Archive for December, 2018

Sociology Literacy Mat

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

Although I’ve created my own and posted a few examples of Sociology Learning Mats, I hadn’t, until Liam Core sent me this example, come across the idea of a Sociology Literacy Mat – a collection of tips, prompts, hints and reminders designed to help students get to grips with answering sociological (exam) questions. This particular Mat includes brief advice on things like:

• Constructing answers
• Examples of evidence
• Spelling sociological terms
• Question Command Words
• Key terminology
• Connectives
• Elaboration tips.

I’ve left the Mat in its original PowerPoint form because this format is easy to edit if you want to personalise the Mat to your own particular specification or if you simply want to display the Mat for your students on a screen.

If you want to print or distribute the Mat to individual students, just use the PowerPoint Export function to convert it to an A4 pdf file.

This format can be useful if you get your students to do timed essay questions in class: if you laminate the Mat, for example, its then available for students to use for reference as they practice answering questions.


Eleanor Johnson has created a ‘Write and Speak Like a Sociologist‘ vocabulary strip, based on the Sociology Literacy Mat, designed to help students improve the structure and flow of their answers through a range of handy writing prompts.



A-Level Evidence Bank Template

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018


Instructions and Example

When it comes to a-level exam success, one of the key things is preparation: the ability to turn the mass of disparate information students have dutifully recorded over the course of a couple of years into something manageable from which they can revise.

And however your students choose to revise – from my preferred-option of “little-and-often” to the ever-popular “cram it all in between the end of the course and the start of the exam” – you can help and encourage them using this latest resource from Liam Core

The Evidence Bank is a deceptively simple idea that involves getting students to record and revise details of research studies as and when they encounter them.

In other words, it’s a way of encouraging students to spend a little bit of time after, say, a class has finished, to record and review a study or studies to which they’ve been introduced (although there’s no reason why this couldn’t be built into the normal teaching process if you think that’s what your students need). This record then forms part of an expanding Evidence Bank from which it should be possible to revise easily and effectively.

The Evidence Bank format also encourages students to think about where the research can be applied to different parts of the course, which is always a bonus when thinking about transferrable knowledge. Noting some major strengths and weaknesses of a study is also, of course, a quick and simple way to introduce evaluation into an argument.

Theory Bank Template

Although the Evidence Bank template was specifically created to help students collect and organise information around “research studies as evidence” it struck me that the general format could probably be applied to other areas of an a-level course, such as theories or even concepts. Students could, for example, create a Theory Bank to run alongside and complement their Evidence Bank.

The original document was formatted as “3 tables per A4 page” and whileI’ve kept examples of this formatting I’ve also added a couple of different types – an A5 “2 tables per page” format and an A4 “1 table per page” – just to give you a few more options if you want them.

I’ve also kept the original Word document format in case you want to edit the template to your own particular needs or requirements.

Although the template was originally designed for A-level Sociology students I see no reason why it couldn’t also be used by Psychology students.

Sociology A-level Student Feedback Form

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

From time-to-time teachers send me resources to share with other teachers.

Which is nice.

And also very useful because it’s odds-on that if you’ve developed a resource that saves you time or helps your students in some way, other teachers will find it useful too.

This particular resource, created by Liam Core (you can find him on Twitter if you find it useful and want to thank him personally) involves a couple of student feedback forms designed to standardise the information you give to students about their work.

Although it’s similar in intent to the kind of feedback form I’ve previously posted this is a much more detailed set of responses aimed at giving students very clear and concise information about what they’re doing right and, perhaps more importantly, what they need to do to improve their essay-writing performance.

Although the forms were originally designed for the Cambridge International A-level Specification the areas they cover (Knowledge and Understanding, Interpretation and Application, Analysis and Evaluation) can be easily edited to bring them into line with alternative A-level Exam Board Specifications. Although these two forms cover “essay writing” they can be easily edited to reflect a range of question types.

Similarly, the two sections covering “What you did well” and “Things to work on” can be edited to your own particular requirements and feedback preferences.

A-level Sociology 25-mark Feedback Form

A-level Sociology 16-mark Feedback Form