Archive for August, 2019

Global Culture: 3 Views

Friday, August 30th, 2019
Global Culture: Click to download PowerPoint
Convergence and Homogenisation

While there’s probably a general agreement that “globalised cultural forms” – from fast food to films to football – are increasingly coming into existence, students need to be aware there are debates over both the exact forms these globalised cultures take and the impacts they make.

They need to consider this in terms of how local and national cultural forms and behaviours may be changed by globalising tendencies and, counter-intuitively perhaps, how local and national cultural forms and behaviours modify and change various forms of globalising culture.

To this end, this PowerPoint Presentation outlines some of the key features of three different interpretations of the impact of globalised cultural forms:

1. Convergence and Homogenisation: The main thrust of this view is that cultural differences between societies gradually breakdown and, in some cases perhaps, disappear, as societies adopt cultural ideas and attitudes that are broadly similar in style and content. Key ideas here include McDonaldisation, McWorld Culture and Coca-Colonisation – ideas that suggest one of the key drivers of “globalised culture from above” is the behaviour of large-scale global corporations.


Middle Class Identities |2 Cultural Identities

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019
Click to download the Presentation
Disgusted Subjects…

The second of two related “identity” PowerPoint Presentations, (the first looked at occupational identities) identifies four cultural factors – two that could be loosely called “positive” (social and cultural capital) and two that could loosely be called “negative” (disgusted subjects and not being working class) that contribute to the shaping of middle class identities.

The Presentation is, in this respect, indicative of how “two-sides of the middle class identity coin” are related: the negative is a strong driver of the positive in the following ways:

1. “Not working class” is a significant descriptor because while the middle classes have signficant economic advantages that differentiate them from the working classes, they lack the strong wealth foundation of their upper class peers that serves to secure long-term class reproduction. While middle-class parents, for example, may be relatively affluent there is no guarantee these economic advantages can be used to secure the long-term future of their children. There may, for example, be no great body of wealth middle class parents can pass-down to their offspring through inheritance.

The maintenance of a “middle class lifestyle” is also a signficant factor here, both negatively, in terms of an economic drain on resources and positively in terms of “taste” and the development of “taste cultures”.

There’s more if you want to read it…

Middle Class Identities |1 Occupational Identities

Monday, August 26th, 2019
Click to download PowerPoint
Middle Class Occupational Identities

The first of two related “identity” PowerPoint Presentations, this one identifies a number of occupational identities that contribute to the shaping of middle class identities:

  • Professionals
  • Managers
  • Consultants
  • Intellectuals
  • Service Workers
  • As ever, the list is indicative rather than prescriptive, designed mainly to provide a general starting-point for further investigation and discussion.

    In this respect the Presentation also suggests some key features of middle class occupational identities:

  • the importance of symbolic cultural capital (educational and work-based qualifications)
  • personal autonomy
  • decision-making
  • career structures and progressions
  • knowledge work
  • remuneration
  • power and control over others.
  • Each of these – and probably a few others you can think of – is suggested as a possible stepping-off point for any wider discussions / investigations you want to carry-out.

    Social Identities

    While the Presentation isn’t designed to do much more than serve as a way of introduing students to different types of middle class occupational groupings – the semi-legendary “Middle Class Identities | 2: Cultural Identities” will take things a step further once I’ve cobbled it together carefully planned it out – it can also be useful as a way of both thinking about social identities (occupation, along with gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality and disability, is a key social identity in our culture) and moving away from the idea that “identity” is just about “Who am I?”.

    One of the things about identity that tends to get a little neglected at a-level is that it’s also very much about “Who We Are” and, by extension, how this “sense of Us” (the groups to which we belong, aspire to belong to or, indeed, deny us entry) impacts on our sense of individual identity.   While we see this idea most clearly in relation to something like National Identities, it’s also something that can be found in the margins: middle class identities, for example, are just as much bound-up in occupational statuses and achievements as is more-clearly the case with their working class counterparts.

    Types Of Cybercrime

    Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

    Cybercrime, broadly defined as unlawful behaviour involving the use of computers – either as a tool for committing a crime (such as cyber stalking) or as the target of a crime (such as identity theft) – comes in a number of shapes and disguises and this “reasonably short” (i.e. quite long) PowerPoint Presentation can be used to introduce some of the main types.

    These include, in no particular order:

    Types of Cybercrime PowerPoint: click to download
    Types of Cybercrime
  • Hacking
  • Viruses
  • DDoS Attacks
  • Phishing
  • Spamming
  • Jacking
  • Cyber Stalking
  • Identity Theft
  • Slicing
  • IP Theft
  • As you may have noticed these types all involve, to greater or lesser extents, access to a networked system of computers – hence the idea of cybercrime: “crime that takes place in cyberspace”: pretty much a defining feature of contemporary computer crime.

    Read more stuff about the presentation

    Getting Your Revision On: The Appliance of Science

    Thursday, August 15th, 2019

    Although revision is probably the last thing on anyone’s mind at the start of a course, the science suggests that taking a structured, long-term, “little and often”, approach is the way to go…

    Retrieval Practice Guide
    Retrieval Practice

    While any revision is arguably better than no revision, I’d also suggest some forms of revision are more effective than others. And if you’re looking at introducing a more-structured approach to student revision in your classroom – one that’s built-in to a course of study rather than bolted-on at the end – you might find ideas like Retrieval Practice and Spaced Study interesting and useful.

    These are ideas I’ve written about in a previous post,  based on the work of the Learning Scientists and the short video-explainers they’ve produced to introduce these ideas.

    read more about retrieval practice

    The Rules of the Game

    Friday, August 9th, 2019

    How “predicted grades” and the “personal statement” contribute to the relative failure of high-performing disadvantaged kids in the “game” of university entrance.

    The Rules of the Game - click to download this pdf document.

    While a-level sociology students do a lot of work on education and differential achievement, the narrative in relation to social class tends to focus on “middle class success”, “working class failure” and the various reasons, material and cultural, for this general situation.

    While this is a useful and valuable focus, it does mean students can lose sight of a further dimension to educational inequality, one that is less visible and less researched but which has significant consequences: how even relatively successful working-class kids still tend to lose-out to their middle and upper class peers in the transition from school to higher education and, eventually, from H.E. to the workplace.

    In “The Rules of the Game“, a recent (2017) Report for the Sutton Trust, Gill Wyness looked at two dimensions of inequality experienced by high-performing students from relatively disadvantaged backgrounds:

    Predicted grades

    While there has, over the past few years, been a great deal of debate about whether University places should be awarded once A-level results are known (the Post Qualification Admissions (PQA) system), in England and Wales the “predicted grades” system (school students apply to University before their A-level grades are known and Universities, in turn, make conditional / unconditional offers partly on the basis of the grades “predicted” by their teachers) is still a crucial part of University application.

    Read on macduff…

    Tech4Teachers: Backchannel Chat

    Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

    YoTeach is a free browser-based Chatroom – think of it as a combination of a Facebook Group – people with a shared interest  – and text messaging if you’re not over-familiar with an idea whose heyday was probably somewhere around the beginning of the century.

    Basically, it’s a private online space (or room in YoTeach parlance) you create, give others the entry password to and exchange real-time text messages with whoever’s present at the time.

    So, you may well be thinking, what’s the point of a tech that’s ancient in internet terms and which functions very much like the most popular social media site in the known universe?

    Well, chatrooms can be a little more private and exclusive, hence the idea of a “Backchannel” – a private form of communication that operates beneath more overt forms of communication (such as a classroom).

    With a chatroom you only invite those you know or who are present for a particular purpose, such as exchanging teaching ideas, discussing homework problems, reviewing lessons and notes or whatever you decide is the primary purpose of the room (or rooms – you may want to create different rooms for different purposes) you set-up.

    Backchannel chat has, in this respect a number of potential uses:

    1. Teacher – Teacher networks where teachers from different schools / colleges meet to exchange teaching ideas, tips, or simply to support each other. This can be particularly useful if you’re the only subject teacher in your institution or you’re teaching something like sociology as a second subject.

    2. Teacher – Student groups allow teachers and students to interact as necessary outside classes. This may include things like homework help, personal coaching for students who are finding things difficult or simply a little extra class teaching on a difficult topic. While these types of groups may be set-up to cater for a particular course in a single institution it’s also possible for different schools and collages to “meet” in this virtual space, so that students from different institutions can discuss common problems and different experiences, exchange ideas, notes and the like.

    3. Student groups for things like end-of-course revision study, discussing areas of the course that are causing problems and the like.

    Next: setting up your chatroom