Posts Tagged ‘revision’

Connecting Revision Too

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

If you’ve seen the previous post on Connecting Revision  you may have tried the Family Connecting Wall created by Steve Bishop (and maybe even been inspired to think about creating and sharing your own?).

He’s now created a new Wall to add to your revising pleasure and this time it’s on Crime and Deviance.

As ever the format’s a simple one: find 4 groups of 4 related ideas within the 3 minute time limit and then explain what connects each group.

NotAFactsheet: Research Ethics

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

This NotAFactsheet on Research Ethics is a slight departure from previous NotAFactsheets in that it comes in two flavours:

1. The normal “text with box-outs and pictures-if-you’re-lucky” version.

2.  An experimental version with an added bit of embedded video (click-the-pic-to-play).

Although not ideal, the video is in Flash (.flv) format for reasons that are much too boring to go into. Plus, the .flv format can be quite heavily compressed and means the video doesn’t add too many megabytes to the pdf file. I’ve deliberately kept the clip short – it just illustrates a simple mnemonic that I cut out of one of our films on Ethics – because it’s essentially just a test to see which people prefer.

If you choose this option you’ll need to download the pdf file because atm it won’t play online (probably).


Connecting Revision

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Browsing through my Twitter feed the other day I was struck by a tweet from Oriel Sociology  about a “Connecting Wall” grid featured in the British Sociological Association’s Sociology Teacher magazine.

If you’re familiar with the BBC Quiz show “Only Connect” you’ll know that one of the most popular elements is the “Connecting Wall” where a team of 3 players is presented with a “wall” containing 16 elements that can be grouped into 4 different categories. Once all 4 categories have been correctly identified the team scores extra points by correctly identifying the how each group is connected.

This seemed to me like a really good way of spicing-up revision classes – students seem to like competitive games and the “making connections” angle is particularly suited to some simple “knowledge-based” revision activities.

While the BSA material is fine, the paper-based format is somewhat limiting because it’s difficult for students to know if they’ve correctly identified the four elements of each category (part of the fun of the TV-based connecting wall is that some elements can be red-herrings – they could belong to more than one category). A quick web-search, however, revealed a couple of on-line creators that could be used to make interactive walls quickly and easily.

One such creator (“Connect Fours”) can be found on Russel Tarr’s site.  This has a simple “Create Your Own” function with instructions about how to construct a game wall. To understand how it all works have a look at a Wall created by Steve Bishop on The Family.

Alternatively, the Puzzle Grid site features a Wall creator that takes you through all the simple steps you need to create your own Sociology Revision Wall online.


Sociology Shortcuts: NotAFactsheets

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

Over the past few weeks I’ve published a small selection of Curriculum Press Sociology Factsheets and the response to these set me thinking about creating some of my own, using a similar format – although I’ve decided not to call what I’ve produced “Factsheets”, mainly because they aren’t.

Anyway, I posted my first attempt at a NotAFactsheet a week or so ago and since then I’ve been developing and refining the format in terms of both design and content. Whether or not I’ve managed to capture something useful is something for you to judge but I thought I’d post my first batch of NotAFactsheets anyway.

The basic idea, in case you’re not familiar with the general format, is to use NotAFactsheets in a range of possible ways, as:

  • basic introductory documents.
  • an extra source of student Notes.
  • a source of information when students miss part of a course.
  • a revision document.
    These are all based around “Approaches to Research” and, in the main, focus on an outline of different approaches. I have, however, included one on research methods to see if and how that works (at 5 pages it’s significantly longer than each of the others and I’m not sure if this format works as a NotAFactsheet).

    You can download the following NotAFactsheets:


    Positivist Research Methods




    A Few More Psychology Factsheets

    Thursday, April 6th, 2017

    In a previous post I shared some examples of Curriculum Press Factsheets I’d found on my travels and this post offers a few more examples that might inspire you (and your students) to think about making your own…




    Classical Conditioning

    Eyewitness Testimony

    Factors affecting the accuracy of eyewitness testimony

    Sociology ShortCuts F’sheet

    Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

    I’ve posted a couple of times about the Sociology Factsheets produced by Curriculum Press –  particularly about how it might be an idea for teachers to get their students to make their own versions as both a revision aid and teaching resource for future sociology students – and I thought it might be interesting to have a go at something along these lines myself: particularly because having written a number of books for different exam boards over the past 10 or so years I’ve accumulated a large stock of words that could possibly be put to some more – and probably better – use as a revision-type resource.

    The upshot of playing-around with various words and pictures is my first ShortCuts Sheet on “Approaches to Research: Positivism” (for no better reason than the fact I had some underutilised text lying around that I thought might be easy to adapt to this format).

    If you’ve got any comments, suggestions etc. about why it’s brilliant / shite / could be improved please don’t hesitate to let me know…

    A-Level Psychology Revision Films

    Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

    With the exam season nearly upon us, the thoughts of students and teachers inexorably turn once more to the annual ritual known as revision.

    And if you want to try something a bit different – whether you’re a teacher looking to introduce a range of revision topics or a student looking for something visual to break-up the textbook slog – we have a range of on-demand revision films at a very reasonable price to help.

    Our On-demand service gives you access to our short, sharp and tightly-focused films specifically designed for A-level Psychology – each with the emphasis on key exam knowledge, interpretation and evaluation.

    Our rental service gives you the opportunity to watch:

    • When you want – any number of times over a 48-hour period for a single payment.
    • Where you want – on your mobile, tablet or desktop.


    To get you started, here’s 4 films you can watch for free:


    If you want to see more, free previews are available for each of the following: 


    Updating Crime & Deviance

    Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

    Day Workshop with renowned sociologist and film-maker, Dr Steve Taylor

    Strain, Labelling, Realism etc. are still important because they underpin a lot of research in the contemporary study of Crime and Deviance. But supposing your students could demonstrate this with new concepts & 21st. Century research examples?

    This Workshop consolidates the key theories and concepts and then illustrates their application with clear, easy to understand up to date research.  For example, students read about moral panics, but how much more impressive could an answer be if they were able to bring in the recent concept of ‘amoral panics’?


    • Crime, Deviance, Order and Control: clarifying sociological approaches.
    • Globalisation & Crime: filling the gaps by linking to familiar sociological approaches
    • Researching Crime: methods clarified, evaluated & illustrated with new ideas & interactive Q & A practice.
    • Theory & Method: this challenging topic laid bare, simplified and illustrated.

    Free Crime and Deviance films provided!

    Additional Sessions on Family, Youth Culture & Research Methods, if required.

    What Teachers say 

    “Delivered with a real affection for the subject with pace and professionalism   Partly as a consequence of working with Steve we had an excellent set of results”: Stephen Base Verulam College

    “Excellent day. He brings in contemporary evidence and great links to exam skills”: Ann-Marie Taylor Coleg Cambria

    “Brilliant exam focused training”: Mandy Gordon, Highfield School

    “Our students loved it, Steve got them to think outside the box”: Pauline Kendal, Bedford Sixth Form

    What Students Say

    ‘He was even better than in the videos. Loved it.’

    ‘Makes the theories come alive by linking them to the studies’.

    ‘Liked learning about the new studies, especially the gang ones.’

    ‘I feel so much more confident after Steve’s class.’

    ‘I could never understand theory and methods and now I do.’

    Cost: inclusive & regardless of number of schools attending

    Day: £500

    Half day: £300

    For more information, contact:


    Tel: 07771-561521

    GCSE AQA Sociology Revision Guides

    Friday, January 13th, 2017

    I recently came across this interesting set of guides for the AQA Spec., written by Lydia Hiraide of The BRIT School.

    The guides are dated 2013 – and although I’m not sure how they might fit into the latest Specification, I’m guessing there’s going to be a lot here that’s still relevant.

    You can download the following guides in pdf format:




    Crime and deviance

    Social inequality

    Unit 1: Revision guide


    PLC: Electronic Template

    Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

    plc_ecoverWhile paper-based PLCs are useful, electronic PLCs bring a new dimension to the teaching table in a couple of ways:

    Firstly, they allow students to type / cut-and-paste content directly into their PLC. You can, for example, provide a list of required content in text format for your students at relevant points in the course and it’s quick and easy for them to add this content to their PLC.

    When you examine the template you’ll see I’ve allocated a lot of space to content (25 pages, each with space for 24 pieces of content) and it’s not obligatory to fill every line of every page with course content. The reason for including so many pages is simply technical; unlike with the paper-based version you can’t add pages as and when they’re needed.

    Secondly, they can be stored and accessed electronically. The pdf file format allows data to be entered and saved and this file can be stored somewhere like Google docs or wherever you normally store such files.

    This allows you to quickly and easily access student PLC files to see how they are coping with different types of content – something you can do at any time because students don’t have to carry around physical copies of their PLC. This also means it’s easier to makes copies of student PLCs and they’re less-likely to get lost or damaged than paper-based ones. (more…)

    Personal Learning Checklist Template

    Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

    plc_coverPersonal Learning Checklists (PLCs) are a simple and effective tool for identifying the extent to which your students feel confident they have grasped the key course content you have defined for them. Although the basic idea has been around in various forms for a number of years, if you’re not familiar with it, PLCs involve:

    1. Teachers identifying essential subject knowledge.
    2. Students keeping a record of their understanding of this knowledge.

    In other words, PLCs are a way of recording work covered and whether or not it’s been understood and while there are different ways to construct PLCs, the basic format is broadly similar: a list of key subject knowledge against which students rate their understanding.


    A-Level Revision: Education

    Friday, November 25th, 2016

    ghrevAs an addendum to the Revision Booklets post, here’s one I missed earlier – an extensive revision booklet for AS Education produced by Greenhead College.

    As you might expect from a Sociology department consistently ranked as outstanding by Ofstead their approach is:

    1. Thorough – the booklet includes a comprehensive set of revision notes.
    2. Informative – the document is annotated with helpful suggestions about how to demonstrate various assessment objectives in written exam answers.


    GCSE Revision Resources

    Thursday, November 24th, 2016

    While it’s probably fair to say that teacher-created GCSE revision resources are a bit thin on the ground (and take a bit of finding), there are useful resources “out there” if you’re prepared to do a lot of searching. To save you the time and trouble, here’s some I found earlier (the quality’s a bit variable, but needs must etc.):


    Unit 1 Revision Guide

    Unit 1: Education

    Unit 2 Topics – keywords / concepts

    Crime and Deviance

    Mass Media Revision Booklet

    Unit B671 (Sociology Basics) Revision: Methods / Culture / Socialisation / Identity



    A-level Revision Booklets

    Thursday, November 24th, 2016

    If you’re looking for revision ideas / inspiration check-out this set of AS Sociology Revision booklets produced by the Tudor Grange Academy:booklet


    Booklet 1

    Booklet 2

    Booklet 3


    And if you want something to add to your classroom walls, they’ve also produced some basic Sociology posters:






    Social Action


    More Ideas for Structuring Extended Answers

    Monday, October 17th, 2016

    As I noted in a previous post on mnemonics that can be used to help students structure paragraphs for extended answer questions, these are many and varied. Although they all perform much the same sort of function – that of helping students remember to include information in their answers that cover all the required Assessment Objectives (from knowledge and understanding, through interpretation and analysis to the all-important evaluation – it’s probably a question of finding one that you and your students find useful.

    To this end I decided to pick the brains of a random selection of teachers on FaceBook about the mnemonics they use with their students and thought it might be helpful to present the various mnemonics they use for you to explore…


    Study Strategies: The Appliance of Science

    Thursday, October 13th, 2016

    It’s probably fair to say students and teachers are constantly bombarded with study advice – what to do, what not to do, why you shouldn’t do what someone else has told you is absolutely essential – and it’s equally fair to say that not all of his advice is necessarily impartial or, not to put too fine a point on things, useful.

    The Learning Scientists’ approach has the dual virtue of offering advice that’s free (which is nice) and backed-up by scientific evidence (the clue is in the name. Probably). Something that should be essential in this particular area but which is so often is treated as optional.

    So far they’ve released 6 short (1½ – 3 minutes) videos focused on helping students develop coherent study strategies through the application of techniques that have more than just a nodding acquaintance with logic and research.


    IDEAS for Structuring Extended Answers

    Friday, October 7th, 2016

    Although there are a number of mnemonics around that help students structure extended answers in ways that allow them to cover and gain marks for each Assessment Objective (AO1, AO2 and AO3), I particularly like this mnemonic because it’s easy to remember and follows a logical structure for the construction of each paragraph in an extended answer.

    I don’t know if this is something I dreamt up (probably not, but you never know) or whether it’s something I came across on my web travels, forgot about, rediscovered on my hard drive and convinced myself I thought it up (I’m leaning towards this interpretation but it would be nice to think it was the former).

    Either way, you may find IDEAS helpful.


    Word Clouds

    Sunday, September 25th, 2016

    wordcloud-1I’ve always been a big fan of Key Words as a revision memory tool for a couple of reasons:

    Firstly, because it’s easier to remember half-a-dozen powerful ideas (culture, socialisation, roles, values, norms, social control…) than the page of text in which they’re embedded.

    Secondly, if you choose powerful Key Words, by bringing them to mind you can use them to unlock a massive amount of associated stored information. A simple way to demonstrate this is to write the Key Word “Family” (or “Education”, “Deviance” or whatever) in the centre of a whiteboard and ask your students to add further connected key ideas – you’ll quickly build-up a hugely-impressive Key Word Map of whatever topic they’re familiar with.


    Weekly Round-Up

    Thursday, May 19th, 2016

    This week’s round-up of all the sites, scenes and sounds that piqued our interest…


    Weekly Digest

    Thursday, May 12th, 2016

    All the links that caught our eye this past week in one handy post…



    Failure discourse: Govt must launch royal commission into ‘failing’ state system, says private school head”

    Methods in Context Mark Scheme

    Government backs down over plan to make all schools academies

    Thousands of supply teachers could lose out on more than £200 a month owing to changes to tax relief rules

    Professionalisation of governance: “Without parent governors, schools face uphill battle to engage families”

    The impact of longer school days

    I’ve seen the future and it doesn’t look good: “I Teach At A For-Profit College: 5 Ridiculous Realities”

    Students who use digital devices in class ‘perform worse in exams’

    Genes that influence how long you stay in education uncovered by study


    Manchester’s Heroin Haters – Vigilante violence?

    Insecure working as social harm? Some thoughts on theorising low paid service work from a harm perspective

    Revealed: London’s new violent crime hotspots

    Chief Constable confirms election expenses probe involves 2 Cornish MPs, and his own boss

    Street crime resources

    Extending the Web: “Legal highs brought low as councils use banning orders to curb use”

    Tough talk on crime has led to a crisis in Britain’s prisons

    Corporate / White-collar crime “David Cameron to introduce new corporate money-laundering offence”

    Wealth, Poverty, Welfare

    Poverty by Design? “Sink estates are not sunk – they’re starved of funding”

    Top 25 hedge fund managers earned $13bn in 2015 – more than some nations


    18 Baffling Tropes Hollywood Can’t Stop Using

    Selling Shame: 40 Outrageous Vintage Ads Any Woman Would Find Offensive | Mental Floss UK

    The General Strike to Corbyn: 90 years of BBC establishment bias

    How to Fabricate Front Page News

    Social Inequality

    Class, Culture and Education – a good discussion piece for students: “Why working-class actors are a disappearing breed”

    Example of different type of discrimination: “Blacklisted workers win £10m payout from construction firms”

    Tax havens have no economic justification, say top economists

    A Sandwich and a Milkshake? Interesting discussion point for UK inequality / tax cuts for wealthy


    Statistical Artefact: Useful research Methods example “Fewer people die in hospital at weekends, study finds”


    Childhood / sexualistion  /media: “Magazine under fire for swimsuit tips for pre-teen girls”


    Epigenetics: “Identical twins may have more differences than meet the eye”

    Esteller study: “How epigenetics affects twins” | The Scientist Magazine

    The uses and misuses of “growth mindset”


    The way you’re revising may let you down in exams – and here’s why

    A psychologist reveals his tips for effective revision

    Britain at a glance – lots of lovely data in easy-to-read formats!

    How to create better study habits that work for you


    Weekly Digest

    Thursday, May 5th, 2016

    Each week we bring you a Happy List of What’s Hot! and What’s Not So Hot! in the Wonderful World of Twitter Posts.

    In other words, this is what we’ve been posting about this week.


    More Revision Mapping

    Sunday, April 10th, 2016


    Following from the previous post on sociological perspectives, this map on Media Representations demonstrates how useful these types of revision maps can be for organising student knowledge around quite diverse topics.

    As with previous examples, this map is based around keywords illustrated by pictures and fleshed-out where necessary with short pieces of text.

    Keyword Revision Mapping

    Saturday, April 9th, 2016

    revmap1Although revision techniques are many and varied one of my favourite techniques is based on keywords because it’s so highly-adaptable; it’s equally suited to on-course as it is to post-course revision (although I actually believe the former is both more effective and encourages a greater depth of revision).

    In basic terms keyword revision simply involves identifying and recording the most important (or key) ideas you encounter on the course. In this respect – and to use a currently-fashionable concept – keywords represent a form of metadata; ideas that provide an underlying structure to further ideas by describing how and why such ideas relate to one another.

    To use a simple example, at the end of teaching a family module it should be possible to write the word “FAMILY” at the centre of a whiteboard and expect students to generate masses of relevant data simply by focusing on the keyword and using it (and their underlying knowledge of the topic) to produce further, linked, information. This, in turn, generates further keywords, further data and so forth.


    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.


    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.


    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.