здесь

Blog

GCSE Sociology Freebies

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

The Sociology Support web site has some new and interesting freebies available for GCSE Sociology, the first of which is the Spec Check Pack.

This consists of neat, one-page, summaries of the AQA Specification content (including an indication of Key Studies) that students (and teachers…) should find useful for both tracking progress through the course and for revision.

The Pack has four pdf documents covering Social Stratification, Education, Family and Deviance.

It might also be worth your while picking-up their free “Introducing Structural Theories” resource, again for AQA GCSE, that’s described as:

A lesson for GCSE Sociology students introducing the main principles of structural perspectives”.

This can be downloaded as both a PowerPoint Presentation and pdf file.

As if that’s not enough, there’s also a free CPD “Introduction to teaching excellent sociology for non-specialists” Webinar on Thursday 27th August 4:45-5:45pm.

You’ll find registration details on the web site (plus details of their new online CPD courses if you’re interested).

GCSE and A-level Sociology Podcasts

Thursday, June 18th, 2020

Audiopi are currently offering teachers and students free access to their GCSE and A-level podcasts until 1st October 2020.

After that it will cost around £8 per month for students if you want to continue to listen or £150 per year for institutions (other options may be available but I couldn’t be bothered to explore them).

If you don’t want to sign-up for the free trial right away there are a few sample podcasts available and the couple I’ve listened to are professionally-produced, interesting and informative.

Although I wouldn’t want the more-enterprising (or cash-strapped) among you to get the wrong idea but it seems that you can download each podcast as an mp3 file during your “free trial”…

As well as Sociology you – or your colleagues – might also be interested in the Religious Studies and Psychology podcasts.

These are equally free for the next 3 months.

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.

Introductory

Key Concepts (SORT)

Education

PLC1 | PLC2 | SORT

Crime and Deviance

PLC1 | PLC2 | SORT

Media

Family

PLC1 | PLC2 | SORT

Methods

PLC1 | PLC2 | SORT | PLC3

Inequality

PLC1 | PLC2 | SORT

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

Family

Education

Crime and Deviance

Mass Media

Social Inequality

Update

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…

Podcasts With Pictures | GCSE

Monday, May 20th, 2019

I’ve been meaning to do a post on the growing number of teachers creating video resources for some time and now I’ve finally managed to drag myself away from Far Cry 5 make a bit of time I thought I’d start with a set of GCSE resources from MTO Sociology aimed at the AQA Specification. When I get around to it I’ll do a follow-up post on A-level video resources of which, you might not be surprised to learn, there are many more available.

Anyway, at the time of writing the MTO Sociology YouTube Channel has 15 or so Sociology resources divided into 4 main playlists:

Exam Ready takes you through all the information you need to cover in terms of revision in areas like Methods, Family, Education, Deviance and Stratification. These films are 30 – 60 minutes long.

Themes focuses on concepts (socialisation, gender, class and ethnicity) that crop-up right across the sociology specification and the podcasts focus on how to apply your knowledge of these themes to questions in different areas (such as family or education). These resources are much shorter – between 10 and 20 minutes – to reflect their tighter focus.

Perspectives provides a brief introduction to Functionalism, Marxism and Feminism and how these perspectives can be applied across different areas of the Specification. Again, these are relatively short films that come-in around the 10-minute mark.

Questions and Answers seems to be a bit of a pot-luck resource based on whatever MTO Sociology’s students requested. If you’re having problems understanding concepts like the glass ceiling, for example, this resource will be helpful. If you’re not, it probably won’t. Which isn’t a criticism, more a heads-up. The films in this section are around the 15-minute mark.

Finally, there are a couple more Sociology resources tucked away on the GCSE Humanities playlist that are worth checking-out: How do I answer exam questions? and Model answers and exam feedback.

GCSE Sociology Guides: Family and Education

Friday, August 17th, 2018

GCSE Sociology resources tend to be a little thin on the ground, so it’s always nice to come across decent teacher-created material such as these two bang-up-to-the-moment Revision Guides created by Kate Henney.

The Family Guide is a 25-page document that packs in a whole range of resources covering family types, diversity, alternatives, perspectives, roles and structures (plus some stuff on exam questions and a knowledge organiser…).

The Education Pack Is a 20-page resource covering perspectives, types of school, class, ethnicity and gender, factors in achievement, marketisation and educational policy (plus exam questions and a knowledge organiser).

Although the resources are in PowerPoint format it’s easy enough to save each file as a pdf document using the Export function if you want to give your students copies.

Three More GCSE Sociology Revision Guides

Saturday, May 12th, 2018

These revision guides were created for the WJEC exam board so if you don’t follow this Specification you need to be careful about the areas that might be included in your Specification that are not covered in these guides.

And vice versa, of course. There’s not a great deal of point revising material from these guides if it doesn’t appear on the Specification you’re following. Even though education – like travel – may well broaden the mind, if you’re looking around the Internet for a GCSE sociology revision guide there’s a fair bet you’re not actually looking to do a great deal more than you actually have to…

Keeping this very important caveat in mind, these resources hail from Corby Technical School and while there’s no named author they are dated 2017. This, somewhat unusually, makes them bang up-to-date at the time of posting.

Even if you don’t teach WJEC there’s plenty of information here that you’ll probably find useful, whatever GCSE Specification you follow:

Crime and deviance
Family Life
Society and the Individual

More GCSE Sociology Revision Stuff

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

While it’s possible to put-together a very reasonable – and reasonably comprehensive – set of revision resources from stuff that teachers have put on the web, there are a couple of things you should do before committing yourself to using these materials:

1. Check they are for your Specification – you don’t want to be revising the wrong Spec.

2. Check the Specification year / series to which they refer, particularly if it’s changed recently (over the past year or so). In other words, check the resources cover the newer required material and exclude older, newly-irrelevant material, from your revision.

Guides

These comprehensive resources combine things like notes, activities and advice and generally cover a number of different areas of the GCSE Specification. Three I’ve found are worth a look:

1. Whole Course Revision 2018: This is a serious, 100-page, GCSE Revision Guide, put together by Ian Goddard, that covers:

• Introducing Sociology
• Research Methods
• Family
• Education
• Crime and Deviance
• Social Inequality
• Power and Politics

Unlike a lot of the previous GCSE resources I’ve posted [link] this is primarily a revision schedule rather than a simple list of revision notes (although these are also included). In this respect the Guide covers:

• How to revise
• Revision schedule
• Personal Learning Checklist [link]
• Basic study notes to supplement other reading (the Guide refers to “Collins Revision GCSE Sociology” but if you don’t use this text substituting your usual textbook will be fine)
• Keywords
• How to answer questions
• Past question practice

2. Sociology Revision Guide: Although not as ambitious or comprehensive as the above – the focus is on key terms and Notes covering Methods, Family and Education, plus a short section in exam advice – this Guide by Debbie McGowan is nicely designed and makes a welcome addition to your revision armoury. Presupposing you have one. If not, you can start one with this.

3. Revision Guide for Students: A nicely-designed and cleanly laid-out hyperlinked pdf by Jonathan Tridgell that covers:

• Research Methods
• Socialisation, Culture and Identity
• Family
• Education
• Mass Media

While the focus is on brief revision notes the Guide also includes information on:

• Course structure
• Exam technique
• Revision Tips.

(more…)

GCSE Revision Booklets

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

As with A-level Sociology, I’ve previously posted some links to GCSE Revision Guides and Resources over the past year or so, since when I seem to have picked-up a whole slew of guides and resources that I though it would be good to post.

So here’s the first batch of 10. They’re all in pdf format and I can take no credit (nor indeed blame) for the style and content – it’s a bit of a Curate’s Egg I’m afraid – but there’s something useful in all of them:

Sociology Revision Guide: Mainly brief Notes covering the Inequalities in Society Options, but with a useful section at the end where “Sample GCSE Essays” are analysed and annotated.

General Revision Guide: similar to the above but covering culture, socialisation, research methods and family (the latter ahs much more extensive Notes). Again, there’s a very useful section at the end where “Sample GCSE Essays” are analysed and annotated.

GCSE Revision Guide: Social Stratification, Research Methods, Crime and Deviance, Power and Politics (James Pearson): A set of short Notes on these topics.

Unit B671 Investigating Society Revision Sheet: less a “revision sheet” and more a comprehensive set of Notes for this Unit – Research Methods, Culture, Identity and Socialisation.

Unit B672 Crime and Deviance Revision Sheet: as above but for all aspects of Deviance.

Unit B672 Family Revision Sheet: And the same for the sociology of family life.

Unit 2: Social Inequality, Crime and Deviance, Mass Media (Michael Ellison): some very basic notes.

Mass Media Revision Guide: Lots of Notes covering all aspects of this topic.

GCSE Education Revision (James Pearson): This is a “Revision Activity Booklet” for Education that combines Notes with short exercises and all manner of exam advice.

Unit 2: Crime and Deviance Revision Activities: A whole booklet full of revision activities.

GCSE Psychology Notes

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

As with its sociological counterpart, this is a set of short, to-the-point, GCSE Notes covering a range of topics:

• Aggression
• Development of Personality
• Learning Memory
• Non-Verbal Communication
• Research Methods
• Sex and gender
• Social Influence
• Stereotypes

As with the Sociology Notes these aren’t something that will replace whatever textbooks you use, but it’s a handy resource nonetheless, that will complement your existing resources.

GCSE Sociology Notes

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Although this site describes itself as the UK’s leading educational website for GCSE and A-level it’s a little odd because it looks unfinished – loads of placeholder ”awaiting image” graphics, a Facebook page not updated for a year and the same with its Twitter feed.

However, if you and your students can live with this you’ll find a range of Notes here that are relatively short, to-the-point and cover a number of different Specification areas and topics:

• Introduction to Sociology
• Families
• Education
• Media
• Power
• Social Inequality
• Crime and Deviance
• Sampling techniques

While the material isn’t going to replace your textbooks, it’s a handy resource for students that complements, rather than detracts from, whatever sources you use.

GCSE Psychology: Revision Booklet

Friday, August 11th, 2017

The final offering in this short GCSE Psychology series is a revision booklet by R Cummins of Knowsley College that covers both

Unit 1: Making sense of other people (Memory, Non-verbal communication, Development of personality, Stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination and Research methods). 

Unit 2: Understanding other people (Learning, Social influence, Sex and Gender, Aggression, and Research methods)

The emphasis, as you might expect, is very much on revision and the booklet takes a no-frills approach to the topic through a combination of: 

  • Checklists
  • Notes and
  • Practice exam questions.

  • It’s not the most visually-dynamic offering, but it does the job it sets out to do…

    GCSE Psychology: Unit 2

    Thursday, August 10th, 2017

    Having posted stuff for AQA Psychology Unit 1 it’s probably only fair to do the same for Unit 2 so today’s post focuses on two offerings

    1. Understanding Other People: This resource, created by T Mitchell, consists of information and activities – plus a few revision tips – focused on various aspects of Conditioning. There’s one specific reference to a textbook that you may have to change if you don’t use the featured textbook.

    2. Unit 2 Revision Booklet: Although this offering from Caroline Thomas-Smith covers some of the same ground as the previous booklet, it contains much more besides (from social learning theory through aggression to research methods) and has a much greater focus on revision. It does, however, contain a few activities and an extensive range of exam questions.

    GCSE Psychology: Unit 1

    Sunday, July 30th, 2017

    Having spent the past few weeks furiously editing videos we’re licensing to a couple of British and American publishers, one of the joys of having a bit of spare time is the opportunity for a random-trawl through my hard drives looking for stuff that “might be useful to someone, sometime”.

    The stuff I’ve selected today is a little niche – and you don’t get more niche than GCSE Psychology, unless you count GCSE Sociology, in which case it’s not quite as niche as I might have initially lead you to believe, but still quite niche. Probably. 

    Anyway, since some helpful teachers have taken the time, trouble and effort to create it the least I could reasonably do is post it. You can thank me later.

    Today’s offerings, therefore, are focused around AQA Psychology Unit 1 (Making Sense of Other People) and include: 

    1.     A Revision Booklet covering Memory, Stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination, Non-verbal communication, Personality, and Research Methods. This booklet was created by Caroline Thomas-Smith and the approach adopted here is one of testing student recall rather than trying to provide a comprehensive revision document.

    2.   Personality Key Studies and Key Words created by Kevin White takes a more-conventional approach to revision with this extensive bundle of condensed course notes covering, as you might have been lead to expect, key studies and words. 

    3.     Unlike the previous two offerings, this Personality-focused resource created by T Mitchell is more of a course workbook than revision guide. Although it offers a few revision and exam tips its main focus is on individual classroom activities. The resource makes reference to a couple of specific texts so if you don’t use those texts you will need to substitute your own.

    GCSE SociologyStuff: Roll-it To Recap

    Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

    If, like me, you’re a fan of games and simulations you might find this simple Sociology game from Steve Bishop worth a look.

    While some games, such as the Sociology and Psychology Connecting Walls are best played on-line, this is more a pen-and-sticky-notes effort – a simple classroom activity that’s guaranteed to provide hours of fun, frivolity and furious arguments. Possibly.

    While the rules are rudimentary (“Roll the dice!”. “Answer the question!”) the upside to this is that you can adapt it to your own specific classroom requirements and objectives.

    This particular example is aimed at GCSE Sociology but it’s the kind of thing that could be easily adapted to A-level Sociology (or indeed GCSE / A-level Psychology) presupposing you’ve got the time and energy to create different game boards for different areas of the Spec.

     

    GCSE Psychology Connecting Walls

    Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

    If you’re looking for something a little different to encourage your GCSE students to revise, his collection of Psychology Connecting Walls might be just the ticket.  

    The basic mechanics of the quiz are very simple: each wall has 16 elements that can be grouped into 4 different categories. Once all 4 categories have been correctly identified students then need to say what connects each category. If you’re not familiar with the TV Show (Only Connect) on which the quizzes are based you can watch a short introductory video that demonstrates the game mechanics.

    There are 19 Connecting Walls in this collection, although because they are randomised some categories will be repeated across different walls. 

    There’s no indication as to who created these Walls but if you know, let me know and I can credit them accordingly…

     

    GCSE AQA Sociology Revision Guides

    Friday, January 13th, 2017

    I recently came across this interesting set of guides for the AQA Spec., written by Lydia Hiraide of The BRIT School.

    The guides are dated 2013 – and although I’m not sure how they might fit into the latest Specification, I’m guessing there’s going to be a lot here that’s still relevant.

    You can download the following guides in pdf format:

    Socialisation

    Family

    Education

    Crime and deviance

    Social inequality

     

    GCSE Revision Resources

    Thursday, November 24th, 2016

    While it’s probably fair to say that teacher-created GCSE revision resources are a bit thin on the ground (and take a bit of finding), there are useful resources “out there” if you’re prepared to do a lot of searching. To save you the time and trouble, here’s some I found earlier (the quality’s a bit variable, but needs must etc.):

    gcsemedia

    Unit 1 Revision Guide

    Unit 1: Education

    Unit 2 Topics – keywords / concepts

    Crime and Deviance

    Mass Media Revision Booklet

    Unit B671 (Sociology Basics) Revision: Methods / Culture / Socialisation / Identity

     

     

    Recent Research Digested: Education and the Disadvantage Gap

    Tuesday, September 1st, 2020
    Download as Pdf file

    The Education Policy Institute’s Annual Report into Education in England, authored by Hutchinson, Reader and Akhal (2020), makes a number of observations and assessments about the state of education in England. Most of these do, however, fall into the “interesting but dull” category so I thought I’d save you a lot of valuable time by reading the document on your behalf and picking-out what I think are probably the most useful bits for sociology teachers and students relating to the “disadvantage gap” (the difference in attainment between “disadvantaged pupils and their peers”)

    You can, of course, always read the Report (or the summary if you prefer) for yourself if you’re so inclined, but if you’re not, these are four of the more-interesting bits:

    (more…)

    Lessons In A Tube

    Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

    A YouTube to be exact because this post reintroduces TheTeacherSociology Channel that I first posted about a couple of years ago in relation to their extensive range of (AQA) exam-help videos.

    TheTeacherSociology has recently expanded her repertoire – presumably in response to the current need for on-line teaching – to create a range of tutorials focused on Theory and Methods. While again aimed at AQA teachers / students there’s plenty here that is relevant to teachers / students following other Specifications. They’re generally relevant to any sociology course that includes Theory and Methods (which, all-things-considered, is likely to be pretty much all of them).

    The tutorials tend to come-in at between 25 and 35 minutes (although reliability and validity, for example, is around 5 minutes, probably because once you’ve outlined the basics there’s not a lot more to add) and they can be used as off-the-peg lessons for teachers to use in a variety of ways, depending upon the circumstances in which they find their teaching.

    The tutorials generally follow the “podcast with pictures” format but in addition to the general explanation of a topic the tutorials include activities and exercises (with accompanying resources if necessary) students can do to consolidate their (individual) learning.

    The currently-available tutorials are:

    Postmodernism…

    Postmodernism

    Social Action

    Feminism

    Marxism

    Functionalism

    Reliability and Validity

    Education: 4. Role and Function: 2. Marxism and Neo-Marxism

    Sunday, May 10th, 2020

    marxism

    For traditional Marxism the main role and function of education is cultural reproduction – a concept based on a different interpretation of secondary socialisation to that favoured by their Functionalist (Structural) counterparts. Althusser (1971), for example, argues the reproduction of capitalism involves each new generation being taught the knowledge and skills required in the workplace, as well as children being orientated to “the values of capitalist reproduction”. These might involve ideas like emphasising individual effort and achievement, encouraging inter and intra-group competition (competition between groups – such as men and women – and within groups, such as age categories like young and old) and encouraging ideas about the private accumulation of wealth. In turn, ideas about co-operation, the socialisation of wealth and so forth are marginalised – or rarely, if ever, discussed – within the classroom.

    For traditional Marxists, therefore, schools don’t just select, differentiate and allocate children in the interests of “society as a whole” on some form of meritocratic basis. Rather, their role is to ensure the children of powerful economic elites achieve the levels of education required to follow in their parents’ (exploitative) footsteps. The role of education for Althusser was to educate most people “just enough” to be useful employees and a small number “more than enough” to take up high-powered elite working roles.

    There’s more. Quite a bit more…

    Education: 4. Role and Function: 1. Functionalism and Neo (New Right) Functionalism

    Friday, May 8th, 2020

    functionalism

    Functionalist arguments about the role of education focus on the various ways education links to other social institutions, such as the family and the workplace, as part of an overall network of connected institutions. The education system is, in this respect, conceptualised as a bridge between these institutions in two broad ways:

    1. On an institutional level, modern social systems involve different types of work and must develop ways of allocating and managing human resources to ensure they are used efficiently and effectively (such as not producing too many unskilled workers if there is no demand for their services).

    2. On an individual level education functions as an agency of secondary socialisation to, as Parsons (1959) argues, “broaden the individual’s experience” of the social world and prepare children for adult role relationships in the workplace and wider society.

    Meritocracy?

    For the education system to function efficiently on both levels it must be meritocratic. Rewards, such as well-paid, high status, work, are earned through individual abilities and efforts, such as working hard in school to gain qualifications. Merit-based systems are also competitive: different levels of reward are given for different levels of achievement. Competition must be based on equality of opportunity: if some are disadvantaged, through something like sexual or racial discrimination, society cannot be sure “the best people” occupy the most important, prestigious and well-rewarded adult roles.

    A meritocratic system involves, by definition, different levels of reward for different levels of effort and achievement – which means a major role of education is social differentiation; children have to be “made different”, on the basis of their individual merits, if education is to meet the requirements of a differentiated economy (one with a variety of different types of work, each requiring different levels of skills and knowledge). A meritocratic education system always, therefore, involves inequalities of outcome: children must leave the education system with different types and levels of qualifications appropriate to their efforts and achievements. As Parsons (1959) argues:

    It is fair to give differential rewards for different levels of achievement, so long as there has been fair access to opportunity and fair that these rewards lead on to higher-order opportunities for the successful”.

    Education systems are, in this respect, viewed as functionally necessary for both the individual – as a means of finding their place in wider society – and “society in general” because education performs a vital and necessary differentiation function in advanced industrial societies

    The development of mass education is, therefore, explained in terms of functional differentiation. That is, the idea institutions develop to perform particular specialised functions, such as “work” and “education”. If, for whatever reason, the needs of one institution are not being adequately met, tensions develop within the system that threaten its stability and ability to function – the development of industrial forms of work, for example, required a newly literate and numerate workforce and without these skills the economy could neither function nor develop. Where other institutions, such as the family, cannot meet this new requirement system stability is threatened and equilibrium can only be restored in one of two ways:

  • an existing institution, such as the family or religion, evolvesto perform the required function. This involves differentiation that occurs within individual institutions; different roles need to be developed if the institution is to perform its new function.
  • a new institution, such as formal education, arises to ‘fulfil the need’.
  • While the former is always a possibility, the scale of economic change as societies industrialise overwhelms the ability of existing institutions to cope with the new changes and demands, hence, at some point in their development all societies will necessarily develop a specialised institution (education) as a means of restoring system stability.

    The concept of functional differentiation is particularly important because it suggests how functionalists see the broad relationship between economic and educational (or cultural) institutions; the latter develops and adapts to reflect and support the former. One important dimension to this relationship is that differentiation within the workplace is reflected by differentiation within the education system. A general process across all modern education systems is, for example, some kind of division of pupils along academic and vocational lines – a distinction that’s been variously justified by reference to ideas like:

  • natural differences in intelligence and aptitude.
  • Individuals choosing different educational routes: some favour more-practical and some favour more-academic routes.
  • the particular needs of the economy in the sense, structurally, of a need for people to leave education with skills that will fit them to the available jobs.
  • In Britain, for example, the 1944 Education Act that established free, universal, education, explicitly addressed education’s relationship with the workplace through a distinction between:

  • Grammar schools designed for academic pupils who were destined to move-on to University and professional employment.
  • Secondary Modern schools designed for vocational pupils who were destined to follow a practical or technical route into the workforce.
  • This type of functional division is reflected in secondary education systems worldwide:

  • India has both academic and vocational (school and profession-based) routes through secondary education.
  • Pakistan has similarly developed academic and technical routes.
  • Mauritius organises secondary education in a slightly different way but has also developed a distinction between academic routes into the workplace and a form of prevocational education for around 5% of the school population.
  • The separation of academic and vocational educational routes, therefore, reflects the idea of functional differentiation and specialisation in terms of two basic forms of work:

  • professional careers requiring higher levels of abstract knowledge and lower levels of practical expertise.
  • non-professionalwork requiring higher levels of practical expertise and lower levels of abstract knowledge.
  • While in Britain, at least, the rather clunky physical segregation of “academic” and “vocational” pupils into separate schools largely – but not totally – disappeared with the development of Comprehensive education in the mid-1970s, the functional requirement to competitively “sift and sort” pupils of different aptitudes and abilities into different spheres arguably continues with various in-school practices such as streaming, setting and banding and external testing / examinations at 7, 11, 14 and 16 (GCSE).

    While the specific means of “sifting and sorting pupils” may have changed since Davis and Moore (1945) argued that the education system existed to ensure that “those who are most able and talented intellectually” are allocated work roles that offer the highest rewards in terms of income, power and status, the broad sentiment remains true 75 years later. For traditional Functionalism the most functionally important economic roles must be filled by the most able, capable and competent members of society. The relationship between educational systems and the workplace, therefore, is one where “Education is the proving ground for ability and hence the selective agency for placing people in different statuses according to their abilities”.

    (more…)