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AllSociology Podcasts

Monday, April 12th, 2021

I stumbled across Ben Hewitson’s Sociology Podcasts via his Allsociology Instagram page – the latter’s well worth a look for the free Revision Card Thingies (they’re probably not called that, but it was the best I could come up with) that highlight some key ideas in a-level sociology in a very visual way – and what’s on offer is well worth a listen.

A Revision Card Thingy
(as it must now be Officially Called).

The Podcasts have been going since October 2019 and there are currently 19 episodes available, varying in length from around 30 – 60 minutes depending on the topic. The latter include revision-type discussions on crime and deviance, religion, stratification, social policy, education and family life, but there are also a few that dip into areas like sociology at university, applying sociology to contemporary issues (such as Coronavirus), common student exam mistakes and more.

The podcasts generally consist of Ben taking around different aspects of a topic, either alone or in tandem with fellow sociologist Leanne Symonds, and while this may sound a bit dull, it actually isn’t. The two presenters work well with each other, bouncing ideas around, with one or the other able to chip-in when the threat of dead air raises its ugly little head. Which, somewhat surprisingly given the fact each podcast is done, as it says on the tin, in “1 Take” (i.e. no editing), doesn’t seem to happen very often, if at all (you’ll have to listen to find out…).

The format’s fun, occasionally funny and generally informative – I found myself happily listening to the full 40 minutes of Episode 17 on Crime and Deviance that covered definitions of crime and deviance, the social construction of crime / situational deviance, the criminal justice system, white collar crime, green crime and more.

And given that I’m definitely not the target audience (that would be a-level sociology students) the format’s clearly got something going for it.

So, if you’re in the market for pointing your students in the direction of some free, revision-type, information, the podcasts are broadcast on Spotify (although there are plenty of other options available) and while you can sign-up to the service if you want – you’re probably aware there’s a free version “supported by advertising” – there’s no obligation to do so.

Which is nice.

Podcasts with Pictures: Evaluating Sociological Research Methods

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Alexandra Sugden’s YouTube Channel contains a load of online lectures, for both GCSE and A-level, covering areas like crime and deviance, education, sociological theory, research methods and a tiny bit of religion.

The Channel’s well worth a visit and a watch if you have the time and inclination and, as with many of the other Channels I’ve featured from time to time on this blog, what’s on offer is basically Podcasts with Pictures.

Alexandra talks students through a range of information using static, illustrative, material that reflects and reinforces what’s being said.

The lectures range in length from the “really short” at around 7 minutes to the significantly longer that can last upwards of 30 – 35 minutes. Although this can be quite a long time for a student to concentrate – either in the classroom or online – I found the tone of each lecture sufficiently confident and chatty to hold my attention. Others may not be as determined or dedicated, however, so if you want to use the lectures it may be useful to check them out beforehand so you can direct students to particular sections if necessary.

In addition to the straightforward lesson content lectures there are a range of revision / exam-preparation films covering things like how to answer different types of question, how to revise using the Revision Clock method and, something that particularly caught my attention for some reason, how to evaluate sociological research methods using the PERVERT mnemonic.

This, if you’re not familiar with it, is a 7-point checklist (Practical, Ethical, etc.) students can apply to a research methods question that helps them cover all the major knowledge, interpretation and evaluation points. The lecture covers each of the Pervert Points in turn, using examples to illustrate where necessary. Some (such as ethics) are covered in greater detail and more-comprehensively than others (such as validity).

As with all such materials it’s possible to be picky about the information they contain (“validity”, for example, is not really about “truth” in research, while, in relation to a different lecture I watched on Broken Windows, Zimbardo’s 1969 “Anonymity of Place” experiment logically couldn’t have been about “testing Broken Windows” – a theory developed in 1982…) but as long as you’re on hand to correct any possible misconceptions all should be well.

Otherwise, the lecture is around 11 minutes long, so probably just enough time to make a cup of coffee while your students Zoom-view the content.

Sociology Podcasts: Theory for 10@10

Friday, March 5th, 2021
PowerPoint Activity

This is a set of podcasts, plus associated supporting material (such as PowerPoint Presentations that summarise key ideas and throw-in a few student activities for good measure), created by Liz Beaven and Andy Leach from Sociology Support that are being given-away for absolutely no money (although you do have to go through a fairly-painless Checkout process to get them).

Podcasts…

Podcasts with Pictures: Esher Sociology

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

For some reason I keep stumbling across teacher-created YouTube accounts and the latest I’ve tripped-over is from Esher Sociology – a Channel that currently consists of 50+ films posted over the past 4 years, although the last was 7 months ago.

Whether this represents a final roll of the dice or just a (summer-long) hiatus, only time will tell.

Be that as it may, this decidedly no-frills approach to film-making offers a wide range of online lectures across a number of topics – Religion, Crime, Theory, Family and Education – the majority of which sit in the 15 – 30-minute time slot.

The exception to this general rule is a series of “One Minute Key Concepts” slides focused on a single concept (meritocracy, anomie, social solidarity – there are currently 6 in all) that come-in at around 60 seconds. It’s an interesting idea that I wish we’d thought of (Oh. Hang on a Just A Minute…) and it generally works quite well for something that consists of a single screen of text.

The main films themselves are fairly standard for the “podcasts with pictures” genre insofar as they consist of a series of narrated PowerPoint slides with bits of extra commentary on the side. The narration is either “a bit shouty” or “satisfyingly authoritative” depending on how you view (hear?) these things.

One-Minute Anomie…

Although the films are perfectly serviceable as online lectures students can dip into and out of at their leisure, some run to over 30 minutes and seemed, to me at least, a little heavy-going for a single-sitting: half-an-hour can seem a Very Long Time when you’re basically just listening to a teacher talk about something like Marxist and Functionalist Theories of the Family with very little visual stimulation to lighten the load.

Technically the films are a little rough around the edges with some annoying sound glitches at times and while they arguably contain a lot of text / information to take on board, some might say that too-much is better than too-little – particularly if students are watching in their own time or as part of a flipped teaching process.

More Podcasts with Pictures: Ms Sugden’s Online Classroom

Saturday, October 3rd, 2020

If you’re looking for video resources for online teaching or flipped learning (or possibly even a combination of the two) Alexandra Sugden’s YouTube Channel is worth checking-out if you’re teaching any or all of the following:

  • Crime and Deviance
  • Research Methods
  • Theory
  • Education
  • Religion and Beliefs
  • The Channel’s aimed at the AQA Spec. but some, if not necessarily all, of the films will be useful for other Specs (Research Methods, for example, is fairly uniform across most College / A-level Specifications).

    The format is a familiar “podcasts with pictures” one with Ms. Sugden narrating a series of static slides in a lecture-style format, with individual films ranging from 3 – 30 minutes, depending on the topic and what’s being discussed.

    This covers everything from general topic teaching to applying the PERVERT method to Research Methods exam questions or constructing example paragraphs when answering essay-type questions (although, personally, I’m not convinced by the claim students can apply strain theory to white collar crime using the concept of relative deprivation. It’s an innovative argument, perhaps, but one that stretches things just a little too far…).

    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.

    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.

    BBC “Analysis” Podcasts

    Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

    Over the past 10 years BBC Radio 4’s Analysis series has created a range of podcasts “examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad, presented by distinguished writers, journalists and academics”.

    There are over 200 podcasts to trawl through, many of which won’t be of any interest or use to sociology teachers and students, but a relatively smaller number just might. To save you a lot of time and trouble (there’s no need to thank me, I’m nice like like) I’ve had a quick look through the list to select what I think might be the sociological highlights.

    (more…)

    Podcasts for AS and A-level Sociology

    Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

    With the growth of video, podcasts seem to have fallen out of fashion in recent years which is a bit of a shame because they can be useful teaching / learning aids. From a production point-of-view they’re also cheap to create and easy to distribute so it’s perhaps surprising that more aren’t made.

    Be that as it may, one accusation that can’t be levelled at AQA is jumping on a bandwagon before the train has left the station; so, a little late admittedly, comes these podtastic offerings for your listening pleasure. Atm there are only 4 casts (3 if you discount the “Overview”) and whether there will be any more is anyone’s guess (and mine, for what little it’s worth, is that there won’t be, but I’m prepared to be surprised).

    (more…)

    Sociology Transition Materials

    Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

    If you’re unfamiliar with the idea, Sociology transition materials are resources designed to help students transition from either GCSE to A-level or from A1 to A2.

    Sociology Work Pack

    In the normal course of events they consist of notes, readings, activities and exercises that students complete during the long months of their summer holidays when they would otherwise be engaged in looking at their mobile phones, lazing around on the beach, getting into all kinds of mischief or whatever it is “The Kids” do these days when not being closely supervised.

    I’m exaggerating a bit (possibly) because, quite honestly, I’ve no idea what Young People do with their spare time. We all suspect, however, they could be using it more-productively, hence, this batch of Transition Materials I’ve cobbled-together from a wide variety of sources to help you keep your students occupied and prepare them for whatever it is you have planned when the new teaching year begins.

    And that, of course, is Always Closer Than You Think.

    While, like me, you could be forgiven for thinking this is yet another “new initiative” designed to “improve student performance” across a “range of educational parameters” (Prop. G. Williamson), there’s actually quite a long(ish) history of providing students with preparatory work for A-level, although I’m guessing the materials are much more tightly focused on the curriculum than they were in the past.

    In my case, my first introduction to Sociology was a Reading List supplied by my putative teacher that ran to a couple of pages and consisted of a variety of texts, some explicitly sociological (such as Berger’s classic Invitation to Sociology), some generally sociological (such as Akenfield, Blythe’s social history of an English village) and some just of broad sociological import – Capote’s “factionalised” novel In Cold Blood being a case in point). This summer work consisted of “reading as many of the texts as possible” and while it was never marked – or indeed mentioned again – it was an interesting and informative use of my time.

    Speaking of which, times change and I hope you find it interesting to see the different approaches taken by a lot of hard-working teachers to either prepare their prospective a-level students for their new course or to ease the transition between the first and final year of the course.

    Whether you use the materials “as is” or simply as the basis for the development of your own specific materials is, of course, entirely up to you. Either way, having a quick look through what I’ve collected might save you a bit of time and effort.

    And since I’ve somehow managed to gather quite an extensive range of materials I’ve divided them into two broad categories (GCSE – A-level and A1 – A2) and provided a brief overview of their contents. This should go some small way to helping you find the materials that best-fit your purpose.

    (more…)

    Sociology Revision Blasts

    Thursday, March 11th, 2021

    Having girded my loins, as you do, for this set of Tutur2U GCSE and A-level Revision videos I was quite prepared to be met with a series of “worthy-but-a-little-dull” screencasts that used a “Podcasts with Pictures” format to talk students through a range of sociological topics.

    Chatty. And Definitely Not Dull.

    In other words, someone talking over and around a series of static screens that, by-and-large, mirror whatever the narrator is saying.

    Some see this as reinforcement.

    Some see this as redundancy.

    You pays your money. Or not, in this case, because the screencasts are free (but you probably get the drift).

    Anyway, I digress.

    What we actually have here are a set of recorded webinars, featuring between 2 and 4 presenters, that run for around 40 – 45 minutes. Being a webinar, there’s also an (unseen) audience of students whose main role is to answer a wide range of different types of “revision-style questions” (multiple-choice, connecting walls, 30-second challenges and so forth) set by the presenters.

    Against all my, admittedly quite low, initial expectations I found the whole thing great fun, engaging and informative.

    This was helped, in no small measure, by the personable and chatty presenters who chivvied the unseen students into answering the on-screen questions and then provided a useful commentary on why they were (mostly) right and how this all connected to answering different types of exam question.

    While you’ll probably have to look through the webinars to see if the information tested fits with your current teaching – it’s mostly fairly generic stuff you’ll find in most GCSE / A-level textbooks, but there may be examples and references you’ve not taught or used alternatives for with your students – I think you’ll find them a really engaging way to mix-up revision sessions with your students, particularly if you’re teaching on-line.

    Webinars

    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

    Sociology Video Tutorials

    Sunday, September 29th, 2019
    Functionalism Tutorial
    Functionalism Tutorial

    These short video tutorials are basically a variant on “podcasts with pictures”: a talking head tutor in one corner of the screen explains something while the occasional picture or real-time whiteboard illustration is displayed.

    In other words, the 40+ films available here are relatively simple video lectures of the “listen and learn” variety – which is not necessarily a criticism, merely an observation that this is what’s on offer.

    More tutorials

    The Crime and Deviance Channel

    Thursday, August 30th, 2018

    The Crime and Deviance Channel now offers a wide range of free Text, PowerPoint, Audio and Video resources organised into 5 categories:

    1. Theories
    2. Social Distribution
    3. Power and Control
    4. Globalisation
    5. Research Methods

    Each category contains a mix of content:

    Text materials range from complete pdf chapters to a variety of shorter “Update” materials (quizzes, research synopses, items “In the News”) related to key sociological theories, concepts, issues and methods.

    PowerPoint resources range from single slides designed as a high-impact visual background to the explanation of key theories and concepts, to complete Presentations that can be used to introduce or illuminate a particular general theme.

    Audio materials consist of 17 podcasts designed to provide background briefing material, talking points (comparing different theories for example), updates on new research and revision exercises.

    Video resources generally consist of short clips (currently around 30 separate films ranging in length from 1 to several minutes) designed to illustrate key concepts, introduce new research and researchers and stimulate classroom-based thinking and discussion.

    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…

    The Crime and Deviance Channel

    Monday, April 18th, 2016

    Tcche Channel is a collection of original resources – Text, PowerPoint, Audio and Video – designed to complement the teaching of crime and deviance.

    It’s been running since 2010 and we’ve recently decided to give it a complete redesign, partly because the old design was getting a bit long-in-the-tooth and partly because hardware and browser development has moved-on over the past few years.

    The Channel gives students and teachers access to:

    • around 150 minutes of video resources.

    • around 70 minutes of podcasts.

    • 23 different Text resources, including book chapters and update materials.

    • 28 PowerPoint slides and presentations.

    If you want to check-out the type of resources on offer the Channel Home Page has links to sample Text, PowerPoint, Audio and Video files.

    Sociology Review

    Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

    Like its A-level Psychology counterpart, Sociology Review offers good-quality articles and support materials designed to help students gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of both Sociology and the requirements of the A-level exam.

    The publishers, Hodder Education, have started to develop a strong web presence for the print magazine, part of which involves offering some nice freebies related to each issue’s content, which you can check-out here:

    Sample Magazine – actually, if you know where to look (and we do…), 4 free online sample magazines with articles based around the following themes:

    1. Family
    2. Culture and Identity
    3. Globalisation and Inequality
    4. Crime

    Free Resources  include activities, supplementary notes, posters and podcasts (but, unlike our more-privileged psychological cousins, there are no short video clips).

    Psychology Review

    Saturday, July 25th, 2015

    This magazine, pitched at A-level Psychology students, has a long and venerable history of supplying good-quality articles and support materials designed to help students gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of both psychology and the requirements of the A-level exam.

    The publishers, Hodder Education, have started to develop a strong web presence for the print magazine, part of which involves offering some nice freebies related to each issue’s content, which you can check-out here:

    Sample Magazine allows you to browse a sample of Psychology review’s articles online. 

    Free Resources include activities, supplementary notes, posters, podcasts and short video clips.