The Blog, now in its 10th year, features resources for teachers and students of Sociology, Psychology and Criminology and contains a mix of Revision Resources, Notes, Lesson Plans, PowerPoint Presentations, Films, Digested Research and more.

Search the nearly 1000 posts if you’re looking for something specific, browse the different Categories for more-general exploration, or simply read the latest posts on the Home Page (and follow the Related Research suggestions at the end of each Post to discover similar Posts).

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British Social Attitudes: Domestic Work

Every year the British Social Attitudes survey asks a representative sample of the population what it’s like to live in Britain” and this year there are a few areas surveyed that might be of particular interest to A-level teachers and students.

The first of these is Gender Roles, a chapter divided into 4 main subsections covering:

As you’ll hopefully not be too surprised to learn, the latter is the main focus of this particular post, partly because the domestic labour debate is an integral part of the Families and Households curriculum and partly because it gives a lead into a dimension of the debate that’s probably unfamiliar to most contemporary students – about which, more in a moment.

If you want to read the Domestic Labour section just use the link above to download it. It’s only 7 pages long but for those who are time and attention poor I’ve also included a summary of the key points to save you having to trawl through 50-odd pages.

In addition, you might find this recent BBC Report on the survey useful – and if you’re in a comparative frame of mind it might be worth looking at the Scandinavian experience by way of contrast.


Colour-Coded Assessment

Understanding Assessment Objectives, as every teacher knows, is a crucial component of exam success.

And a great deal of time and effort is expended inside and outside classrooms up and down the land learning and applying various mnemonics designed to help students structure their answers in ways that cover the required exam AO’s.


While a popular mnemonic like PEEL (Point, Example, Explanation, Link) encourage students to structure extended answers in a way that at least covers the Assessment Objectives, it’s use generally assumes students always understand how and why they’re using it.

And if they’re not clear about what common Assessment Objectives like Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis and Evaluation actually mean in practice, this creates problems. If you’re asking students to apply ideas they don’t necessarily fully understand, all the scaffolding in the world’s not going to make much difference.

This is where a simple colour-coding technique comes into play: to complement your favourite teaching mnemonic in a way that allows you to quickly and efficiently identify whether your students understand what each Assessment Objective actually means when using it in exam-type answers.

As an added bonus this technique also enables you to immediately see which Objectives are being over-and-under used by individual students in their answers – an important, if often  overlooked, consideration in understanding how exam answers are marked.


Start the process by giving your students an exam question that involves some sort of extended writing. This will vary depending on the exam board you use and how you want to build your students up to answering the highest mark questions.

While you could start with a single-paragraph answer, the colour-coding technique works best as a diagnostic tool when you ask your students to write an answer that’s a few paragraphs long. Again, what constitutes “a few” is for you to decide but it shouldn’t be too difficult to assess the level at which your students are currently working and adjust things accordingly.

For the sake of illustration, therefore, let’s assume your students have to write a 4 or 5 paragraph answer that assesses them in terms of three common exam Objectives:

  • Knowledge and Understanding
  • Application
  • Analysis and Evaluation.

Once they’ve answered the question – and before submitting it for marking – get them to highlight every instance of:

  • Knowledge and Understanding in blue.
  • Application in green.
  • Analysis and Evaluation in yellow.

As you mark each student’s work you’ll have an immediate visual representation of what each understands by these terms – and whether or not their understanding is correct.

Colour-coding can, in this respect, be a useful diagnostic tool because it will clearly identify things like students misunderstanding the Assessment Objectives or focusing too much on one Objective to the exclusion of others.

By way of variation you can break-down the AO’s even further (such as Analysis in red and Evaluation in yellow) if you think that will help.

In addition you can get your students to do the colour-coding after you’ve marked and returned their work as a separate exercise.

Collections 4 | Introductory Sociology

At the start of a New Academic Year I thought it might be useful to bring together all the Introductory Sociology stuff I’ve created and posted over the past 10 years.

As you’ll understand if you have a look at the range of resources I’ve interpreted “Introductory” fairly widely – from pretty basic stuff around What Is Sociology? to a variety of different materials covering socialisation, culture and identity at different levels and a few bits-and-bobs around sociological perspectives.

If you’ve followed the Blog for any length of time you’ll probably be aware it’s a serendipitous mix of resources aimed at both teachers (such as lesson ideas) and students (mainly Notes, although there are a few other resources you might like to check out) and this Collection is no different.

So be aware that while there’s probably something here you’re going to find life changing vaguely useful, you may have to sift through stuff that’s not just to find it.

The Collection

Teaching Sociological Perspectives | 2: Into the Multiverse

As you’ll know if you’re up on your Marvel films (or have a passing interest in Ancient Greek philosophy) the concept of a multiverse is the idea that multiple universes exist in parallel with one another, side-by-side as it were, a bit like a 3-dimensional patchwork quilt.

Whether you see this idea as an exciting scientific hypothesis (albeit one that you can’t actually test or, indeed, falsify), an interesting philosophical question or a desperate attempt by massive media conglomerates to retcon the fact that while many of their superheroes clearly exist in the same space and time they all seem blissfully unaware of each other’s existence, is probably only something you can decide.

While the above, with the possible exception of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, raises some interesting sociological questions, of more interest for our current purposes is the fact that:

1. The concept of a multiverse is becoming increasingly well-known, thanks to the pervasive influence of the aforementioned media conglomerates.

2. The concept of separate universes all existing in the same time and space sounds uncannily like the idea of different sociological perspectives – a range of “universes of meaning” that, by-and-large, exist quite independently, more-or-less, of each other.

In other words, if you’re having trouble getting the idea of sociological perspectives across to students you could do worse than use the analogy of “The Multiverse” as a way of helping them get to grips with how and why perspectives as diverse as:

  • Functionalism
  • Conflict Theory
  • Action Theory and
  • Feminism

can all sit alongside each other as different interpretations of the world…

Introduction to Psychology Textbook

I did say there was a lot of text…

This is a free, open-source, psychology textbook similar in scope to the OpenStax Introduction to Psychology text. While the latter is, in my opinion, probably a better option, that’s mainly because the OpenStax text has a more up-to-date feel and isn’t quite so text heavy.

Having said that, if you’re into text-heavy texts this could be a good choice particularly, as I’ve noted, it’s free: so you and your students could happily have a copy each (or even a copy of both) to sit alongside whatever over-priced picture-heavy text you currently use as your main book.

Aside from the massive amount of text etc., this is a specifically Canadian text which uses Canadian spelling (don’t know how important that might be), the content broadly “reflects a Canadian perspective” (whatever that actually means) and the “images reflect Canadian specific content and references”. Which is nice if you’re a big fan of All-Things-Canadian. Or, optionally, you happen to be Canadian.

For everyone else? Maybe not so much?

Although, having said that, the OpenStax text is aimed squarely at a US audience so, as ever when looking at a gift horse in the mouth, you pays your money etc. and mix your metaphors.

One little extra that comes with Introduction to Psychology that might swing things in it’s favour is an accompanying Study Guide containing all kinds of test type questions – True/False, Short-Answer, Fill-in-the-Blank etc.

While the Study Guide contains nothing very sophisticated, it too is free and so not to be sniffed at.


Video Learning: GCSE Sociology

This set of resources produced by Calderstones School seems to have come into being during the recent pandemic when “video learning” was something schools were forced to develop to cover the times when their students couldn’t attend in person.

Most video lessons, I’d hazard a guess, were delivered by platforms like Zoom or, if your institution was really into collaborative stuff, Microsoft Teams. While it was possible to record these sessions I’m guessing it’s fairly unlikely anyone bothered because, with the best will in the world, they’re not likely to repay constant rewatching.

Click here for the Video course

Revision: Rolling the Dice?

Technically it’s a die.
But I won’t tell if you don’t…

As you’ll probably be aware, “asking questions” is one of the main tools teachers have in their imaginary toolbox and research has consistently shown that, done well and in the right hands, it’s an effective way to judge students’ comprehension, test their knowledge and encourage critical thinking.

So, on the basis it’s helpful for teachers to ask questions of their students, it probably makes sense for students to ask questions of themselves. And while self-questioning is generally beneficial at any point in your studies, it’s particularly useful for revision.

And one way to do it effectively is through a process called elaborative interrogation which, despite sounding disturbingly complex, is actually quite simple:

  • elaboration involves developing your understanding of something, such as a concept, theory or method, by explaining it in some way.

  • interrogation is the means to achieving this, by asking yourself questions.

The objective of elaborative interrogation, therefore, is to encourage you to develop your understanding of key ideas (concept, theories, methods or whatever) through a process of self-questioning – one that has two potential benefits:

First, it makes for more-interesting and personally challenging revision. You’re not simply trying to “remember things” – something that can become monotonous and self-defeating (if you lose interest in what you’re revising, revision itself becomes less effective). Rather, you’re trying to actively engage with the materials you need to recall and explain: a process that, almost by definition, helps you retain interest in the things you’re revising.

Second, higher-level exams such as A-levels require you to display a range of skills, such as interpretation, analysis and evaluation, that you need to encourage through your revision. Elaborative interrogation can help you cover these bases by asking three types of question:


Dynamic Learning: Active Learning and Cornell Notes

Dynamic Learning is the series title for a new set films we’re currently developing and rolling-out related to the psychology of learning.

The films are designed to give students practical, science-based, advice about a wide range of study techniques – from how to revise more-effectively using techniques like Spaced Learning and Retrieval Practice to, as with the third film in series, how to take more active and effective notes using the Cornell system.

Rather than mirror the didactic approaches of many past and present study skills films, Dynamic Learning is designed to be:

  • informative – suggesting, for example, key study opportunities students might want to try that are backed by scientific research – and

  • supportive: the focus is on how and why students might like to try different study techniques.

In relation to note-taking – one of the most important skills students need to understand and apply – most of us tend to write simple linear notes.

And while there’s nothing wrong with this method, there is a way to improve the quality of student note-taking that makes it more active, inquiring and revision-friendly.

Without radically changing how they take notes.

It’s called the Cornell Method and it’s been helping to improve academic performance for over 50 years.

This short film takes students through the simple steps they need to follow to transform the way they take notes and improve their chances of academic success.

Check-out the other films in the Dynamic Learning series:

The Power of Habits

Sleep and Memory

Dynamic Learning: Sleep and Memory

Dynamic Learning is the series title for a new set films we’re currently developing and rolling-out related to the psychology of learning.

The films are designed to give students practical, science-based, advice about a wide range of study techniques – from how to take better notes to, as with the second film in series, how to understand and take advantage of the importance of sleep and it’s relationship to memory, learning and recall.

Rather than mirror the didactic approaches of many past and present study skills films, Dynamic Learning is designed to be:

  • informative – suggesting, for example, key study opportunities students might want to try that are backed by scientific research – and

  • supportive: the focus is on how and why students might like to try different study techniques.

In terms of the relationship between sleep and memory, for example, recent scientific research has shown us the benefits of sleep.

And we’re increasingly aware that good sleep is crucial to memory and learning.

Of course, just getting lots of sleep isn’t going to get you good grades. You need to understand how to use a knowledge of sleep to your advantage and this short film reveals some of the simple sleep hacks students can use to improve their academic performance.

Check-out the other films in the Dynamic Learning series:

The Power of Habits

Active Learning: Cornell Notes

Dynamic Learning: The Power of Habits

Dynamic Learning is the series title for a new set films we’re currently developing and rolling-out related to the psychology of learning.

The films are designed to give students practical, science-based, advice about a wide range of study techniques – from how to take better notes to, as with this first film in series, how to develop positive study habits that enhance their learning.

Rather than mirror the didactic approaches taken by many previous study skills films, Dynamic Learning films are designed to be:

  • informative – suggesting, for example, key study opportunities students might want to try that are backed by scientific research – and
  • supportive: the focus is on how and why students might like to try different study techniques.

The first film in the series, The Power of Habits, is a case in point.

While there’s a lot of information swirling around about the study habits students should develop, from the best times to the best places to study, there’s significantly less information about how they can develop the good habits associated with achieving the best grades.

The Power of Habits fills this gap.

In a series of simple steps, this short film let’s students in on some of the secrets of how to develop the kinds of positive study habits that bring long-term academic benefits.

Check-out the other films in the Dynamic Learning series:

Sleep and Memory

Active Learning: Cornell Notes

Collections 3 | Simulations

The third in the series of Collections, following Revision and Learning Mats, this gathers together a range of bespoke and third-party Simulations for your classroom pleasure.

While I’d like to say there’s something for everyone here, that’s probably not true. But there are a number of different sims you can use to bring something a little different to the run-of-the-mill classroom experience.

Trial and Error: Take on the role of a Sociological Detective™ and investigate the Research Process.

Hiding in Plain Sight: More Sociological Detective shenanigans, this time around an investigation of Overt Participant Observation.

Be On the Look Out: As above, but this time the investigation involves Non-Participant Observation.

We Have A Situation: How would your students explain the behaviour of “unruly youth” sociologically?

DEA: Become a Sociological Detective™ and use your investigatory powers to explore Differential Educational Achievement.

Sociological Sims from Cengage: 4 sims that, in the words of their publisher “Build the sociological imaginations of your students by showing them how social structures impact others’ realities”. That may be a little hyperbolic, if I’m being honest.

Marxism Sim: Put your students in the role of owners and labourers to experience a range of basic-but-important Marxist ideas and concepts.

Leave Nothing to Chance: Illustrate differential educational achievement through the mechanism of a lottery… 

An Exercise in Inequality: A “hands-on” introduction to education and social inequality.

Beat the Bourgeoise: A 30-minute sim that gives students an up-close-and-personal experience of social inequality.

The Addiction Simulation: An immersive simulation that covers the psychology of addiction.

Cards, Cakes and Class: Giving your students practical experience of social inequality through the medium of cake.

For My Next Trick: Making research methods and research design a little more interesting (as if that could really be possible).

Trial By Jury: Less a simulation and more a template for creating highly-structured classroom discussions.

The Anomie Within: A simple way to introduce the concept of Anomie.

Window Shopping: Introducing students to the rules of everyday social interaction through a simple social observation exercise.

The Art of Walking: As above, this time by asking students to think about with whom and how they walk.

Cultural Deprivation: Language-based sim demonstrating how the differential ability to learn derives from differences in prior experience. You can also use it to illustrate aspects of cultural capital if that’s your thing.

The Urinal Game: A simple but evocative way to introduce ideas about norms and personal space.

Sociological Scenarios: How to create your own Thought Experiments.

Doing Nothing As Deviance: A relatively safe way to simulate deviance. And the weird ways people respond to it.

Sweet Sampling: Using sweets to simulate sampling.

Sociological Dinner Parties: A sneaky way to get students talking about different sociological perspectives on whatever topic you choose.

An End Has A Start: A different way of teaching you might want to think carefully about.

The Structure of Social Action: Teaching Structure and Action can be difficult. This sim should make it easier.

Visualising Social Mobility: Get your students thinking about social mobility in a way that doesn’t include ladders.

Collections 2 | Revision

This collection of posts focuses more on the process of “doing revision” than the actual content of that revision – the latter is possibly a Collection for another day.

Here you’ll find an eclectic – not to say esoteric – collection of resources designed to aid the revision process: from simple games, hacks, tips and techniques to the much more-serious science stuff around which to build a revision schedule.

Hacks: A range of revision shortcuts brought to you by The Sociology Guy.

Workouts: And from the same source, ideas for structured revision tasks.

Strategy Booklet: A one-stop-shop for a range of revision tools.

Countdown to Revision: Quick-fire film based on a free Revision Poster (and yes, that’s as weird as it sounds) that highlights some revision do’s-and-don’ts for those with very short attention spans.

Methods Revision: A technique for revising research methods.

Study Rocket: Psychology revision site.

Learning Scientists: Short films about the science of learning that are much more interesting than I’ve made them sound.

Revision Diaries: A way to make revision more manageable.

Cherry-Picking: Making revision more-interactive the PowerPoint way.

Revision Notes Creator: Let New technology help you create revision sheets.

The Appliance of Science: How to use retrieval practice and spaced learning.

Tips and Techniques: A bundle of links to sites offering revision tips and tricks.

Revision Game: A classroom game to make revision a bit more exciting.

GrudgeballUK: As above.

Revision Cards: If you like your revision Old Skool, this post’s for you.

Connecting Revision: Using Connecting Walls for revision.

Connecting Revision Too: Some online connecting walls.

Connecting Walls Collection: A large selection of ready-made Connecting Walls.

Keyword Revision Mapping: A revision technique.

Revision Tips: 8 tips for studying smarter, to be precise.

5 Secrets To Successful Revision: A short article with some sensible advice.

More A-Level Sociology Personal Learning Checklists: As you may have guessed, some more PLC’s.

Personal Learning Checklists: A big selection of ready-made PLC ‘s.

Personal Learning Checklist Template: Create your own PLC’s.

Theory / Concept Mapping: Printables that can be used to clarify and organise ideas about key theories and / or concepts in sociology or psychology.

Essay Planning: An interactive lesson about extended writing.

Evaluating Research Methods: YouTube Channel with advice about revising research methods.

How to Slay Your (Exam) Demons: A simple online game that offers up a range of exam tips.

Top Teams: A simple but effective revision exercise.

Personal Learning Checklists: GCSE Sociology: What can I say? Some PLC’s. For GCSE Sociology.

One Pagers: How to condense and focus your notes for revision.

When All’s SED and Done: Revision, someone once said, isn’t just for After Christmas. And this post is designed to show you how to revise and improve your extended writing.

Learning Mats: Generic Version: A simple revision technique.

Memory Clock: A full-blown, tried-and-tested, revision system.

What’s In The Envelope?: A revision / recap classroom game.

Creative Connections: Visual revision technique.

Common Exam Errors: And how to avoid making them…

Transferable Concepts in Sociology: Encouraging students to take advantage of transferrable concepts in their exams.

Psychology Teachers Toolkit: Massive compendium of Psychology-related tips, tricks, techniques, games, sims…

Learning Mat: Paragraph Practice

One of the problems students face when starting an Advanced Level course is that they’re expected to engage with various forms of extended writing (essays, book reports, term papers…) with which they may have previously had little or no experience. And this can be a big step-up for many students.

There are, of course, a range of ways to ease the transition but integrating them into classroom practice can be time-consuming. This is where Paragraph Practice – a hybrid of structure strip and learning mat – comes into play by encouraging students to regularly practice low-stakes writing.

The underlying objective is to get students used to the idea of paragraph writing and stacking:  understanding the structural rules of writing an academic paragraph and using those rules to their advantage by replicating them a number of times to produce an extended piece of writing.

Although this particular Paragraph Practice Mat is designed for A-level students whose extended writing is assessed through a range of objectives (Knowledge, Understanding, Analysis, Evaluation…) the underlying principles are much the same for other exam systems and can be adapted accordingly.

The Mat is designed to be used throughout a course to encourage students to practice writing paragraphs that cover all the required Assessment Objectives and how you use it is, of course, up to you. Some might prefer it as a Starter activity – giving students a question at the end of the previous session, for example, so they can prepare a paragraph answer – while others might prefer to pose the question near the end of a session and students have to complete it in the 10 or 15 minutes before the session ends.

Clcik for how to use the Paragraph Practice Mat

Creating Curious Presentations: the medium is not the message

Download an example…

It’s probably fair to say that when it comes to PowerPoint Presentations the crowd is divided:

On the one hand it can be a very powerful teaching tool with a relatively low learning curve that makes it easy to pick up and produce Presentations without having to wade through pages of instructions or endless “How to” YouTube videos…

On the other, the fact it’s so simple to use makes it easy to produce Presentations that are, with the best will in the world, a little dull because they do little more than repeat whatever a teacher is telling their audience.

The question for me, therefore, is how to take advantage of PowerPoint’s presentational strengths without reducing your audience to passive submission?

And the answer, to contradict Marshall McLuhan, is not to use the medium as the message.

Just because PowerPoint makes it easy to present information in a simple, linear, uncritical way doesn’t mean you have to. PowerPoint also makes it possible to present information in ways that enhance, rather than detract from, the message. And while this is relatively easy in principle, it can be a lot harder in practice (which is probably why so few teachers do it).


Collections 1 | Learning Mats

Activity Mat

Following the unpredicted popularity of our two previous Collections (The Crime Collection and Shortcuts to Sociology), we’ve created a few more Collections that gather related posts on a particular theme together, the logic being to make it easier to find resources grouped around a particular interest.

And while the Search function serves a similar purpose it has a tendency to be a little over-zealous in the results it returns: the resources you’re looking for sometimes get a little lost among the similar-sounding resources you didn’t know you needed and for which you weren’t actually looking. Collections takes the guesswork out of the process by targeting the resources for which you’ve asked (even if you’re not totally sure what you’re asking for…).


We’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, the first Collection involves Learning Mats, a technique that as far as A-level Sociology and Psychology teachers are concerned, doesn’t seem to have made much of a wave – or even a decent ripple come to that – despite having been around for quite a few years.

The beauty of Learning Mats, however, is that they can be used in different ways to fulfil different teaching and learning objectives: some, for example, can be used as Starters to get students to revise what’s been done in a previous lesson, while others are used as glorified worksheets for assessment tasks [sociology-gcse-assessmentmats-sample.pdf]).

Whatever you’re looking for, you might find something interesting / useful in the following:

Learning Mats: A Generic Version: This Mat template takes most of the toil out of creating simple Starter Mats for whatever it is you want to test.

Methods Mat

Learning Mats: Some ready-made Sociology (Perspectives) and Psychology (Approaches, Psychopathology) Mats.

Methods Mat: Designed to help students evaluate different Sociological / Psychological methods.

Revision Workouts: While not a revision mat per se, these ready-made Workouts function in much the same way. Good for retrieval practice throughout a course or revision at the end of a course.

Sociology Literacy Mat: A slightly-different type of Mat involving a collection of tips, prompts, hints and reminders designed to help students get to grips with answering sociological (exam) questions

Psychology Studies Mat: Template designed to help students summarise research studies (can also be used in Sociology)

Activity Mat: Another generic Mat template that allows you to create simple classroom activities quickly and easily.

Progress Mat: A simple way to document learning within the classroom.

Paragraph Practice Mat: A Learning Mat that encourages students to practice paragraph creation. Yes. Really.

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British Social Attitudes: Domestic Work

The latest British Attitudes Survey on Gender Roles (and domestic labour in particular).

This is complemented by a short film (either 30 minutes or the 3 minute extract) on the Wages for Housework movement that developed out of feminist arguments in the early 1970’s.

Colour-Coded Assessment

Colour-coding technique to help students understand exam Assessment Objectives and how to demonstrate them.

Collections 4 | Introductory Sociology

The 4th set of Collections covers Introductory Sociology stuff such as culture, identity, socialisation and perspectives.

Although, when all’s-said-and-done it’s just a handy list of posts overing blog material from the past 10 years it’s quite nice to have it all in one place.

Dynamic Learning: Sleep and Memory

The second film in the Dynamic Learning series looks at the relationship between sleep and memory and shows students how to apply the knowledge of this relationship to their studies.

Dynamic Learning: Sleep and Memory

Recent scientific research has shown us the benefits of sleep. And we’re increasingly aware that good sleep is crucial to memory and learning. Of course,

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