Welcome to the ShortCutstv Blog

Saturday, December 23rd, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We like to think we’re better than that.

The D.O.V.E. Protocol: 4 Functions of Religion

Friday, February 21st, 2020
Four Functions of Religion PowerPoint: Click to download
Four Functions of Religion…

Classical functionalist theories of religion, associated with the work of writers like Durkheim (1912), Malinowski (1926), Alpert (1937), Parsons (1937) and more-latterly Luhmann (1977), generally see religion as a cultural institution: one mainly concerned with the creation and promotion of cultural values that function to support and maintain social order.  Underpinning the notion of order, in this respect, are two ideas:

1. Religion serves a structural or collective role in bringing people together “as a society”.

2. Religion serves an action or individual role in giving meaning and purpose to people’s lives.

The Functions of Religion Presentation is designed to introduce students to these general ideas by encouraging them to think about “the functions of religion” in terms of four broad categories:

1. Discipline involves the idea a sense of shared beliefs and values is created by following a set of religious moral rules and codes.

2. Organisation reflects the idea of people being brought together as a society through shared rituals, ceremonies and meanings.

3. Vitalisation reflects the idea common values and beliefs represent vital dimensions of culture, socialisation and control.

4. Euphony recognises there are times of pain and crisis in life that require individual or collective efforts to re-establish harmony.

Each category contains a few pointers to examples of each, 30 seconds of video clips that illustrate some aspects of these ideas and a simple question you might want to use to stimulate a bit of further debate (which you can obviously edit / change if you want to add a question or two of your own).

Five Things To Know About…

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

I’ve long been a fan / proponent of the “5 Things I Know” approach to teaching sociological perspectives – the idea that if a student can grasp 5 significant things about a perspective they can apply that knowledge to answer just about any “theory / perspective” question they may encounter in an exam.

Theory Take 5 Pdf version - click to download.
Theory Take 5 Cards

Vicki Woolven has taken this idea a creative step further with her brilliant-looking Theory Take 5 cards. These identify 5 key points associated with a sociological theorist that students can apply in their answers to 8 – 15 mark exam questions – although there’s nothing to say this level of knowledge couldn’t equally be applied to essay-type answers.

The cards cover 30 theorists distributed across areas like Family, Education and Crime and are available in both pdf and PowerPoint formats.

The latter is useful if you want to add your own cards to the deck because you can use it as an editable template (and it’s easy enough to save the cards in pdf format from PowerPoint).

These are slightly-edited versions of the originals to remove a reference to Weber as a “Marxist”.

More Crime and Deviance Resources

Monday, February 17th, 2020

Following on from the previous set of crime resources, this is a mixed-bag of PowerPoint Presentations and Word documents covering various aspects of crime and deviance.

While there is coverage of various issues and debates here, the main emphasis is on student activities and tasks – and while there’s nothing particularly spectacular or cutting-edge about the various resources there may be something here you’ll find helpful or inspiring.


Theories of Self and Identity

Sunday, February 16th, 2020
Self and Identity PowerPoint: Original version
Original version…

This is quite a large (18 slide) PowerPoint Presentation, complete with a core list of lesson outcomes, covering personal and social identities and, in the main, perspectives on The Self and identity (Functionalist, Marxist and Interpretivist).

While you may find the content useful I’m a bit more ambivalent about the “lesson outcomes” – not so much that they exist but more the way they’re presented alongside each information slide:

  • All will be able to identify what different theories say about identity(E-D)
  • Most will be able to explain why different theories explain identity as they do (C-B)
  • Some will be able to use critique the various sociological theories on identity (B-A)
  • While it’s fine to show a class what they need to do in order to achieve various (A – E) exam grades it seems to me a little pointless – not to say potentially self-defeating – to pre-emptively divide your class into 3 grade groups and suggest that “only some” will be capable of applying critical evaluation to a perspective.

    If you’re comfortable with this, you can download this version of the Self and Identity Presentation.

    Self and Identity PowerPoint: Alternative version
    Alternative version…

    However, if you’d prefer an alternative version, this is one I’ve changed slightly to present what I think are a slightly more-positive set of whole-class outcomes:

  • Be able to identify what different theories say about identity(E-D)
  • Be able to explain why different theories explain identity as they do (C-B)
  • Be able to critique the various sociological theories on identity (B-A)
  • As they say, you pays your money (or, in this case, don’t pay any money because of the kindness of the author in sharing their creation) and you makes your choice…

    Ashampoo Office Suite

    Friday, February 14th, 2020

    A useful Suite of programs – Wordprocessor, Presentation software and, errm, Spreadsheet – that may be just what your students need, particularly if money’s tight…

    This free Office Suite consists of 3 programs for precisely no money.

    Which is nice if you want, but can’t afford, a Microsoft Word-compatible Wordproceser (Textmaker) and / or PowerPoint-compatible Presentation software (the imaginatively-titled Presentations). There’s also an Excel-compatible Spreadsheet (PlanMaker), but that’s not something anyone really wants to either think or talk about.

    Textmaker is a fully-featured Wordprocesser that will do pretty-much whatever teachers or students need to do by way of everyday formatting, checking and saving text, either in its native format or as a Word document. It doesn’t support the latest version of Word so some esoteric features that you rarely, if ever, use (probably stuff like shaded tables) aren’t supported. You can, however, export documents as pdf files. Which is probably more useful than it sounds.

    Presentation software…

    Presentations: As long as you’re not looking to do anything too sophisticated with this PowerPoint clone it will serve you well. Anything that simply involves putting text and graphics on a screen to create a slideshow is just fine-and-dandy and you can export your finished presentation in a PowerPoint-compatible format – although, again, it doesn’t support the latest features of the latter (good luck trying to import mp4 video…).

    Overall, the Suite clearly has some limitations:

  • In terms of functionality it’s around 5 or 6 years behind the (Microsoft) times. In relation to Wordprocessing this isn’t too much of a problem – when you think about it, how many of the latest bells’n’whistles do you ever really use? – but you’ll probably find Presentations a bit more limited and limiting if you want to do anything too sophisticated or cutting-edge (i.e. anything more than combine text with graphics).
  • In terms of look and feel, the Suite is a little more problematic – it has the look and to some extent the feel of Windows software that’s a good 10-years behind the times. Whether or not that’s important to you, I don’t know.
  • On the plus side, it’s free, will probably do just about everything you want a wordprocessor / presentation program to do and without all of the Microsoft bloatware “features” it’s pretty lean: you can put the whole Suite on a USB stick and run it from there if you need portability.

    While it’s not going to win any prizes for either looks or cutting-edge features, Ashampoo Office Suite is something you might like to consider if you’re on a limited – or indeed no – budget.

    Crime and Deviance Resources

    Thursday, February 13th, 2020
    Globalisation and Crime

    For some reason I seem to have collected quite a lot of crime and deviance resources that are just sitting-around taking up space on my hard drive when they could be doing something useful like helping students revise or teachers plan lessons.

    And from this intro you’ll probably have guessed that what follows is an esoteric – not to say serendipitous – collection of resources (Presentations, Worksheets, Booklets – there’s even a Quiz in there somewhere) that I’ve bunged together under a general heading (“Resources!”) and posted on the web.

    And because there’s quite a lot of stuff I’ve generally kept description to a minimum – partly because if something looks even vaguely interesting you can download it and assess it for yourself and partly because it’s a bit of a chore and I’m making the space to spend a bit of Quality Time with Teddy my dog.

    So, in no particular order of quality or significance:


    Has the position of children within the family and society changed?

    Wednesday, February 12th, 2020
    Changing Childhood?
Click to download PowerPoint presentation.

    Following from – and in some ways complementing – the Family and Household Revision Guide I posted yesterday comes this Childhood PowerPoint Presentation, authored by Lisa Wrigglesworth, that provides an overview of some of the key ideas and concepts in the sociology of childhood. These include:

  • march of progress thesis
  • child-centred families
  • toxic childhood
  • conflict: inequality and control
  • age patriarchy
  • the new sociology of childhood.
  • The objective is to examine the question of whether or not the position of children within the family and society has changed and, if so, to what extent?

    Although the Presentation was created in 2017 a lot of the references are slightly-dated – and while this doesn’t invalidate the observations made you might want to add one or two more contemporary pieces of research to bring things up-to-date.

    Family and Household Revision Guide

    Tuesday, February 11th, 2020
    Family Revision PowerPoint
Click to download

    This is an extensive PowerPoint Presentation I’ve picked-up from somewhere (who knows…), stored on a hard drive and rediscovered when looking for something else.

    So, no surprises there.

    It is, though, fairly recent (probably 2017) and reflects the content of the latest AQA Specification – which is a little more unusual.

    I’ve no-idea who put it together – which is a shame because it’s a bit of a labour of love covering 70 informative and colourful slides split into 6 sections. These cover:

    1. Couples: the domestic division of labour, resources and decision-making, personal-life perspective on money, domestic violence.

    2. Childhood: social construction of, globalisation, history, changes in position, the future of childhood.

    3. Family Theories: Functionalist, Marxist, Feminist, Personal Life perspective (Interactionist).

    4. Demographic Changes: Births, fertility, death, ageing, migration.

    5. Changing family relationships: divorce, partnerships (marriage, cohabitation), parents and children, step-families, ethnic families,

    6. Family Diversity: Modernism and nuclear families (Functionalism, New Right), postmodern families, personal life perspective.

    While the Presentation’s aimed at a very specific UK Sociology Specification with its own particular quirks (such as an insistence on rebranding action approaches to family life as “the sociology of personal life”) there’s enough general information in the Presentation to make it worthwhile for teachers of other Specifications, such as OCR, Eduqas or CIE.

    Just chop-out the slides you don’t need.

    Discovering Psychology

    Monday, February 10th, 2020

    Discovering Psychology was “A video instructional series on introductory psychology for college and high school classrooms and adult learners” consisting of 26 30-minute TV programs narrated by Philip Zimbardo and produced in association with the American Psychological Association.

    The programs were originally aired in 1990 and a set of “updated resources” to accompany the programs were created in 2001. Although they’re obviously a little dated, both technologically and pedagogically, in some respects, in others they represent an interesting resource for teachers and students alike.

    I don’t know where the original films now reside, but it’s possible to find some of the programs on YouTube if you want to search for them. This, for example, is an episode called the Responsive Brain:

    While whether any search is going to be worth the effort is a moot point, the resources now available probably are worth exploring for their mix of Notes, classic experiments and key word glossaries.

    Darts is a Feminist Issue

    Monday, February 10th, 2020

    For many of us, our perception of Darts – if we give it any thought at all – is probably of large, sweaty, men in smoke-filled pubs with a pint in one hand and a miniature arrow in the other trying desperately to “hit a double out” and failing miserably.

    And yet Darts, as seemingly one of the last bastions of working class masculinity – and possibly the only legitimate world sport that allows its participants to take drugs (alcohol) during play – has, somewhat counter-intuitively, been at the forefront of challenging gender stereotypes of masculinity and femininity by allowing men and women to compete equally alongside one another in major championships.

    In a (sporting) world characterised by gender apartheid, this is somewhat notable.

    And thanks to the efforts of Fallon Sherrock, the first woman to beat a male opponent in a Professional Darts Corporation World Championship match, the sport has arguably entered the realms of feminist iconography.

    All this has lead full-time darts-aficionado and sometime sociology teacher Liam Core to put together this short package of lesson resources (a PowerPoint Presentation, Background Article and Related Questions) exploring different forms of feminist theory and how they can be related to Sherrock’s achievements.

    Reasons for Declining Divorce Rates

    Thursday, February 6th, 2020

    Historically, the study of divorce rates at A-level has generally been considered in the context of the “decline of the western family” thesis. This, in very broad terms, argues that rising levels of divorce and cohabitation, coupled with falling rates of marriage, add-up to a “crisis of convergence” in family life: one where falling marriage and rising divorce gradually come together to the point where we witness, according to some New Right politicians and theorists, the “death of the conventional (nuclear) family” – the significance of which, among many other things, is the creation of a wide range of “social problems” – from educational underachievement to crime.

    This general thesis, particularly in the last 30 or so years of the 20th century, gained a certain amount of political and sociological traction based on three observable measures:

    1. Declining Marriage: From a post-2nd World War peek of around 425,000 in 1972 the number of marriages in England and Wales fell to around 240,000 in 2019. Although we can add Civil Partnerships to the list, the actual number of these (around 1,000 in 2019) is currently statistically negligible.

    2. Increasing Cohabitation: Around 17% or 3 million families in England and Wales now involve cohabiting couples, living either as an alternative or prelude to marriage.

    3. Increasing Divorce: The post-war period witnessed a huge rise in divorce, from around 15,00 in 1945 to around 150,000 at the start of the 21st century.

    While, as with the case of marriage, there are some anomalies in the general divorce trend caused by changes in the birth rate – such as the mid-1950’s baby boom that significantly increased the population available for marriage (and divorce) – the direction of change was generally and persistently upward.

    At the start of the new millennium, however, something changed.

    In or around 2002/3 the numbers divorcing in England and Wales “peaked” and then began to fall. While marriage rates continued their long, slow and apparently inexorable decline, the numbers divorcing started to fall quite rapidly and significantly.

    And this happened not just in England and Wales but also across Western Europe.

    And North America.

    Divorce, it seemed was going out of fashion in Western societies.

    The question is why?

    Click to find answers…

    Globalisation, Culture and Identity

    Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

    A while ago I posted a piece on cultural differences illustrated by a range of adverts produced by HSBC around 10 – 15 years ago as part of a campaign to position themselves as a “global bank” that understands local cultural differences.

    If you want to explore some of these ideas in more detail – or maybe just want to hammer home the point – this short video looks at a range of cultural differences across the world:

    More recently, the bank produced a new range of adverts that play on a couple of related cultural themes:

    Firstly, ideas about nationality and identity through a short video on the concept of “home”:

    Secondly, a short film that neatly illustrates some aspects of cultural globalisation through the simple device of looking at a long list of the globalised features of UK life – from Columbian coffee through American films to Taiwanese tablets…

    All of these films can be used as a relatively simple, interesting, way to introduce students to some of the major ideas they will encounter when thinking about globalisation and the changes it produces in contemporary societies. But if you want to take things a little further, a couple of things need noting:

    Explore the Mongrel Nation…

    Crime and Criminology: Free the Texts

    Saturday, February 1st, 2020

    Although criminology is a unique field of study focused on all things crime and criminal (yes, really), it invariably incorporates all kinds of sociological and psychological ideas, concepts and theories that makes criminology texts a potentially useful source of information.

    Mainly for teachers but, in some instances, a-level students as well.

    For this reason – and having absolutely nothing to do with the fact that in the course of finding all kinds of out-of-print sociology and psychology textbooks I stumbled across their criminological counterparts – I thought I’d do a post dedicated to all-things-criminal, albeit in the shape of a few orphaned texts that someone might find useful.


    As with previous posts, only two criteria have been applied to the texts: that they were published “this century” (and depending upon which century you think you’re currently living, this may leave a little wiggle room) and they’re out-of-print. While I may or may not have collected a great many books that are currently in-print I’m not going to post them – presupposing I have them.

    Which I most certainly don’t.


    So, moving swiftly on from stuff I most-certainly haven’t found, to stuff I most-certainly have:

    Criminology: This 2006 text covers a lot of crime-related stuff (the clue is in the title) that’s not going to interest a-level social scientists, but there are areas (such as theories of crime, white-collar crime, hate crime, transnational terrorism…) that will.

    Explaining Crime and Its Context: The 7th edition of this text appeared in 2010 and has a couple of areas of major interest – crime statistics, the social distribution of crime, theories of crime – and some areas of minor interest (victimless crime, for example). The chapter on Crimes without Victims and Victims without Crimes is interesting but probably peripheral to most a-level sociology teaching.

    The Criminology of White-Collar Crime: Just about everything you might conceivably want to know about White-Collar crime (and plenty you probably don’t) explored in a variety of chapters by different authors in this 2009 tome. Probably more a reference guide for teachers, though.

    Criminology: A Sociological Introduction: Loads of chapters to interest sociologists from the relatively standard stuff (Functionalism), to the less standard stuff (Postmodernism) and the areas (green criminology, Terrorism, State Crime and Human Rights…) that most current textbooks tend to treat very lightly.

    Sociology of Deviant Behavior: As the title says, this – the 14th edition published in 2011 – focuses squarely on the concept of deviance – from explanations to types and taking in the concept of stigma for good measure. There is, however, a chapter on deviance and crime.

    Globalization & Crime: A useful book for teachers with a bit of time on their hands because this 2007 text goes into a lot of detail about various aspects of criminal globalisation.

    Sage Dictionary of Criminology: Although this just sneaks into the 21st century, it’s a dictionary so that probably doesn’t matter too much. It’s quite comprehensive, though, with each entry given a short overview followed by an analysis of it’s distinctive features and a brief evaluation.

    Clcik for textbook Chapters

    Free Sociology Textbooks: A New Chapter

    Wednesday, January 29th, 2020
    One of the texts looks like this.

    Over the past two or three years I’ve occasionally posted links to free, orphaned, sociology textbooks (by which I mean texts that have either been superseded by later editions or which a publisher has allowed to go out-of-print), mainly in small batches (Free Sociology Textbooks, Sociology Textbooks for Free (quite a clever twist I thought) and the imaginatively-titled More Free Sociology Texts) but also as one-off publications (such as Sociology in Focus for AS  and for A2, or the mega-popular Sociology and You textbook.

    It has, however, been a few months since I last posted anything useful on the Textbook Front, mainly because I’ve been doing other things, but where I come across them from time-to-time I save them up until there’s enough for a decent-length post.

    And also because by listing a few texts at the same time I don’t have to say as much about each.

    But mainly because hunting out orphaned texts isn’t my number-one priority.

    What follows, therefore, is a quick trawl through some of the least-lit areas of the Internet (not really) to shine a light on a few sadly-neglected texts in the hope they might, once more, burn brightly in the eyes of budding sociologists.

    Back to reality, what follows is a list of general textbooks and dictionaries a-level students and teachers might find useful.

    Click here to see the textbooks

    More GCSE Sociology PLC’s

    Monday, January 27th, 2020
    Eduqas SORT PLC

    Following from the original GCSE Sociology Personal Learning Checklist post I’ve found a few more PLC’s for different exam boards. These are a combination of teacher-created PLCs and what appear to be some professionally-created efforts.

    Most follow the familiar “RAG” (Red, Amber, Green) format, or simple variations thereof, but I’ve included a few for the Eduqas Board based around SORT criteria. This is a more-involved technique based around students indicating whether or not information has been:

    Summarised Organised (using RAG technique) Recalled and Tested.


    Key Concepts (SORT)


    PLC1 | PLC2 | SORT

    Crime and Deviance

    PLC1 | PLC2 | SORT



    PLC1 | PLC2 | SORT


    PLC1 | PLC2 | SORT | PLC3


    PLC1 | PLC2 | SORT

    On Being Sane in Insane Places

    Friday, January 24th, 2020
    Rosenhan's Experiment: A new film
    David Rosenhan

    David Rosenhan’s “pseudopatient experiment” is a classic study for both sociologists and psychologists, that raises a range of interesting questions relating to areas like mental illness, labelling theory and ethics.

    Rosenhan’s research was designed to discover if doctors could correctly diagnose mental illness. If they couldn’t, this would tell us something very important about the relationship between mental illness and labelling – that mental illness is not an objective category but a subjective condition; it is, in other words, whatever medical professionals claim it to be – a situation that has hugely-important ramifications for contemporary ideas about crime and deviance, for example.


    Unmasking: The End of Debate?

    Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

    Unmasking is an extreme form of criticism that, in one form or another, you’re likely to have come across on social media like Twitter.

    But while social media may have given Unmasking a new and possibly more-pernicious lease of life, it’s a form of criticism that, as our new film featuring Professor Peter Baehr demonstrates, has been around in both sociology and psychology for far longer.

    Using examples from Brexit to the Moonies and taking-in classical figures such as Marx and Freud on religion along the way, the first part of the film illustrates three main forms of Unmasking:

  • Accusation – an Unmasking technique that forcefully argues ideas are fraudulent, deluded or misconceived, such as to render them not worthy of debate.
  • Weaponisation is a way of accusing somebody in such as way as to argue that their ideas are so far beyond reason they must be totally destroyed.
  • Transposition which argues that although someone appears to be saying one thing, what they really mean is something quite different and altogether more dangerous.
  • The general concept of Unmasking is illustrated through an overview of the work of Marx and Freud in the field of religion and the final part of the film looks at how ethnographic research methods may provide a more-satisfyingly social scientific approach to understanding how and why people hold views that seemingly defy rational explanation.

    Psychology: Attachment and Child Development

    Tuesday, January 21st, 2020
    Attachment and Child Development

    Three short teaching films, now available On Demand, covering different aspects of attachment and child development:

    1. Bowlby: Attachment and Maternal Deprivation [4.33]

    In the 1930s a young psychiatrist noticed how many of the disturbed children he saw had been separated from their parents in early life. This was John Bowlby whose work had a massive influence on how psychologists thought about child development. This film explains the key aspects of his classic theory of attachment: the innate need to bond, the care of an attachment figure and maternal deprivation. An ideal introduction to support students starting this topic.

    2. Mary Ainsworth: The Strange Situation [3.53]

    While John Bowlby focussed on the consequences of a lack of attachment, Mary Ainsworth took a step back and looked at the nature of attachment and famously documented different types. In this film we look at her classic strange situation with film of the experiments and expert comment from three psychologists.

    3. Mind-Mindedness and Attachment Security [4.36]

    Psychologists have long been aware that attachment security may be transmitted from one generation to the next. But how does this happen?  A new idea here is the importance of mind-mindedness, a carer’s ability to tune into what their child may be thinking or feeling. This film looks at Professor Elizabeth Meins’ influential experimental research showing that mind-mindedness is a clear predictor of attachment security.

    Psychology: Aspects of Sleep

    Monday, January 20th, 2020

    Four short teaching films, now available On Demand, covering different aspects of sleep research:

    1. Why Do We Sleep? [4.20]

    We’ll spend about a third of our lives asleep. But why?  Why do we need to sleep? Filmed at a University Sleep Laboratory, this short film demonstrates the effect of lack of sleep and why it is so essential to brain function and, ultimately, to survival.

    2. The Structure of Sleep [2.30]

    Until relatively recently what happens while we sleep was a mystery. But that changed with the advent of polysomnography, the electrical recording of brain activity. This short film provides students with a clear visual introduction to the stages of sleep. It also shows why we can’t fully understand our waking lives without understanding how sleep works.

    3. Insomnia: Causes and Treatments [5.32]

    ‘Insomnia’, says one of the respondents we interviewed, ‘can be as debilitating as a physical injury’. This film looks at the causes of insomnia, the cycle of sleeplessness, and Professor Kevin Morgan explains some of the treatments and their effectiveness.  

    4. Sleep, Memory & Learning [3.32]

    While sleep rests and repairs the brain, it continues to be active and sleep psychologists believe one of the things it’s doing is helping to consolidate memories. This short film looks at Professor Gaskell’s research comparing participants who learn in the morning and are tested in the evening with those who learn in the evening and are tested in the morning after sleeping. It also provides students with very good for advice about the best time to learn new information.   

    Personal Learning Checklists: GCSE Sociology

    Tuesday, January 14th, 2020
    Family PLC

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Crime and Deviance PLC

    What is Sociology?

    Research Methods



    Crime and Deviance

    Mass Media

    Social Inequality


    I’ve since posted a few more GCSE PLCs on a variety of topics (Family, Education, Media etc.) that you can find here if you want them.

    GCSE Sociology Resources

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

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

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

    And free.

    Never neglect the value of free.

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

    See the resources…

    Criminal Profiling: The Movie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read all about the content…

    Sampling Selection

    Tuesday, December 17th, 2019

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

    Sampling Jelly Babies

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

    Click For the Presentations

    Education, Achievement and Class

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Content Overview

    Lord of the Rings: Family Revision Quiz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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