).

While a range of TV shows – such as Mindhunter and Criminal Minds in America, Cracker and Wire in the Blood in the UK – have developed fictionalised accounts of Criminal Profiling (and Profilers…) how realistic are these representations?

Is Criminal Profiling, as many of the more-sensational TV shows suggest, an almost “magical formula” for identifying and capturing the most serious criminal offenders?

Or do profilers simply provide a “fresh pair of eyes” on evidence and possible offenders that can be used to supplement – and in some cases enhance – conventional police procedures?

Read all about the content…

Sampling Selection

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019

Continuing the clear-out of stuff-I’ve-found-but-never-posted, today’s offering covers sampling techniques (plus a bit on questionnaire design if you’re interested).

Sampling Jelly Babies
Sweet.

The 4 Presentations are from “various authors” (one of whom must remain anonymous for the deceptively-simple, but hopefully-plausible, reason that I’ve no idea who they are) and contain a variety of ideas and information – from time-saving Notes and Diagrams to practical ways to teach sampling (using everyone’s favourite jelly-like sweets).

Click For the Presentations

Education, Achievement and Class

Monday, December 16th, 2019
Click to download PowerPoint file

Another trawl through what I like to think is a carefully selected and curated trove of educational treasure – although some may see it more as a random collection of stuff I’ve picked-up from time to time “because it might be useful” and largely forgotten about – produces this rather large (and then some) PowerPoint Presentation focused on social class and differential educational achievement.

Although I’m not sure where I found it (which, the more-astute reader will probably note, suggests the idea of “careful curation” should be taken with a bucket of salt) and there’s no indication of who produced it, the Presentation it was created around 2010 and runs to 50 slides on all things social class and education (with a strong emphasis, for reasons that will become clear, on theories and theorists).

As you can probably imagine, the Presentation of this size could do with a menu system and if you’ve got the time or inclination that’s easy enough to do (again, this probably tells you I have neither). Alternatively, with a quick slice’n’dice you could chop this down to a lot of smaller Presentations that just focus on the things you want to present / teach.

Although I haven’t changed the text, as such, I have made a few slight presentational changes (such as altering the slide format to 16:9 and tidying-up the text structure) and removed some slides. The author used 3 or 4 slides at the start of the Presentation to introduce a selection of statistics about social class and educational achievement as a way of setting-the-scene for the theoretical explanations covered in the Presentation (on slide 3, the author says “Now that we’ve looked at what’s happening to kids’ results in terms of their social class background, we need to focus on why these patterns persistently occur.”).

These statistics were drawn from the turn of the century and, as such, were seriously outdated. If you use the Presentation, therefore, it’s probably useful to pre-prep your students with a selection of statistical data about contemporary class achievement in education.

Content Overview

Lord of the Rings: Family Revision Quiz

Sunday, December 15th, 2019
Just click to download the file

This simple PowerPoint Quiz, created by Leanne Trinder, uses a Lord of the Rings theme around which to deliver 10 multiple-choice questions on various aspects of family life.

Each question has 3 possible answers and, unusually for a PowerPoint quiz it’s very forgiving of incorrect answers – if you get a question wrong you can just go back and have another try.

The metadata says it was created in 2003, which means it’s either been lurking on my hard drive for a good few years (always a possibility) or it’s something I’ve recently found that just happens to be a little old. I’ve slightly-modified the file by changing the screen dimensions (to 16:9 from 4:3), aligned the multiple-choice answers and corrected the odd spelling mistake. Other than that, the file is as it was originally created.

Either way it’s quite a diverting little revision resource that you can expand and modify to your heart’s content – which you may need to do in order to tailor the questions to your own particular teaching. There may, for example, be writers / studies you don’t teach that may require replacing with those you do teach.

Changing the questions is, however, very simple and straightforward – it just involves adding and removing text.

Adding more questions is a little more complicated but if you know what you’re doing it’s a simple enough process. If you’re not confident messing around with the basic structure, however, just create several copies of the Quiz using different questions – something you can do from scratch if you want to use the format for other areas of the course.

As it stands the resource is aimed at A-level Sociology but there’s nothing to stop you modifying the questions to GCSE level or adding a new set of questions for a different subject entirely.

Types of Cultural Capital

Saturday, December 14th, 2019
Food and types of cultural capital
Food Spaces: The relationship between economic and cultural capital

If you need a short, relatively simple, student-friendly outline / overview of cultural capital this should fit the bill.

Written by Nikki Cole, the article is useful because it breaks the concept down into three easy-to-understand component types:

  • Embodied involves thinking about the cultural capital individuals acquire simply though living – their socialisation, education, experiences and the like. This form of capital is, of course, embedded within the individual (hence the use of the embodied descriptor).
  • Objectified forms of cultural capital are those embodied in the objects we own and use – from the house in which in live, to the objects we own and even the things, like food, we consume.
  • Institutionalised forms involve things like educational achievements and qualifications. These can be seen as symbolic forms of cultural capital whose value, to both individuals and institutions, is that they are validated through some form of institutional measurement and certification.
  • Update

    Cultural Capital PowerPoint.
Click to download
    Click on image to download PowerPoint file

    I’ve now added a simple 3-slide PowerPoint Presentation that gives you the opportunity to display the three types of cultural capital outlined in the article for whole-class teaching.

    The Presentation allows you to display a short piece of illustrative text for each type in turn (or more-or-less simultaneously if you prefer. The choice is yours) at the click of a button.

    You can, of course, add your own text to the Presentation if you don’t like what’s there…

    Gender, Crime and Co-Offending

    Friday, December 13th, 2019
    ShortCutstv Film
    Girls on Film…

    The broad relationship between gender and crime is both well-known and fairly-consistent over time, both in the UK and across the world, and can be summarised in terms of three main ideas:

    1. Men commit more crimes than women. This, as we’ve noted, is consistent across both time (an historical dimension) and place (a cultural dimension). Men – and young men in particular – appear to have a greater involvement than women in criminal behaviour in all societies and at all times.

    2. Men and women commit different types of crime: violent crimes, for example, are much more-likely to be committed by men.

    3. While men generally commit a wide array of crimes – from murder, through fraud, to burglary – female criminality is generally limited to a much more limited range.

    These observations have led to a number of explanations – biological, psychological and sociological – for both higher male criminality and comparatively lower female criminality and if you want to review some of these, this short film featuring Professor Sandra Walklate (Gendering the Criminal) should prove useful.

    And free.

    Alternatively, if you prefer your information in Note form, this document covering Feminist and Left Realist approaches to gender and crime might help.

    Method and Findings

    While there are a wide range of possible explanations for differences in male-female criminality, one general problem is that the majority of these – particularly ones, such as radical feminism or masculinism, that focus on essentialist gender differences – are based on the assumption crime is largely an individual pursuit: offenders, in other words, working alone.

    While this is by no-means unreasonable – as Becker and McCorkel (2011) note, “more than 80% of criminal incidents in America involved individual offenders” – it does mean a not-insignificant percentage of crimes were committed by co-offenders.

    And a proportion of these involved a mix of males and females working together.  As they note, “33% of men and 38% of women participated in co-offending incidents” at some point.

    The question they wanted to test, in this respect, was whether male-female co-offending increased the range of crimes committed by women: if this proved to be the case it would narrow-down the range of possible explanations for female offending by both removing essentialist explanations (the idea, for example, that biological or psychological gender differences explained wider and higher levels of male criminality) and eliminating a range of sociological possibilities – particularly, but not exclusively, those relating to socialisation and social control.

    Using data collected by The National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) that included information about “offenses known to the police, arrests made, victims, and victim–offender relationships for serious offenses and information on a larger set of offenses”, Becker and McCorkel explored if and how working with a male co-offender altered female crime participation. In this respect their analysis concluded:

    Women are represented across a broader array of crimes when they co-offend with men, compared to when they co-offend with women or work alone”.

    More…

    Family Death Rates: The Grandmother Problem

    Friday, November 29th, 2019
    Click to download the Shocking "Grandmother Problem" research.

    While the study of Family Death Rates (FDR) is probably not Number 1 on most people’s list of “Favourite Sociology Topics”,* research by Mike Adams, a biologist at Eastern Connecticut State University, Connecticut, has injected a certain frisson of excitement – and, it must be said, controversy – into a rather dull and theoretically-moribund corner of the Family Specification through his identification of a peculiar and perplexing phenomenon amongst American college students. As he puts it:

    It has long been theorized that the week prior to an exam is an extremely dangerous time for the relatives of college students. Ever since I began my teaching career, I heard vague comments, incomplete references and unfinished remarks, all alluding to the “Dead Grandmother Problem.” Few colleagues would ever be explicit in their description of what they knew, but I quickly discovered that anyone who was involved in teaching at the college level would react to any mention of the concept”.

    Sensing he may have chanced upon a way of getting a hefty grant from his University authorities significant and hitherto-unstudied field of research – one with serious implications for the health, safety and, not-to-put-too-fine-a-point-on-things, longevity of vulnerable family members – Adams did what any self-respecting scientist would do: he reformulated the suspicion into a hypothesis he could test:

    A student’s grandmother is far more likely to die suddenly just before the student takes an exam, than at any other time of year.”

    And test it he did.

    In an equally scientific kind of way.

    And what he found broke a lot of ground.

    Click Here for more Shocking Stuff

    One Pagers

    Wednesday, November 27th, 2019
    Click to download Perspectives One Pager
    Perspectives One Pager

    The basic idea underpinning the concept of a “One Pager” is that it represents a one-page (no, really) response to something.

    Conventionally, given the concept’s origins in literature studies, this a piece of text.

    Somewhat less conventionally, in the context of sociology / psychology we can widen the definition of “text” to include just about anything you want – from a perspective or theory, through a research method to a specific concept you need students to understand.

    In other words, One Pagers are a way of getting students to condense their Notes on a particular topic or idea into a single page – which can, of course, be linked if necessary – that eventually builds into a simple, efficient and well-organised, revision system.

    In order to do this a One Pager needs to have some sort of structure – otherwise it’s just a blank sheet of paper – but what that structure might be is up to you (if you want to provide strong guidance) and / or individual students (if you’re confident enough to allow them to create the different structures that work for them).

    If students are new to the idea – and need a bit of encouragement to adopt it – it might be useful to develop One Page templates together to cover different aspects and types of Note-taking. This can, of course, include various forms of visual Note-taking (pictures, drawings, doodles…) as well as more-conventional text.

    Once students are confident with the idea and happy to use it you may find they develop their own, personal, structures that you can share with students who may be struggling to develop a style of their own.

    How various One Page templates develop will be strongly-influenced by what students are expected to know, the skills they are expected to demonstrate and so forth. In Sociology, for example, “evaluation” is an important skill that can be reflected in Notes that focus on things like the key strengths and weaknesses of a theory, method or perspective.

    In this respect, there are a couple of Template examples I’ve created you might find useful / instructive. I’ve presented these as Word documents (so they’re not pretty and pretty basic) rather than pdf files because most teachers / students will find it easier to edit the former.

    Template Examples

    Media Methods and Representations: The Bechdel Test

    Friday, November 22nd, 2019
    Alison Bechdel's “The Rule” (1985)
    Alison Bechdel’s “The Rule” (1985)

    The Bechdel Test is a very simple type of content analysis, created by Alison Bechdel in a 1985 episode (“The Rule”) of her comic-strip “Dykes to Watch Out For”, that tests how women – and by extension men – are historically represented in Hollywood films.

    Aside from throwing-up, so to speak, some interesting and frankly-quite-surprising results (the Bechdel test web site has a database of films that passed (or more usually, failed), the Test itself is a simple and efficient way to allow students to “do” some Content Analysis in a context that’s easy to arrange and manage.

    In basic terms, ask each student in your class to watch a film of their choice (in their own time…) and, while their watching, record whether or not it satisfies 4 simple criteria:

    1. Does it have at least 2 women in it?

    2. Do they have names (i.e. are they something more than background extras)?

    3. Do they talk to each other?

    4. Is their conversation about something other than men?

    If the answer to any of these questions is “No”, the film fails the test.

    Applying the Test

    Gone in 60 Seconds: video explainers

    Saturday, November 9th, 2019
    Helen Barnard on Debt
    Although this looks just like a WordPress ad for a pay-day money lender, it’s actually not. It’s a 44-second film about debt.

    Helen Barnard, currently Deputy Director of Policy and Partnerships at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, has created a Vimeo Channel (an up-market version of YouTube that we like so much we have our own dedicated ShortCutstv Channel) filled with a number of very short films on and around the topics of poverty and welfare.

    Most of the films (there are currently around 25+) are less than 45 seconds long – although a couple, such as Poverty and Mental Health, run to between two and five minutes – and consist of Barnard speaking directly into her smartphone.

    Although this means the films basically have zero production values – no fancy sets, sounds or graphics – this is actually part of their charm: they’re simply short, pithy, commentaries on key concepts in poverty and welfare delivered by someone who knows what she’s talking about and can speak clearly and confidently to camera.

    As such, they’re both ideal as discussion starters and inspirational as lesson content.

    Students can, for example, finally be encouraged to use their smartphones constructively in the sociology classroom to create similar levels of content: Gone in 60 Seconds video explainers on a range of key concepts, ideas, methods, theories and perspectives they can share using their preferred media of choice.

    Revision Notes Creator

    Monday, October 21st, 2019
    Crime and Deviance Cheat Sheet

    I’ve previously posted about the idea of Sociology and Psychology Factsheets – reasonably short sets of Notes you can either buy “ready-made” from somewhere like The Curriculum Press or, if you’re a bit more adventurous (or short of cash), create yourself using Desktop-publishing software.

    If you’re interested in the latter – but don’t want to get down’n’dirty with the design and creation of your own bespoke Factsheets – Cheatography is an online resource you and your students might find useful.

    Despite the rather provocative name, Cheatography is actually just a contemporary update of the good old-fashioned cheat (or crib) sheet creator – albeit one that has all the bells and whistles (text, graphics, pictures and video) we’ve come to expect as standard in this digital age.

    It’s a means, in other words, of creating (and sharing) sheets of Notes quickly and efficiently that can be stored and viewed online or, if you prefer, saved as a pdf file for personal use.

    The big advantage of the site, apart from the fact it’s free to use (although online Cheat Sheets include advertising – even free has it’s price), is that it makes it easy to create well-structured revision-type Notes (or any other type of Notes, come to that).

    And that’s about it, really.

    How-To Guide

    Attending Church at the Turn of the (20th) Century

    Saturday, October 19th, 2019
    Leaving Church: England c.1900
    Leaving Church: England c.1900

    One of the things about teaching the sociology of religion is that, at various points – from its function and role in society to secularisation theory – you’ll find yourself referring to “religion in the past”.

    And if you want to anchor your observations in something slightly more-solid than an airy wave of the hand behind your shoulder, this bit of film I’ve stumbled across might help.

    It’s around 4 minutes of “people leaving church”; the first 2 minutes focus on a single (unnamed) Church while the final couple of minutes feature people leaving a Church in Hanley, Staffordshire and a parish Church in Sheffield.

    While this, in itself, isn’t particularly interesting, the fact the films date from 1901-1902 should give them a little more resonance – particularly if you use them to illustrate a range of sociological ideas, observations and discussion points about “religion in the past”.

    I’ve noted a few to get you started:

    1. What do the very large numbers of people leaving each Church service tell us about “religious attendance” in the past?

    2. The people leaving the services are, in the main, very well dressed for the time. What does this tell us about both the process of “attending Church” and the class of people for whom Church attendance was important?

    3. Why was Church attendance important to the urban middles classes around the turn of the 20th century?

    4. How do the films provide evidence that an integral part of “Churchgoing” was “to see and be seen” – not just in terms of displaying “religious piety”, but also social status? How might this – and also the film of large numbers of children in a Church parade – be related to Durkheim’s ideas about the function of religion?

    6. Is there any evidence in the films that suggest Churchgoing was as much a social as a religious occasion?

    These questions are, of course, merely indicative – the kinds of questions that popped into my head as I watched the films.

    If you think of any better ones, feel free to let me know.

    Leaving Church: England 1901-1902

    Sociological Detectives: An End Has A Start

    Sunday, October 13th, 2019

    This is a simple, counter-intuitive, teaching technique that can be used to enliven run-of-the-mill lessons (or serve as a quick’n’dirty lesson template when the inspiration for all-singing, all-dancing lessons has temporarily left the room) by reversing the teaching process: instead of starting-at-the-start and gradually revealing more and more information to students, you begin-at-the-end and encourage them to “build backwards” to create an understanding of The Bigger Picture (whatever it was you need them to grasp).

    And if this all sounds a little complicated, an example should clarify things.

    Starting at the Start…

    A conventional way to teach a high-level concept such as “Functionalism” might be to start-at-the-start by identifying a number of key ideas –

  • Organismic analogy
  • Consensus
  • Function
  • Purpose and Needs
  • Social system
  • – and then explaining, illustrating and applying each as necessary to provide a broad overview of this general perspective.

    At various points in the process students can be asked to make contributions, such as answering a question or providing an example, but it can be very easy for them to be relatively passive observers and recorders of your teaching.

    If you want to make your students do a bit more of the work – and who, quite frankly, doesn’t? – there’s a simple way to do this: one that doesn’t involve a lot of additional pre-preparation, gets your students actively involved in their own learning and is the kind of simple lesson template you can reuse as much as you like.

    Because although the process is always the same, outcomes will always be different.

    And rather than just telling students something, you structure your teaching to lead them to discover it for themselves – which sounds as though it might be complicated and involve a great deal of work on your part, but really doesn’t.

    How you achieve all this is, like all good ideas, deceptively simple.

    Continue On To An End Has A Start…

    Talking Points

    Monday, September 30th, 2019

    The basic idea behand Talking Points is deceptively simple: put together a collection of questions and observations cobbled together from a range of sources (Google, Pinterest, my own fetid imagination…) and use them to create a small – but expanding – list of ready-made discussion starters.

    Once created, post them to a Board on Pinterest, sit back and Bob, while not necessarily being your father’s brother, is very definitely related in some way.

    That’s it.

    Really.

    If you’re at a loose end…

    Sociology Video Tutorials

    Sunday, September 29th, 2019
    Functionalism Tutorial
    Functionalism Tutorial

    These short video tutorials are basically a variant on “podcasts with pictures”: a talking head tutor in one corner of the screen explains something while the occasional picture or real-time whiteboard illustration is displayed.

    In other words, the 40+ films available here are relatively simple video lectures of the “listen and learn” variety – which is not necessarily a criticism, merely an observation that this is what’s on offer.

    More tutorials

    Ms. Rives’ AP Psychology Site

    Sunday, September 22nd, 2019
    Go to web site
    Example PowerPoint

    The eponymous Ms. Rives teaches AP (Advanced Placement) Psychology at the delightfully named Harmony School of Ingenuity, a charter school based in Houston, Texas, and she’s created a very handy web site containing all kinds of useful information.

    Whether or not it’s still being updated is, however, a moot point (the site refers to the year 2017 – 2018), but this doesn’t really detract from the fact that there’s a wide range of resources on offer here, from Notes, through PowerPoints to Videos and links to further resources / information. There are even some (slightly dodgy in both quality and intent) scanned book chapters from the Myer’s Psychology for AP 2nd edition textbook.

    For those not familiar with it, American Advanced Placement courses are roughly equivalent to UK A-levels (although probably closer to Year 2 than Year 1 in terms of their overall standard) and the site has resources across a range of areas that will be broadly familiar to UK students and teachers:

    Approaches

    Methods

    Biopsychology

    Learning

    Sensation and Perception

    Abnormal Psychology

    Development

    Consciousness

    Social Psychology

    Personality

    Individual differences

    Cognition

    Motivation and emotion

    As with all such things, how long the site will remain active is anyone’s guess (I may be good, but I’m not that good…) so if you fancy rifling through the resources, I’d be inclined to get ‘em while they’re going.

    Before they…err…go.

    Psychological Studies Extended

    Saturday, September 21st, 2019

    A previous post featured the work of Psychology Teacher Maryam Jabeen and her deconstructions of 20 classic psychological studies that feature as part of the Cambridge International Exam Board’s Psychology Specification.

    As you’ll no-doubt know (because you will have followed the link above – not the CIE one, the 20-studies one) Jabeen stripped these studies back to their methodological bare-bones to produce a range of student-friendly notes on each study, covering things like research method and procedure, plus an evaluation of the strengths an weaknesses of the study.

    Psych Tutor website
    “Basic But Functional”

    If you want to build on this basic nuts-and-bolts work you may find PsychTutor (otherwise known as Mr Hobbiss’ Psychology site, apparently) a useful addition to your teaching portfolio.

    Everyone does have a Teaching Portfolio?

    Right?

    No matter.

    It’s not too late in your career to start one.

    What the site does, in a nutshell, is offer a range of extension activities – assignments, revision questions, further reading and the like – built around and complementing each study.

    You don’t, of course, have to follow each activity slavishly – it’s probably more a question of picking those that fit with your usual teaching style and pinching any ideas that take your fancy.

    Although the site links to an active Twitter account that lists the Psych Tutor website, the Facebook link has expired, as have a number of the external links from the site – which suggests that it’s not currently being updated (the Blog ending abruptly in 2014 probably gives you a clue).

    Psychological Studies Deconstructed

    Friday, September 20th, 2019

    Although this a-level psychology site doesn’t seem to have been updated for a couple of years there’s still plenty here students and teachers will find very useful – particularly, but not exclusively, clear, concise and well-focused notes on a range of classic studies.

    To add to the general air of usefulness the notes on each study have been constructed around a range of standard criteria:

  • Introduction to study
  • Sample
  • Procedure
  • Results
  • Research method/s
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Ethical issues
  • click to see the studies

    One-Minute Interactionism: The Animated Version

    Thursday, September 19th, 2019

    A few months ago we posted an animated version of our One-Minute Strain Theory film and since it generally seemed to get a relatively welcoming reception we thought we’d go ahead with some further conversions of films in the “One-Minute” series.

    This month’s free animated offering, therefore, is a 1-Minute explanation of Labelling Theory that covers the key ideas behind this theory of crime and deviance in around 60 seconds (give or take – and not including the intro and credits).

    These include ideas like: primary deviation, secondary deviation and self-fulfilling prophecies.

    As you may suspect, covering a topic in 60 seconds is really just designed to help students focus on key ideas that can then be explored and developed inside and outside the classroom.

    Update

    If you’d prefer the non-animated version of 1-Minute Interactionism (because it’s a lot less visually weird perhaps?) we’ve now made a version available for your viewing and educational pleasure.

    Not an animation in sight.

    Flipped Classroom Field Guide

    Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

    If you’ve been toying with the idea of flipping – but haven’t yet decided whether or not it’s right for you – this field guide (and associated videos) might help.

    Click to download Field Guide pdf
    Field Guide

    Flipped teaching / learning is one of those ideas that, in principle, should have some mileage for a-level teaching because of the way the course is structured and tested in terms of Assessment Objectives such as:

  • Knowledge and Understanding
  • Application
  • Analysis and evaluation
  • If you’re new to the concept, the basic idea is that in the “traditional classroom” the emphasis tends to be on ensuring students are taught the knowledge they need to complete the course while skills such as application, analysis and evaluation are largely taught outside the classroom: students, for example, will complete homework essays that test these skills and feedback is usually given through written marking and teacher comments.

    The broad argument here therefore is that “traditional” ways of organising teaching and learning mean teachers spend most of their time on an activity (knowledge production) that is generally the easiest skill for students to master and much less of their time on developing skills, such as evaluation, students find much harder to grasp (and which tend to be rewarded more in exams).

    Flipped teaching reverses these practices: knowledge production takes place outside the classroom. Students complete knowledge work (reading, watching filmed lectures and the like) before they come to class. Classroom work then focuses on the skills – analysis, evaluation, application – students find difficult. Teachers spend less of their class time “teaching knowledge” and more of that time – in small groups or one-to-one – teaching and assessing “skills”.

    Read on for guide download and videos

    Are you feeling lucky?

    Saturday, September 14th, 2019
    Well, do you?

    When it comes to Sociology Knowledge Organisers I’m starting to feel like Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry: in all the excitement I’ve kinda lost track of what I have and haven’t posted.

    So, moving quickly past the stuff about “44 Magnum’s” and their undoubted ability to separate parts of your body from other parts, we can go straight to the bit where you’ve got to ask yourself just one question:

    “Do I feel lucky?”

    And if the answer’s “yes” then this small batch of A-level Organisers and Guides from Kate Henney (to add to the GCSE Family and Education Revision Guides I’ve previously posted) should be a very welcome addition to your growing pile. Presupposing you don’t already have them from some other post I’ve forgotten about. In which case, please ignore what follows:

    Family Organiser

    Families includes two types of KO – blank and completed – on:

  • Structures
  • Diversity
  • Nuclear families
  • Alternatives
  • Functions
  • Divorce
  • Changes
  • Education covers the following:

  • Functionalism
  • Marxism
  • Interactionism
  • Types of Schools
  • Social Class
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Question Guide

    Beliefs includes two types of KO – completed and cloze (fill-in-the-gaps):

  • Ideology
  • Religious Change
  • Organisations
  • Social Characteristics
  • Secularisation
  • A-Level Exam Guides – simple overview of question types and how to answer them.

    Key Studies – a list of key names plus a one-line summary of their work for:

  • Families
  • Education
  • Beliefs
  • Crime and Deviance
  • Question Planning Sheet – detailed walkthrough showing how to successfully answer 10 mark education questions.

    The Wider Effects of “Broken Windows”?

    Thursday, September 12th, 2019
    Click to download pdf file

    The impact of so-called “Broken Windows” policing (which invariably turns-out to be an aggressive variant of the policy – Zero-Tolerance Policing (ZTP) – pioneered by New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the New York Police Department commissioner William (Bill) Bratton in the early 1990’s) has been argued over for a good number of years.

    For supporters of the policy it was claimed that ZTP resulted in dramatic falls in both “pervasive” (i.e. relatively minor but persistent misdemeanour crime)  and “headline crime rates” (such as homicide) while critics pointed to the fact these falls seemed to have occurred both across America and in areas where ZTP was not in operation.

    Whatever the truth of the matter, little or no attention has been given to what might be called the “fall-out” from ZTP policies; while their impact on crime might be the subject of heated debate, recent research by Fagin and Legewiea (“Aggressive Policing and the Educational Performance of Minority Youth”, 2019) argues that “the consequences of aggressive policing extend into key domains of social life, with implications for the educational trajectories of minority youth and social inequality more broadly”.

    In this respect they have claimed to demonstrate a causal link between the presence of ZTP in an area and the decline in educational attainment of African American boys (interestingly, there is no correlated fall in African American female attainment, nor that of Hispanic youth generally).

    Their findings, in this respect, are somewhat counter-intuitive in the sense that where neighbourhoods are made safer through the impact of ZTP we would expect to see, at best, improved educational achievement and, at worst, little or no change. This, as they argue, highlights the “hidden costs of aggressive policing programs and suggests that police reformers, policymakers, and researchers should consider these broader implications for assessing the effectiveness of policing.”

    One reason cited for this finding is reduced school attendance (absenteeism) by young African American teenagers during periods of intensive police activity in a neighbourhood. The main drivers of absenteeism, in this respect, appear to have been:

  • a desire and / or need for young African Americans to “stay off the streets” during periods of intense police activity (which itself suggests a belief they would be a primary target for police action)
  • the disruptive effect on families of the arrest of parents / guardians during these periods of activity.
  • In addition, the authors argue that aggressive styles of policing, such as those associated with various forms of ZTP, frequently lead to the development of “frequent and negative interactions with authority figures” and the ensuing sense of discrimination “can undermine educational and potentially other outcomes”.

    Finally, it’s just been pointed-out to me on Twitter that the research offers a really easy way to make synoptic links between Deviance and Education.

    Introducing Sociology: Core Concepts

    Tuesday, September 10th, 2019
    Culture Presentation

    Core Concepts in Sociology was a series of short films on areas like culture, identity and socialisation produced by OnlineClassroom. If you’re interested, the films are still available in various places but since they were originally published in 2007(ish) the technical quality is probably not up to the standards to which we’re now accustomed.

    The content, however, is still sound.

    Which is probably just as well because I’ve managed to dig-out the resources we created at the time to accompany the film. They’re perfectly serviceable, if a little basic…

    The main resources were three PowerPoint Presentations covering:

    1. Culture

    2. Identity

    3. Socialisation

    Although they were originally designed to complement teaching in conjunction with the films there’s nothing here that actually requires students to have watched the films.

    more resources…