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Archive for February, 2018

Activity Mat

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

To accompany the Generic Learning Mat, I’ve created a complementary Activity Mat focused around a few simple activities that range from practicing paragraph writing to making synoptic connections between concepts, theories and methods.

This particular Mat contains 5 activities and it’s again been created in PowerPoint (use the Export function if you want it in a different format, such as a pdf file or Word document) to make it easy to edit. You might, for example, use a different mnemonic for the Paragraph Practice activity or want to replace some or all of the activities I’ve chosen with your own. (more…)

Learning Mats: A Generic Version

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

The Learning Maps we’ve previously posted have rightly proven popular, both because of their quality and because they meet a need for tools that help students to structure their work in a simple and effective way – one that has the added bonus of providing a tightly-organised and highly visual method of revision.

Good as they are – and I’d certainly recommend downloading them to see how they meet your teaching needs – they’re generally designed for a specific (AQA) Specification and while they can be edited to meet the requirements of different Specifications, students and teachers, this involves time and effort that might not always be readily available.

This led me to wonder about creating a generic “one-size-fits-all” version of the Mats – one that involved teachers doing absolutely no work whatsoever in terms of creating Mats that could be used in a variety of situations and ways across a range of different Specifications.

What I’ve tried to do in this Mat Template, therefore, is focus on what I think are the key elements students would need to cover for a good knowledge and understanding of a concept, theory or method (although, to be honest, I’m not sure about how well the version I’ve designed would work with the latter). In basic terms, this might involve:

• Describing a concept / theory / method.
• Identifying its key proponents, critics and studies.
• Identifying its strengths and weaknesses.

(more…)

Why Did No-One Help James Bulger?

Monday, February 26th, 2018

“We’ll probably never really know what made two 10 year olds, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, abduct, torture and then kill two year old James Bulger on a terrible February day a quarter of a century ago.

But there’s another question arising from the James Bulger murder that has implications for all of us.

Why did no-one intervene to help the defenceless toddler? “

In this short article, “Why Did No-One Help James Bulger?”, Steve Taylor looks at the case in the context of Bystander Intervention.

Learning Mats

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

Learning mats – originally laminated sheets containing simple questions, learning prompts and drawing spaces – have been around for some time at the lower (particularly primary) levels of our education system, but with the increasing interest in Knowledge Organisers, which in many respects they resemble, they’re starting to gain some traction at both GCSE and A-level.

Having said that, I’ve only managed to find a couple of examples of their use in A-level Sociology and none at all in Psychology. This may reflect a lack of knowledge about Learning Mats, a lack of interest in their application to A-level study or, more-likely perhaps, a lack of time to create them.

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The Memory Clock

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Although revision, in all its different forms and guises, is an integral part of any a-level sociology (or psychology) course it’s sometimes difficult to know how to help students revise in the most efficient, effective and productive way – and this is where the Memory Clock comes into play.

The Memory Clock is a revision system developed by Dr Caroline Creaby of Sandringham School, a mixed Comprehensive situated in St Albans, Hertfordshire that’s fast-developing into a hot-bed of interesting teaching and learning research led by practicing teachers.

If you want to know more about the work they do inside and outside of the classroom have a look at the Sandagogy web site. The excellent Learning Journals they publish are well worth a read.

Anyway, back to the main point of this post.

The Memory Clock is an easy-to-learn revision routine designed to help students structure their time in such a way as to make revision focused and productive. The pdf I’ve posted is a cut-down version of Training Manual that focuses on three things:

1. The various elements in the clock.

2. A short explanation of these elements.

3. A practice session based on a Sociological question. Although this example is “the future of childhood” you can obviously change this to whatever question you want your students to practice. Similarly, if you’re teaching Psychology just substitute your own question of choice.

Try it.

You (and your students) won’t regret it.

Update

If you want to save a bit of time (pun intended) there are a lot of “Memory Clock Templates” dotted around the web. Given the constraints imposed by having to stick to a clock system, however, these are much-of-a-muchness, so there’s probably no great advantage to be had searching for them. However, since some kind of pre-prepared template is better than none (unless you’re really into revision procrastination – making the materials you need to “properly revise” means you have to spend less time actually doing the boring revision part) I’ve found some examples you might find helpful:

Revision Clock PowerPoint
Revision Clock Picture
Revision Clock PowerPoint templates (a selection of slightly different templates).

 

Student Feedback Form

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

We’ve added a new category to the Blog called “Toolbox” (just click the drop-down menu in the Categories section on the right-hand side of the Home page to find it) to act as a repository for posts relating to the nuts-and-bolts of teaching. While these posts still appear, as normal, in the page timeline and can be keyword-searched, it should make it easier for teachers to find resources aimed at the mechanics of classroom teaching.

This, for example, includes things like lesson plans, knowledge organisers, revision materials and so forth, designed for teachers to take, use and adapt to their own particular circumstances and needs.

Although I’d been mulling this addition over for some time (the pace of change can be somewhat glacial – or, as we prefer to call it, considered – over at SCtv Towers) it was finally prompted by an example of a student feedback form posted on Twitter (unfortunately I forgot to note its source so I can’t give credit where it’s due. If you see and recognise your work, please let me know).

It struck me as simple, elegant and potentially very useful for both:

• students: they get an immediate, visual, indication of what they’ve done well and
• teachers: it’s a consistent and time-saving form of feedback.

I was impressed by the form and so decided to “make one of my own” based around the general principles indicated in the post. It’s more-or-less the same, although I’ve:

• removed a section on a student’s “predicted grade” and how effectively or otherwise they are working towards it (mainly because it’s not necessarily relevant for all schools).

• added a comment section where student and / or teacher can indicate what needs to be done to improve subsequent work. Although this is potentially very useful it might be time-consuming for teachers if they have a lot of students.

I was going to call this a “Simple Student Feedback Form” but then realised this makes it sound like a feedback form for simple students, whereas it’s actually just a simple way to give your students structured feedback quickly and effectively: when marking a piece of work the teacher simply highlights the relevant comment for whichever category and mark band the answer falls.

Anyway, I’ve created two versions of the form for you to download (or ignore as you see fit):

1. A completed form that includes mark bands.

2. A completed form without mark bands. You can use the annotation tools in Adobe Reader to add your own spread of marks for different types of assessment.

Knowledge Organisers: Media and Methods and Education

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Back by popular demand and with a brand-spanking new set of Tables covering media, methods and education. Each Unit is by a different author and the quality is, at times, variable.

Media

These are pdf files so unless you’ve got a programme that will edit them you’re stuck with the information they have to offer. That said, they’re fairly recent (2015) and so are probably reasonably up-to-date and in line with the latest Specifications. There is, unfortunately, no indication of authorship…

Ownership of the mass media
New media, globalisation and popular culture
Selection and presentation of news and moral panics
Mass media and audiences
Representations of the body
Representations of ethnicity age and class

Methods

These are a little older (2009) and again authorship is a little hazy. On the plus side they’re in Word format so they can be easily edited if necessary.

Experiments and Questionnaires
Interviews
Observation and Secondary Sources

Previous Tables you might find useful:

Table 1.

Table 2.

Table 3.

Education

Again, not sure who created these or indeed when they were created. However, they are in Word format if you want to edit them.

Functionalism and Marxism
Feminism, New Right, Interactionism
Cultural and Material Factors

Previous Tables you might find useful:

Table 1.

Table 2.

 

Yet More Sociology Knowledge Organisers

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

The Learning Tables and Knowledge Organisers we’ve recently posted were all for the AQA Specification and while there’s a good deal of crossover between this Specification and OCR I thought it would be helpful to those following the latter if they had some KO’s to call their own.

These Organisers, all produced by Lucy Cluley, are, however, slightly different in that while some – mainly those for Research Methods – are complete, the remainder are blank templates. That is, while the author has designed various categories in areas like Crime Reduction Techniques or Research Methods, the actual content is up to you – and / or your students – to create.

While this has an obvious downside (someone else hasn’t done the work…) it does open-up interesting possibilities for revision work with your students, either individually or as a whole class.

In relation to the latter you’ll note that most of the blank templates are in PowerPoint (PP) format but if you want to use them with individual students simply use the PowerPoint Export function to save them as pdf files.

(more…)

More Sociology Knowledge Organisers

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Knowledge Organisers, you may or may not be surprised to learn, are the classroom requirement de nos jours and while some (looking at you Michaela Community School) may like to casually lay claim to the concept / format as being something radically new and different they’ve developed, it really isn’t.

Here, for example, is one I made earlier (about 20-odd years earlier…) and if past experience is anything to go by I probably stole the idea from someone else (or, as I like to think, my efforts were influenced by those of others).

Be that as it may, if you’ve landed here looking for Knowledge Organisers, here’s another batch I’ve managed to find using my finely-tuned Sociological Sensibility (or “typing stuff into Google to see what I can find” as it’s more-commonly known. Probably).

These KO’s are slightly different to the various Learning Tables (LT) we’ve previously posted, but they are, to-all-intents-and-purposes, the same in terms of what they exist to do.

You will find, if you compare the two (otherwise you’ll never actually know), this batch is a little less ambitious in scope and design than the previous LT’s, so it may be a case of choosing which suits you and your students and sticking with those. Or not as the case may be.

Although the original files I found were in pdf format, I’ve converted them to Word so that you can more-easily edit them if you want to. The only difference between the two files is that rounded bullets in the pdf file have been converted as square bullets in the Word file.

(more…)

Managing Crime: Situational Crime Prevention

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

More Crime and Deviance pages from the University of Portsmouth, where this time the focus is on situational crime prevention. These pages are mainly based around the work of Hough, Clarke and Mayhew (1980) and Clarke (1992) that situated the idea of crime prevention around three broad strategies:

• Increase the effort
• Increase the risks
• Reduce the rewards

While there are some observations about the theoretical basis of Situational Crime Prevention – including a short section on Routine Activities Theory that we’ve previously mapped visually – most of the pages are devoted to examples of the practical implementation of the various crime prevention strategies identified by Clarke (1992). If you want a visual representation of these strategies that complements the following pages, this PowerPoint is one we posted earlier. You’ll notice a slight mismatch between the PowerPoint and the Strategies listed below that comes about because the PowerPoint, by Cornish and Clarke (2003), has updated the “broad strategies” by adding two more: “Reduce stimulus” and “Remove excuses”.

Techniques

1. Target Hardening

2. Access Control

3. Deflecting offenders 

4. Controlling Facilitators

5. Entry/Exit Screens

6. Formal surveillance

7. Private Security

8. Citizen Patrols 

9. Citizen surveillance

10. CCTV

11. Surveillance by employees

12. Natural surveillance  

Update

I’ve managed to find a link to the Menu System used by these pages which means you can access them all relatively easily without having to go to each individual page.

If the page gives you an access error, simply refresh it and all should be well.

 

Discovering Sociology and Psychology

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

If you’re an a-level sociology or psychology teacher / student an obvious first-port-of-call for inspiration and resources, aside from the Exam Board, is likely to be the websites of the British Psychological and British Sociological Associations – and both provide a range of materials that are worth exploring (and some that, quite frankly, aren’t…).

Psychology

The BPS, for example, has a diverse and extensive range of useful stuff, broadly categorised in 3 overlapping areas:

1. The Psychologist is an online magazine that covers all things psychological – debates, reviews, articles and the like – in an a-level friendly sort of way. There’s also access to the BPS “History of Psychology” online interactive Timeline and a link to:

2. The Digest  which, as the title suggests, consists of academic studies “digested” (i.e. most of the tedious, difficult and largely incomprehensible bits removed, leaving just the stuff students need to know). Although it’s helpful that each article links to the original research this is normally just to the abstract – if you want access to the full research you have to pay for it. However, if you do want to read the original study it’s always worth doing a search on the title because, this being the Internet, there’s always a reasonable chance that it’s been posted somewhere for free.

3. PsychCrunch podcasts are the third element in the BPS triumvirate likely to interest a-level teachers. This section contains a selection of 10-minute podcasts on a range of topics and issues. Most seem to be aimed at a general audience, but there are one or two a-level teachers / students might find useful.

Sociology

Somewhat perversely, the BSA site doesn’t have the extensive range of resources of its psychological counterpart, but what it does have are two sections devoted explicitly to a-level sociology:

1. Discovering Sociology is a short section with two items:

What Is Sociology has a range of short articles looking at various aspects of what sociology is and . On the basis that if something’s worth doing once it’s probably worth doing twice, there’s also a completely different “What is Sociology” section on the main site that covers stuff like the Origins of Sociology, among other things.

Sociology in Action provides half-a-dozen very short (and I do mean short) examples of sociological research in areas like the family and the media). Unfortunately it all seems a little half-hearted and not particularly useful…

2. Teaching Resources, on the other hand, is likely to prove much more useful. The section has a drop-down menu containing subheadings for all the main areas of a-level sociology (education, methods, crime etc.) and this links to pages containing the free resources.

Research Methods, to take one example, has resources on The Hawthorne Effect, Correlation vs. Causality, Validity and Reliability and more, while Theory has materials on all the major sociological perspectives.

Each resource is built around some form of short exercise / lesson suggestion. This might be a simple experiment, article to read or video to watch:

Reliability and Validity, for example, suggests a simple, but quite effective, classroom measuring exercise to firm-up the difference between the two concepts.

Gender and Crime, on the other hand, points students towards a couple of online articles to read, from which they have to “create a table that outlines trends pertaining to women as victims of crime, women as suspects, women as defendants, women as offenders and women as CJS staff”.

Postmodernism is based on students watching a short YouTube video and using it to identify some of the key features of postmodernism, which is quite a nice, simple, start (and edges towards a bit of flipped teaching). This then morphs into looking at the media and religion from a “postmodern perspective” through a couple of classroom applications.

Although none of the resources on offer are particularly ground-breaking or earth-shattering but at least they’re free and it never hurts to check this kind of stuff out when you’re in search of inspiration…

Shortcuts to Crime and Deviance Vol. 2: Social Theory and Crime

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Three new films for teachers of Crime and Deviance.

Availability:
On Demand (either 48-hour rental or to Buy)
On DVD

Back in the day we released Shortcuts to Crime and Deviance Vol. 1 with the intention of following it with a second volume (provisionally – and somewhat disarmingly – titled “Shortcuts to Crime and Deviance Vol. 2“).

While the intention always stood – hence this current post on the long-delayed second volume – we got a bit side-tracked out of Sociology and into Psychology for a few years, mainly because even though we’re firmly based in the UK, much of our distribution and sales occur in North America. And our main American distributor was crying-out (not literally) for content.

As someone with a Sociology background who’s never studied anything more than “Social Psychology” (and then only at the level of “Is Goffman a sociologist or psychologist?”) it was actually a pleasant surprise to discover a “new subject” but the intention was always to make further volumes of Crime and Deviance. And so it has come to pass.

Although we’re still making Psychology films we decided the time was finally right to write some scripts and film some film in order to produce Vol. 2.

So that’s what we did.

We’ve put together three films to introduce some major sociological theories of crime – Strain; Labelling; Space, Place and (Broken) Windows (Right Realism) – with the aim being to:

1. Introduce and explain key theoretical ideas.
2. Identify key strengths and weaknesses.
3. Provide contemporary illustrations, examples and applications.

(more…)