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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 (October 2018) there are over 500 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).

Mass Media 1 | Defining and Researching

Friday, March 22nd, 2019
Second half…

Kicking my heels between edits I thought I might dig-out some old Notes (they were originally written around 5 years ago for a professional publishing project that, for one reason or another, never came together) and knock them into some sort of shape in the sincere belief that someone might find them useful.

The “shape knocking” mainly involves slotting the text from a plain Word format into a slightly-more-attractive pdf format (with a few pithy pictures thrown in to prettify things a bit). I haven’t done much actual updating of the basic text – there are a few newer bits-and-pieces where I decided something needed a little more contemporary polish – which is why it doesn’t contain much that’s particularly up-to-the-minute in terms of research studies. Although these tend to be a few years old, I’ve mainly (but not necessarily always…) referenced them when I want to establish a particular point or principle that has contemporary relevance

I’ve started with Defining and Researching the Mass Media, mainly because I haven’t done a lot in this area over the past few years and it’s a topic I’ve always found reasonably interesting and as far as content goes, this particular set of Notes is something of a game of two halves:

(more…)

Psychology Learning Tables | 8

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Another batch of lovingly-curated and assiduously alphabetised Learning Tables / Knowledge Organisers to keep your appetite for these very useful tools whetted, if not entirely satiated.

Graded PEEL Learning Table

As usual (if you missed the previous sets of Tables you can check them out here) the tables are a mix of styles – some are plain Notes, others are organised into a PEEL format and a few are PEEL Graded – and most are single or double A4 sheets. The exception is the Obedience Bundle, where I’ve gathered half-a-dozen or so Tables and bundled them together in one Word document. I’m not sure why. It just seemed the right thing to do at the time.

If you fancy branching out a little, these professionally-produced Factsheets might prove a useful addition to the teaching toolbox.

Psychology Learning Tables | 7

Sunday, March 17th, 2019

I haven’t posted any new Psychology Learning Tables / Knowledge Organisers* for a while (because I’ve been too busy / lazy**) so I thought it was about time I roused myself sufficiently to put another batch together based, once again, on the tried-and-trusted “alphabetical list” method (i.e. they’re in no particular order except that ordained by the alphabet).

Learning Table…

If you’ve missed any of the previous batches (Learning Tables 1 – 6), you can find them here.

Once again, they’re from a couple of authors (Miss K. Elles and Georgia Banton) and if you’re especially keen to discover “who done what” the metadata will tell you everything you need to know, including the year they were created in case you were wondering about their relevance to the Spec. you’re currently teaching / following.

As with previous Tables, they’re a mixture of formats (some are built around Assessment Objectives, some are built around PEEL and some are just Notes in no particular configuration). All, however, have been left in their original Word format in case you want to edit them for any reason.

Knowledge Organiser…

Cultural Variations in Attachment
Custodial sentencing
Data Types
Defining and measuring crime
Definitions of Abnormality
Descriptive Data
Differential association
Dispositional Explanations
Duck’s Phase Theory AO1 and AO3
Equity Theory AO1 and AO3
Evaluating Findings
Evolutionary explanations for food preferences
Experiments
Explanations for the success and failure of dieting
Eysenck’s theory
Factors Affecting Attraction – Filter Theory AO1 and AO3
Factors Affecting Attraction – Physical Attractiveness AO1 and AO3
Factors Affecting Attraction – Self-Disclosure AO1 and AO3
Features of the Memory Stores
Fight or Flight Response
Genetic and neural explanations
Infant Caregiver Interactions
Interference

* You say Po-tart-oh, I say Po-Tate-oh

** Please delate according to your current state of credulity.

Graphic Organiser: W3 | Paragrapher

Saturday, March 16th, 2019

This organiser is based around the W3 (What? Why? Where?) method of structuring information and ideas and it can be used in two main ways:

Firstly, as a way of preparing structured notes about a theory, method or concept.

Secondly as a means of creating a solid, consistent, paragraph structure for answering essay-type questions (questions that test skills of knowledge, interpretation and evaluation). Used in this way it’s similar in scale and scope to a whole range of structuring mnemonics (from PEEL to PERC and all points in between…) with which you may be familiar.

One salient feature of the W3 organiser, however, is that it’s extremely simple for students to remember and apply:

  • Topic: The organiser starts with a topic to consider, such as a theory.
  • What (do you think is important)?
    In this section students identify something significant they want to say about the theory / concept / method.
  • Why (do you think it’s important)?
    A brief explanation of why they think this idea is important.
  • Where (is the evidence, for and against)?
    In this section students identify and briefly explain examples of evidence (such as studies) for and against the theory (or, if the topic was research methods, this section might look at strengths and weaknesses).
  • Sociology in Focus for AS: Methods Resources

    Wednesday, March 13th, 2019
    Overview Map

    The final set of resources to accompany the free Sociology in Focus AS textbook is for Research Methods aka “Everyone’s Favourite Module” (Said no-one. Ever).

    Although the textbook is aimed at AQA, everyone, everywhere, does research methods so there’s little here that won’t be familiar, whatever the Specification.

    Probably.
    I’d be inclined to check, though.
    Just-in-case.

    If you’ve been following these posts over the past few weeks (and if you haven’t you might want to think about Registering with the Blog to ensure you’re notified whenever a new post happens along) you’ll be familiar with the format – activity answers, spider-diagrams, worksheets and teaching tips – and so won’t be disappointed that this is exactly what you’re getting here.

    Or maybe you will. Who really knows?

    To be a bit more specific, the bundle features:

    Worksheet

    An Overview Map that sets out the broad content of the Unit in terms of the different Modules. This can be useful as a way of introducing the Unit and giving students a broad outline of the content they will be expected to cover.

    Revision Maps: These spider diagrams map-out the textbook content on a module-by-module basis. This makes them useful for both end-of-Unit revision (the focus is on identifying keywords in the text and relating them to other, linked, content) and for introducing the basic content of each Module.

    Teaching Tips: These include suggestions for some hands-on, “Doing Sociology”, approaches to research methods, plus a general introduction to what was, at the time (around 10 years ago) a new and highly-innovative type of research method called Visual Sociology. It’s moved on a bit in the meantime and while it’s not exactly a mainstream method it’s something you might want to investigate if you have the time and / or inclination.

    Activity Answers: If you set your students any of the activities / questions in the book, a set of standard answers would be quite a handy thing to have. Luckily, I’ve written some handy suggested answers to all the questions so you don’t have to.

    Worksheets: In moderation worksheets can be a useful little weapon in your teaching armoury, particularly for small-group work / flipped learning. The worksheets involve a combination of individual and group-based tasks that can be used to consolidate and check learning.

    Religion: Two New Films

    Sunday, March 10th, 2019

    We’ve added a couple of new Religion films to the Sociology section of the site with a couple more (Secularisation / Religion and Spirituality] currently at the scripting stage.

    The first, Religion: What It Is and What It Does, features Professor Eileen Barker (of “Making of a Moonie” fame). It’s a basic introduction to two ways of defining religion: substantive definitions that focus on the essential and unique features of religion and functional definitions that conceive of religion in terms of the functions it performs for individuals and societies.

    The second, New Religions: alternative spiritualities introduces students to the concept of New Religious Movements through well-established examples such as Scientology and the Moonies, in addition to much newer movements, such as the Missionary Church of Kopimism. The film looks at some of the common characteristics of NRM’s and explores these in the context of movements such as the Moonies and Heaven’s Gate.

    Sociology in Focus for AS: Education and Methods

    Saturday, March 9th, 2019
    Overview Map

    Continuing to plough the long and lonely furrow that is AS Sociology, today’s offering is a whole bunch of resources for Education with Research Methods. These complement the Sociology in Focus for AS textbook you can pick-up for absolutely nothing if you click the link and then click another link to download it. You might want to read the text that surrounds the download link, but it’s not mandatory.

    If you follow the AQA Spec. the combination of Education and Methods will be all-too-familiar but if you follow other Specs (such as Eduqas) you’ll be pleased to know that as far as the resources go they’re basically “all about the Education” and you can forget about Methods (at least in this context).

    If you teach / study OCR then you need to be aware these are AS rather than A2 resources.

    If you teach / study outside the UK bubble you may find stuff here and in the textbook that relates to your course of study, but I can’t guarantee it.

    (more…)

    Graphic Organiser: Compare and Contrast

    Monday, March 4th, 2019
    The Classic Venn Diagram

    The latest post in the series devoted to graphic organisers sees the long-overdue introduction of the Venn diagram – a classic form of graphic organiser that provides a simple, visual, way to compare and contrast two (or sometimes more) ideas.

    It’s a type that works well with something like sociological perspectives where students are frequently required to look at the similarities (compare) and differences (contrast) between perspectives like Functionalism or Marxism.

    Equally, it’s possible to apply compare and contrast techniques within perspectives – examining different types of Feminism, for example, or comparing traditional forms of Functionalism and Marxism with their more-contemporary forms.

    This PowerPoint Presentation contains two organiser examples:

    1. The conventional circular Venn diagram.

    2. A less-conventional squared version.

    While both designs serve exactly the same functional purpose, the squared version provides more writing space – something that may be useful where there are a large number of differences / similarities to identify.

    Sociology in Focus for A2: Media Resources

    Saturday, March 2nd, 2019
    Revision Maps…

    Another set of free resources to complement the Sociology in Focus For A2 textbook, this batch relates to the Mass Media option:

    Overview Map: An introductory map that provides a very general overview of the Module content.

    Revision Maps: These Unit Maps go into much more depth and detail about the content covered throughout the Module and they have a number of uses, not least as a way of introducing the content of each Unit.

    Activity Answers: If you use the activities that have been strategically placed throughout the Module, you’ll probably need some answers. Luckily, I’ve created some so you don’t have to.

    Worksheets: Can be used to set individual and group text-based tasks to consolidate and check learning. These are organised around three activity types:

  • Consolidate, designed for individual work to ensure students have “grasped the basics”.
  • Apply, designed to promote analysis, discussion and application through small-group work.
  • Evaluate, designed for whole-class discussions around arguments / evidence for and against a question.
  • Exam Focus provides Top Tips from a Senior Examiner. Be aware, however, that the specific types of questions asked may have changed in the 10 years since this text was published. There are sufficient generic tips, however, to make this section a worthwhile download.

    Graphic Organisers: Hierarchies

    Thursday, February 28th, 2019
    3-Level Hierarchy

    Following posts on the Frayer Model and the 5-Points of the Star, Hierarchical Models are a further general variation that are worth adding to the list of graphic organisers available to teachers and students who want to explore different, more visual, ways of structuring information.

    Hierarchies – a top-down list involving a number of levels – are one of the staples of graphic organisation, mainly because they’re easy to draw and provide a simple, but highly significant, set of visual cues about the relationship between different ideas. This makes them particularly useful for tasks such as essay planning where it’s important for students to identify and explain the relationship between ideas.

    Although each graphic organiser follows the same broad structure there are a few variations that can be used, the first of which is a simple 3-Level Hierarchy that focuses on identifying relevant ideas.

    Level 1 involves the main idea

    Level 2 involves identifying key features of the main idea.

    Level 3 involves identifying significant aspects of each Level 2 feature.

    If you know how to do it you can tweak the PowerPoint Presentation to add further boxes to each level (particularly Level 2. In this example I’ve used 3 boxes but it’s sometimes appropriate to use more) or change the box colours. I’ve used colour coding as a further form of visual cue / reminder but some students may find them distracting and, in such instances it’s probably best just to leave them white.

    Update

    3-Level Hierarchy variation

    A variation on the 3-Level Hierarchy organiser changes the 3rd level from one of identification to explanation.

    In other words, rather than merely identifying significant aspects of level 2 features, students use the graphic organiser to explain the importance of these features.

    Although there are obvious similarities between the two templates, this latter version encourages more-extensive note-making.

    Graphic Organisers: The 5 Points of the Star

    Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
    The 5 Points of…

    A previous post outlined the basic ideas underpinning the graphic organiser, introduced an example of the genre (the Frayer Model) and teased the possibility of further examples of ready-made organiser templates (as opposed to the more free-form examples you can find in the Revision section here).

    So, in the spirit of actually trying to deliver what may or may not have been promised (about which I can unfortunately make no further promises) I thought I’d start with what I consider one of the most potentially-useful: the “5-Point Star” template.

    And when I say “start” I’m suggesting there will be more examples to follow.

    Which indeed there may well be.

    I’ll see what I can do.

    (more…)

    Graphic Organisers

    Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

    I recently stumbled across the notion of graphic organisers while rummaging around on Pinterest, although it’s probably an idea most teachers will have come across or informally used. Venn diagrams or tables of information, for example, represent proto forms of graphical organisation.

    Sandringham School Version

    All this post suggests is that it’s possible to formalise these practices into graphical formats that allow you and your students to represent information in visually consistent ways, either by providing students with information templates (a solid state form of graphical organisation that involves students using pre-existing graphical formats) or by encouraging them to develop their own graphical organisational forms (a free-form version that operates within a loose set of rules).

    This post focuses on the solid state form because it’s the easiest to construct (there are loads of pre-existing templates) and initially explain to students. The ability to use existing templates as a way of representing and structuring information is also a big advantage when students are being introduced to this slightly different way of “making notes”.

    If you’re interested in the free-form version have a look at this example of sociological perspectives (as an online flipbook or a pdf version)

    Here, the rules are defined by the creator (such as an individual student); in this example the rules I’ve defined are simple: start with the main point you want to represent, show how various key ideas are linked to that idea and include short notes to illustrate each idea. This then builds into an overview “Map” of, in this case, sociological perspectives.

    While free-form graphic organisers are probably the most personal and responsive types, they’re a technique that may be best introduced after your students have grasped the basic idea underpinning the graphical representation of information.

    (more…)

    Sociology in Focus for A2: Crime Resources

    Sunday, February 24th, 2019

    A further set of free resources to complement the Sociology in Focus For A2 textbook, this batch relates to the Crime and Deviance option:

    A Revision Map

    Overview Map: An introductory map that provides a very general overview of the Module content.

    Revision Maps: These Unit Maps go into much more depth and detail about the content covered throughout the Module and they have a number of uses, not least as a way of introducing the content of each Unit.

    Activity Answers: If you use the activities that have been strategically placed throughout the Module, you’ll probably need some answers. Luckily, I’ve got some.

    Worksheets: These can be used to set individual and group text-based tasks to consolidate and check learning based around three types of activity:

  • Consolidate, designed for individual work to ensure students have “grasped the basics”.
  • Apply, designed to promote analysis, discussion and application through small-group work.
  • Evaluate, designed for whole-class discussions around arguments / evidence for and against a question.
  • Exam Focus provides Top Tips from a Senior Examiner. Be aware, though, that the specific types of questions asked may have changed in the 10 years since this text was published. There are sufficient generic tips, however, to make this section worthwhile.

    Neo-Functionalism: Dragging “Family Functions” into the 21st Century

    Monday, February 18th, 2019

    The “functions of the family” is an a-level course / exam staple and you can drag it out of the 20th century Murdock / Parsons duopoly by adding a neo-functionalist twist.

    Are contemporary Western families characterised by a fluidity of gender roles?

    For Swenson (2004), the focus is on adults as providers of a stable family environment for primary socialisation. This involves:

    1. Roles conceived as both expressive and instrumental.

    2. Providing children with a safe, secure, environment that gives free range to both expressive and instrumental roles and values.

    In this respect neo-Functionalism suggests parents contribute to the socialisation process by giving their children a knowledge of both expressive and instrumental role relationships.

    The key thing here, for Swenson, is that it doesn’t particularly matter which partner provides which; all that matters is they do – and the significance of this idea is that it means gender roles in contemporary families are not necessarily conceived as fix, unchanging and immutable – even for Functionalists.

    (more…)

    Sociology in Focus for AS: Family Resources

    Friday, February 15th, 2019

    This second set of free resources for users of the Sociology in Focus For AS textbook covers the ever-popular Families and Households Module and includes the following:

    Exam Focus

    Overview Map: A basic spider diagram you can use if you want to give students a broad overview of the content to be covered in the Module.

    Revision Maps: Further, more-detailed, spider diagrams that map specific content to each Unit in the Module. These give students a broad indication of the work to be covered in each Module and can also be used as a handy revision aid.

    Activity Answers: Complete, author-approved, answers to the questions that appear throughout the Module. A major time-saver when it comes to marking or an easy way for students to self-check their answers? The choice is yours.

    Worksheets: Setting your students text-based tasks (individually and collectively) can be a useful way of checking learning or starting a discussion going. Each Worksheet is designed around three different activities:

  • Consolidate, designed for individual work to ensure students have “grasped the basics”.
  • Apply, designed to promote analysis, discussion and application through small-group work.
  • Evaluate, designed for whole-class discussions around arguments / evidence for and against a question.
  • Teaching Tips provide some simple ideas for teaching activities

    Exam Focus provides specimen questions, exemplar student answers and analysis by a senior examiner. Be aware, however, that the types of questions asked and the marks awarded to each type may have changed in the 10 years since this text was originally published.