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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.

At the time of writing there are around 400 individual posts on the Blog so we’ve included a range of functions (on the bar to the right) to help you find the stuff you want:

• Search Box: if you’re looking for something specific (it’s not very clever so try to Keep It Simple).
• Popular Tags: identifies the most popular keywords used in posts (the larger the word, the more posts there are about it).
• Popular Posts: identifies the post that have had the most views.
• Categories: allows you to filter posts by Sociology, Psychology, Simulations and Toolbox.

Finally, you can use the Subscribe box to be notified by email each time a new post appears on the Blog (we guarantee not to do anything with your email address other than send automatic notifications).

Globalisation and the Digital World: Revision Stuff

Saturday, April 21st, 2018

Colourful PowerPoint Presentation summarising the OCR Globalisation and the Digital World Unit, plus a range of 6 / 9 mark exam practice questions.

It’s somehow typical that you see nothing about this OCR A-Level Sociology Unit for months and then, just as you’ve posted a “6 week course” guide, you stumble across a couple of PowerPoint Presentations that actually complement this quite well.

The first is a Big, Bold and Colourful Revision Presentation by Marc Addison that covers:

• What is the relationship between globalisation and digital forms of communication?
• Developments in digital forms of communication in a global society
• The Marxist Perspective
• The Feminist Perspective
• The Postmodernist Perspective
• The Impact of Digital Communications
• What is the relationship between globalisation and Conflict and Change?
• Cultural homogenisation, hybridity or resistance?

The second is neither Big, Bold nor Colourful because it doesn’t aim to be. It just wants to do its job quietly, efficiently and with the minimum of fuss. So, if you want to give your students some practice 6 and 9 mark questions, based around the PEEL mnemonic, this Presentation should fit the bill nicely.

Globalisation and the Digital World Resource Pack

Friday, April 20th, 2018

A “6 week course”, built around a variety of PowerPoint Presentations and supporting documents, designed to help you teach the Globalisation and the Digital World Unit of the OCR Specification.

I found this set of documents buried on my hard drive the other day and I know very little about where I found it, its creator (J. Ellison who may or may not work at Langley Park School for Boys) or creation (circa 2016). That aside, I do know the title refers to a section on the latest (2017) OCR A-level Sociology Specification called, spookily-enough, “Globalisation and the Digital World”.

More-interestingly, the pack of materials I’ve managed to somehow acquire refers to it being a “6 week course” which, taking this at face-value, means it’s a set of resources and activities specifically designed to teach this section of the course – potentially a huge time-saver, even if you decide to customise the base PowerPoints to the needs of your particular students (you may want / need to do this because some, if not all, of the supporting materials may well be a little too advanced for some students – and then some. The Castells article, for example, is likely to prove well beyond a lot of a-level students so you might want to think about replacing it or summarising it).

The only alterations I’ve made to the original slides are:

1. Removing specific references to textbook pages (because there’s no indication as to which textbook they refer). You may want to edit the PowerPoints to include specific references to the textbook/s you use with your students.

2. Changed YouTube links to play inside the Presentation.

In addition, you may want to add slides containing activities, notes and so forth you currently use in your classes. My way of thinking about this resource is to use it as the base for materials you normally include in your teaching – a basic structure, in other words, around which you can hang whatever resources / activities you normally use / do.

(more…)

A-Level Sociology Revision: 7. Families and Households

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

As with some of the other topics, revision materials for family life are both a bit scarce and a little bit dated, in the sense that where the UK Specs. have recently changed, older revision guides obviously don’t cover the newer additions.

On the other hand, there’s still a strong continuity between the older and newer Specs. (some ideas never grow old – looking at you “1950’s Functionalism and the Family”) so as long as you keep this in mind the various Notes on offer here may prove useful. You also need to note that most of the materials here refer to the AQA Specification, so if you’re following a different Spec. you need to check which areas are – and are not – applicable. There are probably few things worse than getting into an exam room to find that you’ve revised the wrong Specification (this, of course, is a lie. There are a lot worse things).

Also.

If you find yourself in the position of not knowing which Specification you’ve been studying for the past two years then either your teacher has seriously given-up on you or you’ve been mistakenly following the wrong course (Psychology was in Room 101…).

Either way, these Notes aren’t going to help you.

For those of you not in this unhappy situation you should find stuff to aid your revision (particularly if, for whatever reason, you’ve got gaps in your revision notes). I’ve also added a couple of PowerPoints and some Mindmaps to the list, both because I think the latter, in particular, can be a good revision resource and also because I can.

1. Family and Households Revision Booklet (John Williams)
2. Families and Households Revision Guide 2011
3. Families and Households Revision Pack 2016 (S Hickman)
4. Families and Households Revision Booklet 
5. Revision Notes

6. Family Revision PowerPoint
7. The Sociology of the Family PowerPoint (L Ricker)

8. Mindmaps: Feminism | Functionalism | Marxism | Family and Personal Life
9. Spider Diagrams

Culture and Identity PowerPoints

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

To complement the Culture and Identity Revision booklets I’ve assembled a range of PowerPoint Presentations from a variety of sources including some nice little presentations put together by the OCR Exam Board (with accompanying Instruction and Activity booklets).

While the Presentations are probably more-suited to integration into an Introductory Sociology / Culture and Identity teaching session (the Presentations cover areas like culture, socialisation, identity, perspectives and the like), some may have value as a revision tool.

As ever, the Presentations vary in size, complexity and competence (although I’ve tried to weed-out Presentations I didn’t think added much value or which weren’t sufficiently focused on A-Level Sociology). Where known I’ve indicated the author of each Presentation, to whom you should direct any plaudits, questions or brickbats.

1. Culture and Identity (Steven Humphreys)
2. Introductory Concepts (Mark Gill)
3. Social and Personal Identities (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
4. Culture
5. Socialisation
6. Feminism and Patriarchy (Chris Deakin)
7. Class identity (Liz Voges)
8. Primary and Secondary Socialisation
9. Socialisation and Resocialisation (Gobind Khalsa)
10. Class, Gender, Ethnicity (Mark Gill)
11. Social Control (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
12. Culture and Social Identity (Joe McVeigh)
13. Elements of Culture (Rebekah Colbeth)
14. Identity and Hybrid Identities (OCR) | Teacher Instructions | Activity Booklet
15. Culture and Cultural Identity (Jane Lister Reis)
16. Sport and National Identity
17. Culture, Values and Norms (OCR) | Teacher Instructions | Activity Booklet 
18. Culture and Cultural Hybridity (OCR) | Teacher Instructions | Activity Booklet

OCR Topic Exploration Packs

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

Four (or possibly five, depending on how you view it) Introductory Packs on Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism and Postmodernism.

If you use OCR for A-Level Sociology you’ll probably be aware of these Packs covering Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism and Postmodernism. For non-OCR users, however, the Packs could still prove useful because they contain the kinds of general “Introductory” information applicable to most UK Exam Boards and general sociology courses elsewhere.

Each Pack uses the same basic format: a series of “Tasks” designed to introduce the “domain assumptions” of each perspective and, in some instances, relate them, with varying levels of effort and success, to an interpretation of different aspects of culture and identity.

The Packs are split into two sections; one has questions with suggested answers, the other has the same questions minus the answers. If you want your students to complete the Tasks digitally (i.e. they can wordprocess their answers) you will need to edit the document to delete the answer section. Oddly, the Marxism Pack just has Tasks minus suggested answers (there is a separate pdf version with suggested answers).

When all’s-said-and-done the Packs are really just a set of simple worksheets trying quite hard to pretend they’re not worksheets – but they’re colourful, nicely put together and most-importantly, free. So, if you ignore all the guff about “formative” and “summative” assessment (I get the impression the authors’, in the main, did just that) what you have are some simple resources that could be easily and effectively introduced into the classroom.

The resources have their faults, both in terms of design and in some instances content (although I couldn’t see anything particularly major – my main gripe is a reference to “Interpretivism” rather than “Interactionism”). The 4 packs also vary quite considerably in quality, with the Feminism Pack probably being the weakest overall. There is also, strangely given the structure / action references throughout, little or nothing on the latter. On balance, however, I’d say the Packs are worth having.

Whether or not OCR have any plans to extend the resources I’ve no idea, but based on past performance they tend to start out with a Big Idea and then signally fail to carry it through. On this basis I’d say get these resources while you can:

Functionalism

Marxism (Student Activity Pack)

Marxism: Although they have different names the only difference between this and the “activity pack” is that this includes “suggested answers” to task questions and is a pdf rather than a Word file (although, having said that, a few of these “answers” are missing for some reason). Otherwise they are identical in terms of content, save for some introductory text that explains how to use the materials. Unfortunately, a conversion error makes one page unreadable in this version, so if you want a pdf version (minus the Introduction) you will need to convert the Word version.

Postmodernism

Feminism

Culture and Identity: The Erasmus+ Project

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Although I’m not exactly sure what the Erasmus Project was – it seems to have come to an end in 2017 – but from what I can make out from its web site it appears to have been a collaborative project between non-profit organisations in England, Poland and Slovakia designed to create and distribute resources to young people to promote multiculturalism.

These resources consist of six “scenarios” or Study Packs containing suggestions for a range of mini-lectures, activities – from how to create a Mind Map or Infographic to methods for activating student discussions – and simple games.

The materials are based around a series of lesson plans designed to explore different areas and aspects of “multiculturalism” and while a-level sociology teachers probably won’t want to follow the plans precisely, there are bit and pieces that could be usefully extracted and integrated into lessons related to culture and identity.

While nothing in the resources is going to radically change the way you teach, they might give you a few ideas to contemplate.

Or indeed pinch.

I’m going for the latter.

Probably.

1. Multiculturalism: What is it?

2. Culture vs cultural identity

3. Equality vs Diversity

4. Human Rights

5. From conflict to consensus

6. Multicultural labour market

Sociology Revision Booklets: 6. Culture and Identity

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

Somewhat surprisingly, at least to me, there seems to be a positive dearth of Culture and Identity related revision material, at least of the Word / Pdf variety (PowerPoint users seem much better served). Why that should be I don’t know but I have managed to find a few resources you and your students might find helpful:

1. Revision Checklist (K.Birch): I’ve included this because it’s one of the few revision resources I’ve been able to find for the OCR Board and while it’s not particularly exhaustive it does provide a list of key concepts, some simple practice questions and some sample exam-type questions for each topic in the Culture and Identity module.

2. Sociological Perspectives: Some quite extensive notes dedicated to different types of sociological perspective.

3. Culture and Identity: This is another set of paged Notes by Mark Gill that I’ve collated into a single document for the convenience of everyone involved. I’ve kept it as a Word document so that you can easily separate-out sections if you want to give your students Notes on a specific topic. As ever with these Notes there’s quite extensive coverage of a range of areas: socialisation, perspectives, identities and globalisation.

4. Culture, Socialisation and Identity: This combines short Notes focuses on the concept of culture with simple student exercises

5. Culture, Identity and Agents of Socialisation: Short Notes mainly aimed at illustrating the relationship between different identities (gender, age, ethnicity, etc.) and different agencies of socialisation.

6. Facebook and the Presentation of Self: This is an article originally published in Sociology Review (2017) that uses the example of Facebook to illustrate arguments about structure and action. While it’s not exactly a revision piece it might help students clarify this relationship if they need it. It also looks at how personal and social identities relate to structure and action.

Raised Without Gender

Friday, April 13th, 2018

Culture and Identity is an important part of the a-level sociology specification for a number of Boards and this 30-minute film might be a good way to get your students thinking about both cultural norms generally and gender / sexual identities in particular.

The film looks at the idea of “gender neutrality” through the lens of a series of gentle interviews and observations with families and in kindergartens in Sweden, a society that has arguably gone furthest down the gender neutral route.

Although it mainly focuses on the adults and children who have, by-and-large, embraced the concept of non-binary gender, a contrary view is provided by psychiatrist David Eberhard.

The piece lends itself quite nicely to flipped teaching. Your students can watch it outside the classroom and can then be prepared for any work you decide to do on this area inside the classroom.

Psychology Students YouTube Channel

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

I came across this Channel after following a Twitter link to one of its videos (Experimental Design in Psychology – well worth a watch if you’re interested in knowing more about Independent Groups, Repeated Measures or Matched Pairs designs).

Overall, the Channel offers three types of video:

1. “To Camera” video lectures, which although quite long at times held my attention through a mix of presenter and on-screen graphics. Since this is (quite literally judging from the setting) a home-made affair the camera angle, lighting and cutting are a little suspect, but I’ve seen a lot worse and they don’t detract from what’s being taught.

2. Screencasts that consist of a series of static, narrated, text and graphics. These work well and the technical limitations (sound is always a problem with this type of presentation) aren’t too intrusive.

3. Short, To Camera explanations of different types of variables that have been “SnapChat” filtered in a way that is, quite frankly, scary. As some sort of weird experimental films these might have had some currency; as video lectures I think the best that can be said here is that the medium definitely obscures the message. And then some. I may have nightmares.

Despite this – and there are only three such films on the Channel to avoid – there’s a lot of useful, well-presented, A-level Psychology information here.

And it’s all free.

Education PowerPoints: Part 2

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Part 2 of the Education Presentations gives you more of the same, only less of it.

More PowerPoints, in other words, but fewer of them than in Part 1.

Most of these are fairly straightforward “Teaching Presentations” but some contain YouTube videos (again, I’ve converted the links so they will play directly inside the Presentation) and one, the Social Class revision exercise, is a simple “sift-and-sort” activity designed to help students clarify “inside” and “outside” school factors in class differential achievement.

The Presentations, in no particular order:

1. Marketisation (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
2. Social Class – revision exercise
3. Ethnicity and Achievement (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
4. Material Deprivation (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
5. Anti-School Subcultures (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
6. Feminist / Postmodernist Perspectives (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
7. The Purpose of Education

Education PowerPoints: Part 1

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Alongside the Revision Guides I seem to have collected a large number of Education PowerPoints that, while not explicitly geared towards revision, could be used in this way. Alternatively, they could just be used as part of your normal classroom teaching.

The Presentations are by a mix of authors (where known) but the majority are by Leigh Rust-Ashford, so they have the same “look and feel” and follow a similar format – clear teaching points, a few questions and simple exercises, a couple of illustrative YouTube videos (the only changes I’ve made to the files, apart from deleting dead links, is to format the video links so they use the PowerPoint video player) and so forth.

I’ve split the Presentations into two parts, in no particular order:

1. Meritocracy
2. Functionalism (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
3. Interactionism (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
4. Organisation of Education
5. Postmodernism4. organisation-of-the-education-system (N Sharmin)
6. Working Class Culture and Achievement (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
7. Locality and Achievement (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
8. Gender and Achievement (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
9. Class and Achievement (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
10. Postmodern education (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
11. Marxism (Leigh Rust-Ashford)

Sociology Revision Booklets: 5. Education

Monday, April 9th, 2018

Another day, another set of A-level revision booklets.

This time, as you may have guessed from the title, it’s the turn of Education with 5 resource packs of varying length, depth and complexity for your revising pleasure. Where known I’ve identified the author and, as ever, most are AQA with the odd-sop thrown in the direction of OCR.

Again, as ever, you need to check the Spec. you’re using to ensure you’re not revising stuff that’s no-longer relevant (probably not a sentence anyone should ever have to write, but what the heck). Where possible I’ve kept the materials in Word format because that makes editing them easier for everyone.

The materials are mainly Notes – some very comprehensive, some a bit more revision-friendly – with a few questions thrown in for good measure. (more…)

The Sociological Detectives: Hiding in Plain Sight

Friday, April 6th, 2018

In this third outing in the Research Methods series, the Sociological Detectives investigate Overt Participant Observation through a simple piece of hands-on research.

This PowerPoint Presentation – the 3rd in the Research Methods series (the others being The Research Process and Non-Participant Observation) – combines a hands-on approach to doing Overt Participant Observation with a classroom-based evaluation of the method.

Students take-on the role of Sociological Detectives which, in this instance, means they are set “a Task” to complete (it’s probably no great secret that this involves doing a simple bit of Overt Participant Observation) outside of class time.

Students can then use their (brief) experience of using the method to inform the evaluation work they then do inside the classroom.

While actually doing the Observation is not essential (the Task Options document that outlines some suggestions for how the Observation might be carried-out includes a simple Thought Experiment option for classrooms where, for whatever reason, students can’t physically carry-out this type of observational research) it does, I think, represent a useful teaching and learning device.

It is, in this respect, a relatively simple – and hopefully interesting – way for students to bring their personal experiences to bear on the more-theoretical aspects of sociological research. (more…)

The Sociological Detectives: BOLO

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

In this research methods simulation students take on the role of Sociological Detectives to investigate formal and informal norms using non-participant observation.

In the second simulation in the Research Methods series – the first, Trial and Error,  introduced the Research Process – students again take-on the role of Sociological Detectives. This time, however, they are investigating and evaluating a specific research method, Non-Participant Observation and the simulation offers two ways to do this

1. Field research involves students actually carrying-out a short – typically 30-minute – observational study of their choice (although they are encouraged to check its appropriateness and safety with you). Once you have accepted their choice this is something they should be able to complete outside the classroom, in their own time. The remaining part of the sim – evaluating non-participant observation as a research method – can then be completed in class time when you’re available to provide help and assistance if necessary.

Alternatively, you can run the sim as a whole-class exercise by looking at the respective strengths and weaknesses of non-participant observation as a class, with individual students able to illustrate key ideas with examples drawn from the observation they’ve done.

(more…)

Office Online: For Free (and Quite Legal)

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

The free version of Microsoft’s Office Suite may have a reduced functionality when compared to the desktop version but for “no money” it has to be a bit of a bargain for both teachers and students.

While applications like Word and PowerPoint are probably staples of any teaching toolkit, they can be expensive, even when you take into account the various “Teachers and Students” discount versions of the Office Suite currently available: “Office Home & Student 2016 for PC”,
for example, can set you back around £90 for access to just 4 programs (Word, PowerPoint, OneNote and Excel).

For a-level students this cost can be prohibitive, which may go some way to explaining the plethora of cheap “Word” clones on the market and the popularity of free online apps like Google Docs.

Another problem if, like me, you prefer to use desktop versions of these apps, is their lack of portability. If you want to move your work freely and easily across different platforms it’s a real pain because you don’t have access to online versions of programs like Word or PowerPoint.

Microsoft’s “solution” is Office 365 – the online version of their Office Suite. Once again, however, this is expensive. Office 365 Home will set you back around £80 per year for the privilege of access to the above four apps plus:

• Publisher (Microsoft’s expensive, Very Ordinary and Just-A-Little-Bit-Clunky DTP).
• Outlook (an email client that has better and cheaper (i.e. free) competitors such as Mozilla Thunderbird) and
• Access (a very good database but, be honest, how often do you use a database in your everyday teaching / learning?). (more…)

Psychology Studies Mat

Monday, March 26th, 2018

Neat Notes!

The idea for Psychology Study Mats came to me while idly browsing Pinterest and chancing upon Emily’s blog.

I was initially struck by what may well prove to be some of the neatest and well-organised Psychology Notes I’ve ever seen and while exploring further I came across an interesting idea in the Printables section: a Study Template students use to summarise the studies they need to know in detail.

The Template, however, is in pdf format and I guess the basic idea is to print the file (hence Printables – very little gets past me) and complete it by hand. Alternatively, it’s possible to enter text directly into the Template using something like the Acrobat Reader, but personally I find this a clunky method, particularly if there’s a lot of text to position and enter.

So, while the basic structure and content seemed sound, I thought I might be able to add something to the Template by adapting it slightly to fit it the format I used for the PowerPoint-based Sociology Learning Mats I’d previously developed: (more…)

More Criminal Pages

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

If you’ve been following the saga of the crime resources put together by the University of Portsmouth you’ll know that when I first started posting these I had to link directly to each page in a set of resources because the menu that bound everything neatly together was “missing” (in the sense that “I couldn’t initially work out where it was hiding” rather than the sense of it having disappeared, never to be seen again). This, as you’ve probably discovered, was a bit of a pain.

• For those of a non-technical disposition, or who couldn’t care less about such things, skip the next paragraph.

• For those of a technical disposition, the site used a Frames set-up where a menu in one window used javascript to change the appearance of a second, related, window. Because each window has its own unique Url, this meant it was possible to address each page individually outside of the menu system. What should have been coded into the pages was an instruction that if the frameset was “broken” (i.e. an individual window within the frameset was directly addressed) this page should have been forced back into the original frameset. For some reason, the pages weren’t coded this way, hence the problems I encountered.

Since I knew there must be a menu system somewhere it was just a matter of being able to find it and, after a bit of detective work, I did – at least for some of the individual chapters. I’m still convinced that “somewhere” there is a main menu that details all the materials in the complete resource and that, if I could find it, it would just mean posting a single link. However, since I haven’t found it I can’t, so if you want to review the following crime resources you’ll have to use the individual links.

This is not as bad as it might sound, however, because each of the following categories includes a number of pages that a-level students should find useful. Although the resources don’t seem to have been designed for a-level, per se, they seem broadly fine for a-level sociology students.

You may find some duplication with these resources and some of the other resources in this series that I’ve posted.

This mean I either thought it might be useful to have all the related material in one place or I can’t remember what I’ve previously posted and can’t be bothered to check.

How you interpret this probably says a lot more about you than it does about me…

(more…)

Sociology Revision PowerPoints: Crime and Deviance

Saturday, March 24th, 2018

The second part of the Crime and Deviance Revision series (the first, if you missed it,  involves revision booklets) is devoted to a range of PowerPoint Presentations that I’ve collected from various places. Just have a look at the document properties if you want to know who created them.

The quality of the Presentations is “variable” at times so it’s probably a case of having a look at any that take your fancy to see if they’re something you can use. You also need to keep in mind the date when some of these were created (again, just check the document properties).

Although most of the Presentations are just a relatively simple mix of text and graphics, some include links to YouTube videos (which you can, of course, edit accordingly if you want) and some are a little more interactive in terms of their content (posing questions, setting short exercises and the like).

Although I’ve signposted the Presentations as a revision resource there’s no reason why you couldn’t incorporate some of these into your everyday teaching if you like to use PowerPoint. They can, of course, be edited to your particular requirements.

The Presentations (all 25 of them…) are as follows:

(more…)

Sociology Revision Booklets: 4. Crime and Deviance

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

As you might expect, given its status as one of the most-popular a-level sociology options, when it comes to revision resources for crime and deviance both teachers and students are rather spoilt for choice.

I’ve decided, therefore, to split this post into two parts (probably – there may be more): the first (this one) has a range of Word / Pdf resources aimed at students, while the second focuses on PowerPoint resources teachers are more-likely to find useful for delivering revision lessons.

As ever, if you decide to use these resources you need to check:

• the Specification: is it the one you’re following?
• the date: has the Spec. you’re using been updated since these resources were created?
• the content: even if you’re following a different Spec., there may well be a fair bit of information crossover which means revision material produced for one Spec. may still be useful in the context of another.

Once you’re happy with this, I’ve found what I think are a number of useful revision resources:

(more…)

Sociology Revision Booklets: 3. Mass Media

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

The third in our occasional series covering free revision resources on the web looks at the Mass Media (as you’ve probably guessed from the title).

The number of resources is substantially less than previous offerings on Theory and Methods and Beliefs in Society but what they lack in number is more than made-up for by the depth of their content.

Possibly.

I may just have been making that up.

Anyway, you can see for yourself by downloading any, or indeed all, of the following:

1. Media Revision Pack [Word version | Pdf version]: Although I’ve called this a Revision Pack (because that’s what it is…) it wasn’t originally created in that form. Rather, it’s an amalgam I’ve put together of a range of media revision documents, authored by Mark Gill, that cover:

• Ownership and Control
• New Media
• Representations
• Audiences
• Social Construction of News

Part of the reason for making the Pack available in different formats is that if you’d prefer to break the document down into its constituent parts it’s a fairly simple job to do this in Word. It’s possible to do this with a pdf document but that would mean faffing around with software that splits pdf files and you’re probably much too busy to bother with stuff like that.

The Notes themselves are coherent and competent, with good coverage of the major Specification areas (although it’s aimed at AQA there are parts that apply to other Specifications). (more…)

Your Own Personal (YouTube) Examiner: Part 2

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

A couple of months ago I posted about TeacherSociology’s YouTube Channel and its AQA exam technique videos and on the basis that if, in these testing times, you just can’t get enough of Sociology Examiners (particularly Senior Examiners – I’m not altogether sure what the difference between these and Non-Senior examiners might be, but I’m sure it must be Important) walking your students through exam papers, Mr Blackburn’s new YouTube Channel does exactly that.

The format is a simple screencast focused on an on-screen exam paper, with Mr Blackburn highlighting, annotating and talking you through the questions. This includes:

• how to decode exam questions

• exactly what the examiner is asking you to do for each question

• how to write high mark answers that covers everything required by the examiner.

At the time of posting there are two screencasts available, each lasting for around 15 minutes:

1. AS Paper 1 (Education) , covering all the questions.

2. A2 Paper 2 (Global Development), covering both 10 and 20 mark questions.

If you’re teaching or studying either of these AQA Sociology Units, this Channel is well worth a little of your time.

The Extent of Crime and How It’s Measured

Monday, March 19th, 2018

Another trawl through the Crime and Deviance pages from the University of Portsmouth reveals this set covering, in the main, the measurement of crime through official statistics.

The information in the pages is generally short (or, if you prefer, to-the-point) and gives the impression that either they’d run out of money, couldn’t really be bothered or just couldn’t find that much interesting and / or useful to say on the topic.

Having said that, some of the pages may be a useful starting-point for a-level students. (more…)

Why Don’t More People Commit Crimes?

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

In a world where most theoretical approaches to crime either focus on the socio-psychological backgrounds of criminals (most conventional criminology), the social contexts in which crime plays-out (labelling theory) or a combination of the two (radical criminology), one particular strand of criminology stands-out because it focuses less on trying to understand and explain why a minority of people commit crime and more on understanding and explaining why most people do not.

Control theories are, in this respect, a little different to most conventional forms of criminology and this set of pages from the University of Portsmouth looks at different aspects of this general perspective on crime through the work of different writers working in this tradition. In this respect it’s worth noting two things:

1. Control theories have a relatively long and persistent tradition – going back to the 19th century at least – in the explanation of crime and deviance.

2. The broad theoretical sweep of the general theory – explaining why most people obey laws and rules – means it has been interpreted in different ways by different writers, a diversity of opinion reflected in the following pages:  (more…)

Quick Quizzing

Friday, March 16th, 2018

This simple ungraded quiz idea, one that can be used to test how much your students have actually understood by the end of a teaching session, has been adapted from (or, if you’re a stickler for accuracy, shamelessly half-inched) the University of Waterloo’s “Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE)”.

The reason I don’t feel bad about this – apart from the fact I am literally without shame – is that the idea itself just a simple variation on the Exit Ticket quizzes popular in American – and increasingly UK – schools and colleges.

Be that as it may, like all good ideas it’s very simple and although it will involve a little more preparation than some other forms of feedback the information gathered will be worth the extra effort.

The basic idea here is that, near the end of each class, students take a short quiz designed to test, at a very basic level, how much they’ve understood about the work they’ve just done. You should, however, make it clear that the test is diagnostic: its purpose is to inform your teaching not to grade your students with passes and fails (which is why the CTC calls the quizzes ungraded tests).

The only interest you have in their answers is to help you understand what parts of the lesson were clearly understood and which aspects may need more work or explanation. The test is just a simple way to do this while everything is still fresh in their minds (or not, as the case may be). (more…)

Further Five-Minute Feedback

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Whatever teaching methods you use it’s not always easy to know whether your crystal-clear, carefully-crafted, teaching has actually been understood by all of your students.

This is something I’ve previously addressed with the original Five-Minute Feedback Form that allows you to quickly and efficiently collect some very simple, useful, information about the most important things students think they’ve learnt during a class.

One drawback with this Form, however, is that although it can be used to inform your teaching – are students taking-away from a class the most important points you’ve made about a topic and, if not, what can I do about it? – the format means you can’t easily explore deeper questions:

• What are my students learning?
• What are they not learning?
• Does my teaching always have clarity?
• How could something be taught better?
• What could students do to improve their understanding?
• What teaching techniques do my students like?
• What teaching techniques don’t my students like?

To remedy this omission, the Further Five-Minute Feedback Form – an idea I’ve adapted slightly from “The One-Minute Paper” developed by the University of Waterloo’s “Centre for Teaching Excellence” – lets you ask different types of questions depending on the specific feedback you want for each lesson.

• On some occasions you might want to ask a direct question to test student understanding (“What did you not understand in this lesson?” or “Was there anything in the lesson you found confusing?”). For this type of question where you might need to do some follow-up teaching with individual students, there is space on the form for them to add their name.

• At other times you might want to ask more general questions (“How could the lesson have been improved?) that don’t require students to identify themselves by name.

The Further Feedback Form follows much the same general principle as the original Form: you set-aside 5 minutes at the end of each class to allow sFurther Feedback tudents time to think about and complete the Form.

While it’s possible to use both Forms at the same time this is probably too much to ask of your students – and having to sift through a lot of feedback at the end of each class probably defeats the objective of the exercise.

If you keep the time students spend giving feedback to a minimum, a short, regular and expected session that closes the class for example, you’re more-likely to get honest and useful responses – particularly if your students can see you listening to and acting on their feedback. (more…)

Leave Nothing to Chance: An Education Simulation

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

“Leave Nothing to Chance” is, unless I’m very much mistaken (and I probably am), my first real attempt at a “proper classroom simulation”.

I’d like to say I’m excited about it, but when all’s-said-and-done it’s only a simple simulation.

On the other hand, I very much hope you like it, use it, develop it and share it.

Not necessarily in that order, but you probably get the idea.

Aside from this, if you need a bit of convincing about the content, the sim is designed to illustrate differential educational achievement and uses the mechanism of a lottery – or to be more-precise, a series of Key Stage lotteries – to explore how differences in achievement are, for sociologists, the result of material and cultural factors that occur both inside and outside the school.

The lotteries, although a central feature of the game (there can only be one winner. Unless you decide otherwise), are the device through which students are encouraged to explore, with your help, direction and guidance (you know, the teaching stuff), how and why different social groups achieve differently in the education system. They are, in other words, the glue that holds the lesson together.

(more…)

Sociology Sim: An Exercise in Inequality

Friday, March 9th, 2018

As you may have gathered, I rather like simulations and this is another one I’ve found that can be added to the expanding list.

This particular one was created by Chris Andrews and is interesting, at least to me, because its focus on social inequality means it has applications right across the sociological spectrum; you can use this sim just about anywhere you need to illustrate structured social inequality.

Apart from its flexibility, it satisfies what Andrews’ calls four criteria for running a successful in-class exercise. A sim should:

• be simple and easy to learn,
• sensitise students to central motifs or aspects of sociology versus specific theories or methods,
• involve minimal preparation and resources
• be usable within one-hour length class periods or less.

You can, if you want, download the original article containing the full documentation for the sim that:

• Provides a general overview of and rationale for the sim
• Describes how to run the game
• Includes a debate and debrief section that explores how the sim can be used to illustrate different aspects of structured social inequality.

Alternatively, if you just want to view the instructions for running the sim and view some short Notes I’ve added about using the sim to illustrate and discuss structured social inequality in the context of Education, I’ve created a short booklet for just this purpose…

 

Psychology Learning Tables | 5

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any Psychology Learning Tables (Knowledge Organisers by any other name) so I thought I’d make a start on the backlog I’ve collected so far (if you want to see the previous Tables you can find them here).

If you’re unfamiliar with the format, Learning Tables are used to summarise a section of the course onto a single sheet of A4 (although some Tables do take minor liberties with this basic format). While the general focus is, as the name suggests, “knowledge” many of these tables interpret this quite widely to include examples, applications and evaluation.

Which, as far as I can see, is Quite A Good Thing.

If you’re not as convinced – or you want to edit the information contained in each Table to your own particular teaching and learning preference – I’ve left the Tables in Word format for your editing pleasure.

Slavishly following the precedent I foolishly set for myself, this next batch of Tables are in no particular order other than alphabetical:

(more…)

Sociology Revision Days with Dr Steve Taylor

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Crime & Deviance: updated to 21st Century

Dr Steve Taylor, University of London & ShortCutstv

Examiners reward students for writing about contemporary society but there are very few examples of contemporary theory & research on crime in the textbooks. This Workshop aims to fill that gap by linking the ‘familiar’ with the new.

Approaches to Crime & Deviance: Key theories & concepts, consolidated, compared & evaluated.

New Research: clear, easy to understand, up to date research examples to illustrate approaches.

Globalisation & Crime: green, organised & state crime made accessible & illustrated with up to date examples.

Theory & Method: simplified & illustrated.

Handouts: include concise summarises of research examples used.

Exam technique guidance, including introducing newer material into exam questions.

Brand new free video “Sociological Theories of Crime” included.

What Teachers say
Our students came away inspired and were talking about the session for the rest of the year
David Gunn, Camden School
Excellent Day. He brings in contemporary evidence and great links to exam skills
Ann-Marie Taylor, Coleg Cambria
The students loved it. I’d recommend Steve to any teacher wanting to organise a revision day.
Ian Luckhurst, Bridgewater College

Cost (inclusive & regardless of no. of students):
Day: £500
Half Day £300

For more information:
Email: steve@shortcutstv.com
Call: 07771-561521

Issues & Debates in Psychology

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Issues & Debates in Psychology

with Dr Steve Taylor, University of London & ShortCutstv

Issues & Debates is a key topic on both AQA & OCR & it’s also a great ‘transferable skill’.
This workshop uses an approach, developed over several years, that helps students’ with understanding, comparing, applying & evaluating Issues & Debates.

Clarifies the more difficult questions, such as:

• How can I illustrate the interaction between Nature & Nurture?
• What is Free Will/Determinism really about?
• When can & can’t Reductionism be used as a critique?
• What is Socially Sensitive Research?
• What is an ethical issue?
• And many more…

Exam guidance and practice for both specific questions & the opportunities for bringing Issues & Debates into a range of other questions.

Handouts summarise key up-to-date illustrative research studies.

Free Revision Videos on Issues & Debates provided for each topic.

What Teachers Say
Steve was engaging and had students’ attention the whole time. He gave them a different perspective that will enhance their essays and hopefully boost exam grades.
Priya Bradshaw Aquinas College

He was incredibly engaging. Definitely booking again!
Amy Speechley St Gregory’s College

Steve’s visit was loved by all the students and it enthused them to want more. A big thank you!
Sue Martin Farnham College

The workshop material was excellent, with studies that both illustrated the positions in the debates and really developed students’ understanding.
Rachel Hume Edgbarrow School

Cost (inclusive & regardless of number of students)
Half day: £300
Full day: £500

For more information:
Email: steve@shortcutstv.com
Call: 07771-561521

Beat The Bourgeoisie: A Simulation

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

Long-time readers of this blog may recall that around 18 months ago I posted a series of sociology simulations, under the general title “7 Sims in 7 Days”, one of which, Cards, Cakes and Class, focused on giving students a physical taste of social inequality. However, while I like the basic ideas underpinning the sim, it suffers from two major problems:

1. It takes a lot of time, effort and space to set-up and run.

2. It mainly focuses on economic inequality to the detriment of other dimensions of class inequality – specifically, cultural and social capital. While the former is, of course, an important dimension of inequality, students need to understand, discuss and, in this instance, experience other dimensions of inequality.

If you liked the basic idea behind “Cakes and Class” (and who doesn’t like to see their students suffer in the name of Education?) but were prevented from running the sim because you couldn’t commit to everything involved in setting it up, you might be interested in this variation by Dawn Norris (Beat The Bourgeoisie: A Social Class Inequality and Mobility Simulation Game). While it covers much the same area as Cakes and Class it does so in a way that’s:

1. Easier to set-up and run: you just need two groups of students and some questions.

2. Quicker to carry-out: Norris suggests the simulation itself should run for around 30 minutes, (with as much time as you like after for a discussion of content and outcomes).

(more…)

Sociology Revision Booklets: 2. Theory and Methods

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

The second batch of a-level revision booklets covers that ever-popular topic, theory and methods.

As with previous offerings, both design and content can, at times, be a little variable and for this I take no responsibility whatsoever. Because I neither designed nor wrote any of the content. I am technically distributing it for your revision pleasure, however, so I do feel a modicum of responsibility for the materials.

Not enough, obviously, to indemnify you in any way, shape or form for any losses you may occur through using any of these resources. But enough to advise you it’s something of the nature of the beast that there’s frequently a trade-off between getting your hands on free resources and the currency of those resources. You need, in other words, to go through the resources you decide to use to check they conform to your current Specification: things, as they are wont to do, sometimes change. You also need to make sure you find ways of covering newer material that may not be included in these revision booklets.

That said, I’ve picked out some resources I think you might find useful and, where known, I’ve credited the appropriate source. Some might say this is so you know who to complain to if there’s anything you don’t like or understand but I would respond that it does you no credit to think that I might think like that. Or something.

Anyway, without further ado, you can if you so choose pick-up these free resources:

(more…)

Knowledge Organiser Updates

Monday, March 5th, 2018

For those of you who just can’t get enough of free Knowledge Organisers, Learning Tables or Activity Mats, here’s a quick update on new materials.

The Hectic Teacher has added 30 new Beliefs in Society “Topic Summary Sheets” to the existing KO’s on Education, Family and Crime. This is for the AQA Specification, but a lot of the information can be applied to OCR, Eduqas or CIE (but this will obviously involve a bit of work on your part…).

These are all in pdf format but if you contact her and ask nicely they should be available as PowerPoint slides that can be edited to your particular lesson requirements.

Miss C Sociology on the other hand has been busy producing a new range of Organisers for both

A-level (Socialisation, culture and identity, Research Methods, Researching inequality, Globalisation and the digital world, Crime and deviance – all aimed at the OCR Specification but, once again, there is a degree of information cross-over with other Specs.) and GCSE (Key Concepts, Families and Households added thus far, with many more promised).

These are all available as PowerPoint Slides should you want to edit them in any way.

More GCSE Sociology Revision Stuff

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

While it’s possible to put-together a very reasonable – and reasonably comprehensive – set of revision resources from stuff that teachers have put on the web, there are a couple of things you should do before committing yourself to using these materials:

1. Check they are for your Specification – you don’t want to be revising the wrong Spec.

2. Check the Specification year / series to which they refer, particularly if it’s changed recently (over the past year or so). In other words, check the resources cover the newer required material and exclude older, newly-irrelevant material, from your revision.

Guides

These comprehensive resources combine things like notes, activities and advice and generally cover a number of different areas of the GCSE Specification. Three I’ve found are worth a look:

1. Whole Course Revision 2018: This is a serious, 100-page, GCSE Revision Guide, put together by Ian Goddard, that covers:

• Introducing Sociology
• Research Methods
• Family
• Education
• Crime and Deviance
• Social Inequality
• Power and Politics

Unlike a lot of the previous GCSE resources I’ve posted [link] this is primarily a revision schedule rather than a simple list of revision notes (although these are also included). In this respect the Guide covers:

• How to revise
• Revision schedule
• Personal Learning Checklist [link]
• Basic study notes to supplement other reading (the Guide refers to “Collins Revision GCSE Sociology” but if you don’t use this text substituting your usual textbook will be fine)
• Keywords
• How to answer questions
• Past question practice

2. Sociology Revision Guide: Although not as ambitious or comprehensive as the above – the focus is on key terms and Notes covering Methods, Family and Education, plus a short section in exam advice – this Guide by Debbie McGowan is nicely designed and makes a welcome addition to your revision armoury. Presupposing you have one. If not, you can start one with this.

3. Revision Guide for Students: A nicely-designed and cleanly laid-out hyperlinked pdf by Jonathan Tridgell that covers:

• Research Methods
• Socialisation, Culture and Identity
• Family
• Education
• Mass Media

While the focus is on brief revision notes the Guide also includes information on:

• Course structure
• Exam technique
• Revision Tips.

(more…)

GCSE Revision Booklets

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

As with A-level Sociology, I’ve previously posted some links to GCSE Revision Guides and Resources over the past year or so, since when I seem to have picked-up a whole slew of guides and resources that I though it would be good to post.

So here’s the first batch of 10. They’re all in pdf format and I can take no credit (nor indeed blame) for the style and content – it’s a bit of a Curate’s Egg I’m afraid – but there’s something useful in all of them:

Sociology Revision Guide: Mainly brief Notes covering the Inequalities in Society Options, but with a useful section at the end where “Sample GCSE Essays” are analysed and annotated.

General Revision Guide: similar to the above but covering culture, socialisation, research methods and family (the latter ahs much more extensive Notes). Again, there’s a very useful section at the end where “Sample GCSE Essays” are analysed and annotated.

GCSE Revision Guide: Social Stratification, Research Methods, Crime and Deviance, Power and Politics (James Pearson): A set of short Notes on these topics.

Unit B671 Investigating Society Revision Sheet: less a “revision sheet” and more a comprehensive set of Notes for this Unit – Research Methods, Culture, Identity and Socialisation.

Unit B672 Crime and Deviance Revision Sheet: as above but for all aspects of Deviance.

Unit B672 Family Revision Sheet: And the same for the sociology of family life.

Unit 2: Social Inequality, Crime and Deviance, Mass Media (Michael Ellison): some very basic notes.

Mass Media Revision Guide: Lots of Notes covering all aspects of this topic.

GCSE Education Revision (James Pearson): This is a “Revision Activity Booklet” for Education that combines Notes with short exercises and all manner of exam advice.

Unit 2: Crime and Deviance Revision Activities: A whole booklet full of revision activities.

A-Level Revision Booklets: 1. Beliefs in Society

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

A couple of years ago I posted some A-level revision booklets / guides, one from Greenhead College on education  and three from Tudor Grange Academy (Culture and Identity, Education, Research Methods).

On the basis that you can’t have too many revision booklets (although, thinking about it, you probably can) I thought I’d post a few more I’ve somehow managed to collect, starting with three really-quite-comprehensive booklets covering Beliefs in Society (AQA), although they also cover useful stuff on Religion (OCR, Eduqas, CIE etc.).

Beliefs in Society is a comprehensive revision booklet that covers: definitions, theories, class, gender, age and ethnicity, organisations, science, ideology. It’s mainly brief notes with some relatively simple evaluation exercises.

Beliefs in Society too covers much the same ground, albeit in a less-detailed way. I’m guessing this is actually a series of teaching PowerPoints, based on the Webb et al textbook exported to pdf. I could, of course, be wrong (although admittedly I rarely am).

Religion and Ideology is by the same author (the somewhat enigmatic “Joe”) and although it suggests a focus on the “Ideology” section of the AQA Spec. it seems to interpret this brief very widely to look at theories, organisations, globalised religion, fundamentalism and a whole lot more. While it covers a lot of the same ground as the Beliefs in Society 2 booklet it generally does so in less detail. Combine the two and you’re got quite an effective set of revision (and indeed teaching) Notes.

Activity Mat

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

To accompany the Generic Learning Mat, I’ve created a complementary Activity Mat focused around a few simple activities that range from practicing paragraph writing to making synoptic connections between concepts, theories and methods.

This particular Mat contains 5 activities and it’s again been created in PowerPoint (use the Export function if you want it in a different format, such as a pdf file or Word document) to make it easy to edit. You might, for example, use a different mnemonic for the Paragraph Practice activity or want to replace some or all of the activities I’ve chosen with your own. (more…)

Learning Mats: A Generic Version

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

The Learning Maps we’ve previously posted have rightly proven popular, both because of their quality and because they meet a need for tools that help students to structure their work in a simple and effective way – one that has the added bonus of providing a tightly-organised and highly visual method of revision.

Good as they are – and I’d certainly recommend downloading them to see how they meet your teaching needs – they’re generally designed for a specific (AQA) Specification and while they can be edited to meet the requirements of different Specifications, students and teachers, this involves time and effort that might not always be readily available.

This led me to wonder about creating a generic “one-size-fits-all” version of the Mats – one that involved teachers doing absolutely no work whatsoever in terms of creating Mats that could be used in a variety of situations and ways across a range of different Specifications.

What I’ve tried to do in this Mat Template, therefore, is focus on what I think are the key elements students would need to cover for a good knowledge and understanding of a concept, theory or method (although, to be honest, I’m not sure about how well the version I’ve designed would work with the latter). In basic terms, this might involve:

• Describing a concept / theory / method.
• Identifying its key proponents, critics and studies.
• Identifying its strengths and weaknesses.

(more…)

Why Did No-One Help James Bulger?

Monday, February 26th, 2018

“We’ll probably never really know what made two 10 year olds, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, abduct, torture and then kill two year old James Bulger on a terrible February day a quarter of a century ago.

But there’s another question arising from the James Bulger murder that has implications for all of us.

Why did no-one intervene to help the defenceless toddler? “

In this short article, “Why Did No-One Help James Bulger?”, Steve Taylor looks at the case in the context of Bystander Intervention.

Learning Mats

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

Learning mats – originally laminated sheets containing simple questions, learning prompts and drawing spaces – have been around for some time at the lower (particularly primary) levels of our education system, but with the increasing interest in Knowledge Organisers, which in many respects they resemble, they’re starting to gain some traction at both GCSE and A-level.

Having said that, I’ve only managed to find a couple of examples of their use in A-level Sociology and none at all in Psychology. This may reflect a lack of knowledge about Learning Mats, a lack of interest in their application to A-level study or, more-likely perhaps, a lack of time to create them.

(more…)

The Memory Clock

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Although revision, in all its different forms and guises, is an integral part of any a-level sociology (or psychology) course it’s sometimes difficult to know how to help students revise in the most efficient, effective and productive way – and this is where the Memory Clock comes into play.

The Memory Clock is a revision system developed by Dr Caroline Creaby of Sandringham School, a mixed Comprehensive situated in St Albans, Hertfordshire that’s fast-developing into a hot-bed of interesting teaching and learning research led by practicing teachers.

If you want to know more about the work they do inside and outside of the classroom have a look at the Sandagogy web site. The excellent Learning Journals they publish are well worth a read.

Anyway, back to the main point of this post.

The Memory Clock is an easy-to-learn revision routine designed to help students structure their time in such a way as to make revision focused and productive. The pdf I’ve posted is a cut-down version of Training Manual that focuses on three things:

1. The various elements in the clock.

2. A short explanation of these elements.

3. A practice session based on a Sociological question. Although this example is “the future of childhood” you can obviously change this to whatever question you want your students to practice. Similarly, if you’re teaching Psychology just substitute your own question of choice.

Try it.

You (and your students) won’t regret it.

Student Feedback Form

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

We’ve added a new category to the Blog called “Toolbox” (just click the drop-down menu in the Categories section on the right-hand side of the Home page to find it) to act as a repository for posts relating to the nuts-and-bolts of teaching. While these posts still appear, as normal, in the page timeline and can be keyword-searched, it should make it easier for teachers to find resources aimed at the mechanics of classroom teaching.

This, for example, includes things like lesson plans, knowledge organisers, revision materials and so forth, designed for teachers to take, use and adapt to their own particular circumstances and needs.

Although I’d been mulling this addition over for some time (the pace of change can be somewhat glacial – or, as we prefer to call it, considered – over at SCtv Towers) it was finally prompted by an example of a student feedback form posted on Twitter (unfortunately I forgot to note its source so I can’t give credit where it’s due. If you see and recognise your work, please let me know).

It struck me as simple, elegant and potentially very useful for both:

• students: they get an immediate, visual, indication of what they’ve done well and
• teachers: it’s a consistent and time-saving form of feedback.

I was impressed by the form and so decided to “make one of my own” based around the general principles indicated in the post. It’s more-or-less the same, although I’ve:

• removed a section on a student’s “predicted grade” and how effectively or otherwise they are working towards it (mainly because it’s not necessarily relevant for all schools).

• added a comment section where student and / or teacher can indicate what needs to be done to improve subsequent work. Although this is potentially very useful it might be time-consuming for teachers if they have a lot of students.

I was going to call this a “Simple Student Feedback Form” but then realised this makes it sound like a feedback form for simple students, whereas it’s actually just a simple way to give your students structured feedback quickly and effectively: when marking a piece of work the teacher simply highlights the relevant comment for whichever category and mark band the answer falls.

Anyway, I’ve created two versions of the form for you to download (or ignore as you see fit):

1. A completed form that includes mark bands.

2. A completed form without mark bands. You can use the annotation tools in Adobe Reader to add your own spread of marks for different types of assessment.

Knowledge Organisers: Media and Methods and Education

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Back by popular demand and with a brand-spanking new set of Tables covering media, methods and education. Each Unit is by a different author and the quality is, at times, variable.

Media

These are pdf files so unless you’ve got a programme that will edit them you’re stuck with the information they have to offer. That said, they’re fairly recent (2015) and so are probably reasonably up-to-date and in line with the latest Specifications. There is, unfortunately, no indication of authorship…

Ownership of the mass media
New media, globalisation and popular culture
Selection and presentation of news and moral panics
Mass media and audiences
Representations of the body
Representations of ethnicity age and class

Methods

These are a little older (2009) and again authorship is a little hazy. On the plus side they’re in Word format so they can be easily edited if necessary.

Experiments and Questionnaires
Interviews
Observation and Secondary Sources

Previous Tables you might find useful:

Table 1.

Table 2.

Table 3.

Education

Again, not sure who created these or indeed when they were created. However, they are in Word format if you want to edit them.

Functionalism and Marxism
Feminism, New Right, Interactionism
Cultural and Material Factors

Previous Tables you might find useful:

Table 1.

Table 2.

 

Yet More Sociology Knowledge Organisers

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

The Learning Tables and Knowledge Organisers we’ve recently posted were all for the AQA Specification and while there’s a good deal of crossover between this Specification and OCR I thought it would be helpful to those following the latter if they had some KO’s to call their own.

These Organisers, all produced by Lucy Cluley, are, however, slightly different in that while some – mainly those for Research Methods – are complete, the remainder are blank templates. That is, while the author has designed various categories in areas like Crime Reduction Techniques or Research Methods, the actual content is up to you – and / or your students – to create.

While this has an obvious downside (someone else hasn’t done the work…) it does open-up interesting possibilities for revision work with your students, either individually or as a whole class.

In relation to the latter you’ll note that most of the blank templates are in PowerPoint (PP) format but if you want to use them with individual students simply use the PowerPoint Export function to save them as pdf files.

(more…)

More Sociology Knowledge Organisers

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Knowledge Organisers, you may or may not be surprised to learn, are the classroom requirement de nos jours and while some (looking at you Michaela Community School) may like to casually lay claim to the concept / format as being something radically new and different they’ve developed, it really isn’t.

Here, for example, is one I made earlier (about 20-odd years earlier…) and if past experience is anything to go by I probably stole the idea from someone else (or, as I like to think, my efforts were influenced by those of others).

Be that as it may, if you’ve landed here looking for Knowledge Organisers, here’s another batch I’ve managed to find using my finely-tuned Sociological Sensibility (or “typing stuff into Google to see what I can find” as it’s more-commonly known. Probably).

These KO’s are slightly different to the various Learning Tables (LT) we’ve previously posted, but they are, to-all-intents-and-purposes, the same in terms of what they exist to do.

You will find, if you compare the two (otherwise you’ll never actually know), this batch is a little less ambitious in scope and design than the previous LT’s, so it may be a case of choosing which suits you and your students and sticking with those. Or not as the case may be.

Although the original files I found were in pdf format, I’ve converted them to Word so that you can more-easily edit them if you want to. The only difference between the two files is that rounded bullets in the pdf file have been converted as square bullets in the Word file.

(more…)

Managing Crime: Situational Crime Prevention

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

More Crime and Deviance pages from the University of Portsmouth, where this time the focus is on situational crime prevention. These pages are mainly based around the work of Hough, Clarke and Mayhew (1980) and Clarke (1992) that situated the idea of crime prevention around three broad strategies:

• Increase the effort
• Increase the risks
• Reduce the rewards

While there are some observations about the theoretical basis of Situational Crime Prevention – including a short section on Routine Activities Theory that we’ve previously mapped visually – most of the pages are devoted to examples of the practical implementation of the various crime prevention strategies identified by Clarke (1992). If you want a visual representation of these strategies that complements the following pages, this PowerPoint is one we posted earlier. You’ll notice a slight mismatch between the PowerPoint and the Strategies listed below that comes about because the PowerPoint, by Cornish and Clarke (2003), has updated the “broad strategies” by adding two more: “Reduce stimulus” and “Remove excuses”.

Techniques

1. Target Hardening

2. Access Control

3. Deflecting offenders 

4. Controlling Facilitators

5. Entry/Exit Screens

6. Formal surveillance

7. Private Security

8. Citizen Patrols 

9. Citizen surveillance

10. CCTV

11. Surveillance by employees

12. Natural surveillance  

Update

I’ve managed to find a link to the Menu System used by these pages which means you can access them all relatively easily without having to go to each individual page.

If the page gives you an access error, simply refresh it and all should be well.

 

Discovering Sociology and Psychology

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

If you’re an a-level sociology or psychology teacher / student an obvious first-port-of-call for inspiration and resources, aside from the Exam Board, is likely to be the websites of the British Psychological and British Sociological Associations – and both provide a range of materials that are worth exploring (and some that, quite frankly, aren’t…).

Psychology

The BPS, for example, has a diverse and extensive range of useful stuff, broadly categorised in 3 overlapping areas:

1. The Psychologist is an online magazine that covers all things psychological – debates, reviews, articles and the like – in an a-level friendly sort of way. There’s also access to the BPS “History of Psychology” online interactive Timeline and a link to:

2. The Digest  which, as the title suggests, consists of academic studies “digested” (i.e. most of the tedious, difficult and largely incomprehensible bits removed, leaving just the stuff students need to know). Although it’s helpful that each article links to the original research this is normally just to the abstract – if you want access to the full research you have to pay for it. However, if you do want to read the original study it’s always worth doing a search on the title because, this being the Internet, there’s always a reasonable chance that it’s been posted somewhere for free.

3. PsychCrunch podcasts are the third element in the BPS triumvirate likely to interest a-level teachers. This section contains a selection of 10-minute podcasts on a range of topics and issues. Most seem to be aimed at a general audience, but there are one or two a-level teachers / students might find useful.

Sociology

Somewhat perversely, the BSA site doesn’t have the extensive range of resources of its psychological counterpart, but what it does have are two sections devoted explicitly to a-level sociology:

1. Discovering Sociology is a short section with two items:

What Is Sociology has a range of short articles looking at various aspects of what sociology is and . On the basis that if something’s worth doing once it’s probably worth doing twice, there’s also a completely different “What is Sociology” section on the main site that covers stuff like the Origins of Sociology, among other things.

Sociology in Action provides half-a-dozen very short (and I do mean short) examples of sociological research in areas like the family and the media). Unfortunately it all seems a little half-hearted and not particularly useful…

2. Teaching Resources, on the other hand, is likely to prove much more useful. The section has a drop-down menu containing subheadings for all the main areas of a-level sociology (education, methods, crime etc.) and this links to pages containing the free resources.

Research Methods, to take one example, has resources on The Hawthorne Effect, Correlation vs. Causality, Validity and Reliability and more, while Theory has materials on all the major sociological perspectives.

Each resource is built around some form of short exercise / lesson suggestion. This might be a simple experiment, article to read or video to watch:

Reliability and Validity, for example, suggests a simple, but quite effective, classroom measuring exercise to firm-up the difference between the two concepts.

Gender and Crime, on the other hand, points students towards a couple of online articles to read, from which they have to “create a table that outlines trends pertaining to women as victims of crime, women as suspects, women as defendants, women as offenders and women as CJS staff”.

Postmodernism is based on students watching a short YouTube video and using it to identify some of the key features of postmodernism, which is quite a nice, simple, start (and edges towards a bit of flipped teaching). This then morphs into looking at the media and religion from a “postmodern perspective” through a couple of classroom applications.

Although none of the resources on offer are particularly ground-breaking or earth-shattering but at least they’re free and it never hurts to check this kind of stuff out when you’re in search of inspiration…

Shortcuts to Crime and Deviance Vol. 2: Social Theory and Crime

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Three new films for teachers of Crime and Deviance.

Availability:
On Demand (either 48-hour rental or to Buy)
On DVD

Back in the day we released Shortcuts to Crime and Deviance Vol. 1 with the intention of following it with a second volume (provisionally – and somewhat disarmingly – titled “Shortcuts to Crime and Deviance Vol. 2“).

While the intention always stood – hence this current post on the long-delayed second volume – we got a bit side-tracked out of Sociology and into Psychology for a few years, mainly because even though we’re firmly based in the UK, much of our distribution and sales occur in North America. And our main American distributor was crying-out (not literally) for content.

As someone with a Sociology background who’s never studied anything more than “Social Psychology” (and then only at the level of “Is Goffman a sociologist or psychologist?”) it was actually a pleasant surprise to discover a “new subject” but the intention was always to make further volumes of Crime and Deviance. And so it has come to pass.

Although we’re still making Psychology films we decided the time was finally right to write some scripts and film some film in order to produce Vol. 2.

So that’s what we did.

We’ve put together three films to introduce some major sociological theories of crime – Strain; Labelling; Space, Place and (Broken) Windows (Right Realism) – with the aim being to:

1. Introduce and explain key theoretical ideas.
2. Identify key strengths and weaknesses.
3. Provide contemporary illustrations, examples and applications.

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Origins: The evolution and impact of psychological science

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

The British Psychological Society has created a Timeline of significant dates the History of Psychology (with a few “interesting world events” thrown in for good measure) covering the period 1840 – 1999 (I’m assuming nothing much of interest has happened in Psychology since the Millennium? I could, of course, be wrong) that could be put to good use as a resource for something like Approaches to Psychology.

The format is simple but effective:

• click on a “psychological event” link and up pops a little box with a one-line description of – and picture to illustrate – the event.

• clicking a “find out more” link expands the information to a paragraph or three.

• click a “further information” link and you’re presented with links to pdf files, websites and video files (such as Ted Talks).

Your Own Personal (YouTube) Examiner

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

Although there’s quite a fair bit of a-level sociology on YouTube (some of which we’ve contributed…) it’s probably fair to say most of it concentrates on Specification content – by-and-large the “stuff you need to know”.

While this is also, to some extent, true of the TeacherSociology Channel – there are Video Tutorials on areas like Family Life, for example – what caught my passing eye – and makes the Channel a little bit different from all the other’s vying for a piece of your precious time – are the short films on exam technique.

For these the basic idea is a simple one: create a screencast, narrated by an experienced a-level examiner, that hones-in on what students need to know / do / demonstrate in an exam to score the best possible mark for different question types.

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