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Posts Tagged ‘a-level’

Free Chapter: The Psychology of Addictive Behaviour

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

The third – and probably final – free chapter from Holt and Lewis’ “A2 Psychology: The Student’s Textbook”, this one covers addictive behaviour in terms of main areas:

1. Models

Biological, cognitive and learning models of addiction, including explanations for initiation, maintenance and relapse

Explanations for specific addictions, including smoking and gambling

2. Factors affecting addictive behaviour

Vulnerability to addiction including self-esteem, attributions for addiction and social context of addiction

The role of media in addictive behavior 

3. Reducing addictive behaviour

Models of prevention, including theory of reasoned action and theory of planned behaviour

Types of intervention, including biological, psychological, public health interventions and legislation, and their effectiveness.

 

CIE A-Level Sociology Wiki

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

For those unfamiliar with this Specification, Cambridge International A-level Sociology is largely aimed at – and followed by – students outside the UK (although around 150-odd UK schools do enter students for the exam). It’s a fairly “traditional” Specification by contemporary UK standards,  but if you want to know a bit more about it, have a look at this post  that gives details about the Spec., the structure of the exam and so forth (you might be interested in the fact that unlike its UK equivalent the CIE Board still supports AS and A2 Sociology as stand-alone qualifications).

Anyway, the main point of this post is to draw your attention to a new Wiki created by CIE students to support A-level Sociology students in their studies and the opportunities this provides for: 

Adding your contributions to the development of content

Making contact with a range of students and teachers across the globe (China, India, North America, Africa…).

 

Sociology ShortCuts: Labelling Theory

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Labelling is a staple theory in the sociology of crime – both in its own right (Becker’s concept of the Outsider, for example) and in terms of its incorporation into other theoretical explanations (Radical Criminology, for example) – and in this ShortCut Professor Sandra Walklate outlines some of the theory’s key ideas:

  • Outsiders
  • Social interaction and shared understandings
  • Labelling process
  • Social contexts
  • Social reaction
  • Primary and secondary deviation
  • Tolerance levels
  • Deviant labels
  • Self-worth and self-identity

(more…)

Understanding Crime and Deviance in Postmodernity: Part 1

Monday, March 21st, 2016

blog_crime1Although the concept of a “postmodern criminology” is, for various reasons, highly problematic this doesn’t mean that newer approaches to understanding and explaining crime don’t have something to offer the a-level sociologist. In this two-part extravaganza, therefore, we can look at two (yes, really) dimensions to this criminological shift through the medium of a couple of lovingly-prepared workbooks.

The first workbook – a critique of conventional criminology – helps students understand some of the points-of-conflict between conventional (positivist) and postmodern criminologies, with the focus on areas like:

• The ontological reality of crime

• The myth of crime

• Criminalisation, punishment and pain

• Crime control

The workbook identifies and explains these ideas and also includes space for students to test their knowledge and understanding through relatively simple critical tasks.

Beyond Milgram: Obedience and Identity

Monday, March 7th, 2016

In the early 1960s two apparently-unrelated events, separated by thousands of miles, took place that, in their own way, shocked the world.

The first, in early 1961, was the Jerusalem trial of Adolph Eichmann. He was accused – and subsequently convicted – of being one of the organisers of the Nazi Concentration Camps in which millions of innocent victims were sent to their deaths.

The second, a few months later, was a series of experiments carried out in and around Yale University, by Stanley Milgram.

What connects these two events is obedience and, more specifically, the idea of “blindly obeying” orders given by those in authority.

  • In Eichmann’s case “blind obedience” was manifested in his defence – both during and after the trial – that he was merely the agent of a higher, more-powerful, will. He was, he claimed, guilty of nothing more than being a loyal soldier; one who simply “obeyed the orders” he was given.
  • In the case of Milgram’s “Teachers”, “blind obedience” was apparently manifested in the willingness of two-thirds (66%) of his volunteers to deliver what they believed were lethal electric shocks to “Learners”. Were Milgram’s Teachers simply “obeying the orders” given to them by Milgram’s experimenters?

(more…)

Exam check list: do’s and don’ts

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

Another checklist put together for the CIE Sociology textbook. No great revelations, but probably helpful to know.

Do:

Practice answering questions under exam conditions. The more you practice the better you become.
Sleep on it Memory functions best when activity, such a revision, is followed by sleep; during sleep the brain consolidates learning and retention.
Read each question carefully Be clear about what each question is asking and how you plan to answer it.
Answer all parts of a question If the question has two parts then each part will carry half the available marks.
Relate your effort to the marks available Don’t waste time chasing one or two marks if it means you run out of time to answer higher mark questions.
Spend time planning your answer to extended questions This will structure your answer and help to ensure you use all the assessment criteria.
Review your answers When you’re writing at speed under pressure you will make mistakes; of spelling, punctuation and grammar as well as content. By taking a few minutes to read through your answers you can rectify these mistakes.
Double space your answers (leave a gap between each line in your answer booklet). When you review your answers in the final few minutes of the exam you will find mistakes; it’s easier and neater to correct mistakes or add missing words on the blank line above your answer.
Present your answers clearly and neatly

 

Buy new pens for the exam – old pens often leak and make your answers look messy. Only use black or blue ink. Punctuate properly and avoid abbreviations. Check your spelling and grammar when you review your answers.

(more…)

A-Level and AP Psychology DVDs

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Our new “Revising Psychology” series of short films are now available on DVD.

There are currently 5 DVDs in production and each has 4 short (typically 5 – 8 minutes), self-contained, psychology videos designed to introduce students to key theories, concepts and methods in contemporary contexts.

Each DVD is competitively-priced at just £17.50, including post and packaging.

You can also buy all 5 DVDs at the Special Price of £75.00, including post and packaging.

Series Titles and films

Issues in Psychology [26 minutes: Ethics / Socially Sensitive Research / Usefulness of Research /Ethnocentrism]

Debates in Psychology [25 minutes: Nature-Nurture / Psychology and Science / Situational Psychology / Free Will and Determinism]

Non-Experimental Research Methods [21 minutes: Naturalistic Observation / Cases Studies / Self-Report Methods / Correlations]

Experimental Research Methods [23 minutes: Laboratory / Field / Natural Experiments / Experimental Design]

Core Concepts in Research [24 minutes: Reliability and Validity / Sampling / Reductionism / Variables]

All DVDs are available to order online.

 

A Modest Proposal for Structured Sociology Teaching: Part 3

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

The previous post identified and briefly outlined the 5 categories that make-up the Structured Teaching scheme and in this post we can look at each category in a little more detail by way of a “worked example” based around Differential Educational Achievement.

We can start with a visual example of what a mind-mapped structure might look-like, keeping in mind it’s just a simple representation of part of an overall structure for what is quite a large Module (it covers Outside School factors and Social Class).

If you’d like a more-interactive version of this graphic you can download a pdf version that includes some sample Notes to schema3accompany each of the Items I’ve included in the example.

  1. Problematise: The questions we could ask here are many and varied; this is a particularly wide issue that can, if it’s more convenient, be broken down into a number of different, specific, questions. However, for illustrative purposes we could specify something like “How is class, gender and ethnicity related to differential educational achievement?” as a very general way of framing the problem.
  2. Contextualise: The general purpose of this category is to generate links between how the problem is framed and how it can be explained and as with different possible questions there are a range of ideas that could be examined as part of the contextualising process. These include:
  • how achievement is defined: this is significant because different definitions impact on how we understand and explain achievement differences.
  • how achievement is measured: this conventionally involves looking at exam grades, such as GCSE and A-level in the UK, but this is not the only measure of achievement. Different measures, therefore, will similarly impact on our understanding and explanation of different achievement.
  • statistical evidence based on categories like class, gender and ethnicity. This may, for example, involve using a range of Key Stage data (including GCSE and A-level) to highlight achievement differences that can then be examined trough different theories / explanations.

(more…)

Differential Educational Achievement

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

One aspect of the debate surrounding explanations for differences in achievement is the idea of material deprivation – and while this has, in recent times, fallen out-of-favour (particularly with politicians and media organisations, a new report from the Children’s Commission gives a new impetus to the idea that poverty remains a hugely-significant factor in any understanding of achievement differences. You can download:

  1. The full report
  2. An executive summary covering the main findings
  3. Guardian article

Maths in Psychology

Monday, September 28th, 2015

The 2015 A-level Psychology Specifications place a new emphasis on students’ ability to both understand and, more-importantly, apply a range of statistical tests to psychological problems.

This new set of short films, written and presented by Deb Gajic (The Polesworth School and ATP) covers the main statistical tests students encounter in psychology: Chi Square, Sign Test, Spearman’s Rho, Probability, Mann Whitney U Test, Wilcoxen Signed Ranks Test. Each film takes students through the basic steps needed to calculate and apply the tests to various research methods. The films are available in a range of formats:

48-hour rental: All 6 films available for on-line viewing.

Buy: Individual films Bundle of all 6 films

DVD: all 6 films: £17.50

NGfL Cymru (The Finding of The Hub)

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

While previous posts about the very wonderful Welsh National Grid for Learning have pointed you to different parts of the site, these links now point to the “Hub Home” pages for:

  1. Sociology
  2. Psychology

There’s a lot of A-level resources here to explore – from textbooks through PowerPoints to online materials – and, best of all, they’re absolutely free.

Amoral Panics: Part 3

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

While the two previous posts looked at moral panics from two different perspectives (“from below” in the case of interpretivist approaches and “from above” in the case of hegemonic neo-Marxist positions) a different way of looking at the concept, developed by Waiton (2008), is to consider contemporary forms of panic in the context of a changing moral order; one where the “moral certainties” of modern society is replaced by the “moral uncertainties” of late/postmodern society.

Amoral Panics

Waiton argues, in this respect, that late/postmodern societies are characterised by amoral panics. Moral panics are increasingly rare because there is no-longer a clear and coherent sense of moral order to protect – something he attributes to “a collapse in the ‘faiths’ of the right and left, that cohered society in the past”. If there is no clear sense of a moral order, just a number of competing moral interpretations, there can be no sense of moral panics being engineered.

This doesn’t mean panics no-longer occur, merely that their quality is amoral “a form of moralising without any wider system of meaning”. In other words, while panics have a moral dimension – they involve ideas about what is good or bad for society – they are not specifically related to any sense of an overriding moral order. (more…)

Revise Psychology: Reductionism

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Psychology Revision series for A-level and AP Psychology teachers and students.

This revision film uses the example of obesity to outline and evaluate reductionist and holistic approaches in psychology.

The full film is available to rent (48 hours) or buy from our on-demand site and covers key:

  • definitions: reductionism, scientific parsimony, holism
  • applications: obesity,
  • evaluations: uses and limitations of reductionist and holistic approaches.

Psychology: Reliability and Validity

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Reliability and validity are two important methodological concepts in both Psychology and Sociology because they address the problems involved in “doing research” – and while this film is aimed at A-level and AP psychology students (who are required to cover the issues in much greater depth), it should also be useful for sociology teachers who want to firm-up their students’ understanding of these concepts.

This short film looks at the key aspects of these important methodological concepts – from simple definitions, through an understanding of different types to examples of how they can be applied to different types of exam question – in terms of key:

  • definitions: reliability (internal and external),validity (internal and external)
  • examples: different types of validity, Bandura, Rosenhan
  • applications: where and how to apply these concepts in exam answers.

Flipped Classrooms

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

The Flipped Classroom is something of a rarity in contemporary educational thinking and practice in that the concept is based on a reasonably-sound argument (at least as far as something like a-level study is concerned), namely that in an exam system designed to test a range of weighted skills (knowledge, understanding, application, evaluation…) it makes sense to organise teaching time around the best possible ways to teach and learn these skills. In other words, where something like evaluation is highly-rewarded in the exam it makes sense to devote precious classroom time to developing and honing this skill, rather than using said time to focus on something (like acquiring knowledge) that can be usefully carried-on outside the classroom via various forms of guided learning.

While flipping the classroom may (or may not) be “the future”, 10 Reasons Flipped Classrooms Could Change Education is an interesting overview of why you might want to look at this idea further (and includes some reasons why you might not…).

Another flipbook…

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

As I said in the previous post, I really like the idea of flipbooks – possibly because they give the illusion of actually reading a book, magazine or document in a way that reading text on a web page or in a pdf document doesn’t.

Having posted an example of a GCSE flipbook, here’s an a-level example; defining the mass media looks, as I suspect you might have guessed, at how we can define this particular concept both conventionally / historically and in contemporary terms that takes in the development of New Media.

Defining the Media Flipbook

False Memory

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Here’s a clip from one of the Psychology videos we made (for ourselves this time) with Elizabeth Loftus. If you’ve ever wondered about her “Lost in the Mall” technique (and let’s face it, who hasn’t?) then wonder no more because this tells you all about it in around 3 minutes 42 seconds…

The complete (23 minute) “Elizabeth Loftus on False Memory” is also available On-Demand, to rent or buy.