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New Sociology Learning Tables

Saturday, April 20th, 2019

It’s been a while since I last posted any Sociology Learning Tables / Knowledge Organisers (Psychology teachers and students have been better-served in the interim, even though I’ve still got a load more that I need to get around to posting), partly because I haven’t really been looking for any and partly because I haven’t found any.

The two could be connected

Luckily – for you and me both – TheHecticTeacher has been busy creating a whole host of new learning tables for your download pleasure in three areas:

(more…)

Psychology Learning Tables | 8

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Another batch of lovingly-curated and assiduously alphabetised Learning Tables / Knowledge Organisers to keep your appetite for these very useful tools whetted, if not entirely satiated.

Graded PEEL Learning Table

As usual (if you missed the previous sets of Tables you can check them out here) the tables are a mix of styles – some are plain Notes, others are organised into a PEEL format and a few are PEEL Graded – and most are single or double A4 sheets. The exception is the Obedience Bundle, where I’ve gathered half-a-dozen or so Tables and bundled them together in one Word document. I’m not sure why. It just seemed the right thing to do at the time.

If you fancy branching out a little, these professionally-produced Factsheets might prove a useful addition to the teaching toolbox.

Psychology Learning Tables | 7

Sunday, March 17th, 2019

I haven’t posted any new Psychology Learning Tables / Knowledge Organisers* for a while (because I’ve been too busy / lazy**) so I thought it was about time I roused myself sufficiently to put another batch together based, once again, on the tried-and-trusted “alphabetical list” method (i.e. they’re in no particular order except that ordained by the alphabet).

Learning Table…

If you’ve missed any of the previous batches (Learning Tables 1 – 6), you can find them here.

Once again, they’re from a couple of authors (Miss K. Elles and Georgia Banton) and if you’re especially keen to discover “who done what” the metadata will tell you everything you need to know, including the year they were created in case you were wondering about their relevance to the Spec. you’re currently teaching / following.

As with previous Tables, they’re a mixture of formats (some are built around Assessment Objectives, some are built around PEEL and some are just Notes in no particular configuration). All, however, have been left in their original Word format in case you want to edit them for any reason.

Knowledge Organiser…

Cultural Variations in Attachment
Custodial sentencing
Data Types
Defining and measuring crime
Definitions of Abnormality
Descriptive Data
Differential association
Dispositional Explanations
Duck’s Phase Theory AO1 and AO3
Equity Theory AO1 and AO3
Evaluating Findings
Evolutionary explanations for food preferences
Experiments
Explanations for the success and failure of dieting
Eysenck’s theory
Factors Affecting Attraction – Filter Theory AO1 and AO3
Factors Affecting Attraction – Physical Attractiveness AO1 and AO3
Factors Affecting Attraction – Self-Disclosure AO1 and AO3
Features of the Memory Stores
Fight or Flight Response
Genetic and neural explanations
Infant Caregiver Interactions
Interference

* You say Po-tart-oh, I say Po-Tate-oh

** Please delate according to your current state of credulity.

Research Methods Tables

Saturday, January 12th, 2019

I’ve previously posted a couple of pieces of Liam Core’s work (a Sociology Literacy Mat and an A-level Evidence Bank Template) and since these have proven very popular with teachers I thought I’d tap him up for a few more resources.

Research Methods Table

And, sure enough, he’s delivered.

This time it’s a handy research methods table students use to record key aspects of a range of methods (from questionnaires to public documents). The (Word) format’s easy to replicate so if you need to add or subtract different methods before you let your students loose it’s relatively easy to do.

In terms of completing the table, for each research method students are required to note its:

  • Key features
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Practical issues
  • Ethical issues
  • How you use the table is, of course, up to you but it’s a resource that could be useful for revision, as a prompt sheet for timed essay writing and so forth.

    Methods Mat

    The resource packs a lot of research methods onto a single A4 page and some teachers / students might find this a bit restrictive, so if you decide to use this as a paper-based resource the author suggests you enlarge it to A3 before giving it to your students. Alternatively, if you find A3 materials a little unwieldy, you might like to try this Methods Mat – an A4 document focused on a single method.

    Psychology Learning Tables | 6

    Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

    It’s been a while (March 2018 if anyone’s interested. Anyone?) since I posted any psychology Learning Tables / Knowledge Organisers so I thought it might be helpful to post a few more to add to your growing collection.

    As you may have noticed, I’ve decided to post the Tables in a slightly different way, as small collections of related areas rather than individually, on the basis that this is an easier and less cumbersome way of downloading the Tables. I have, however, indicated below exactly what each Collection contains.

    The majority of the Tables have been created by, or under the direction of, Miss K. Elles and while some take the standard Knowledge Organiser format others take a more-sophisticated approach – an indication of A / C / E grade answers in a PEEL format. (more…)

    Psychology Learning Tables | 5

    Thursday, March 8th, 2018

    It’s been a while since I’ve posted any Psychology Learning Tables (Knowledge Organisers by any other name) so I thought I’d make a start on the backlog I’ve collected so far (if you want to see the previous Tables you can find them here).

    If you’re unfamiliar with the format, Learning Tables are used to summarise a section of the course onto a single sheet of A4 (although some Tables do take minor liberties with this basic format). While the general focus is, as the name suggests, “knowledge” many of these tables interpret this quite widely to include examples, applications and evaluation.

    Which, as far as I can see, is Quite A Good Thing.

    If you’re not as convinced – or you want to edit the information contained in each Table to your own particular teaching and learning preference – I’ve left the Tables in Word format for your editing pleasure.

    Slavishly following the precedent I foolishly set for myself, this next batch of Tables are in no particular order other than alphabetical:

    (more…)

    Psychology Learning Tables | 4

    Thursday, January 25th, 2018

    As I dig deeper and find more (and more…) examples of Learning Tables the initial “let’s post them alphabetically for convenience” plan seems both less and more appropriate – the latest batch being a case in point.

    As you’ll see, they mainly come under the heading of “Alternative Theories” – which you’ll probably have noticed is alphabetically convenient but not very informative. This means I’ve then had to add a little bit of content explanation to save you having to download each file to see what it contains, which sort-of defeats the objective.

    Some you lose and some you lose.

    However, you can all be winners (see what I did there?) when you download these Tables (lovingly, I assume, created by various authors, which I’ve named where known).

    In the main these Tables all tend to focus on (AO1) skills of knowledge and understanding, although one or two include helpful examples / applications. I’ll leave you to discover which does what. It’ll be our little secret.

    As per usual the Tables are all in Word format, which makes it easy to edit them in whatever way you like:

    1. Alternative theory: Atypical behaviour – Evolutionary theory (Gemma Ingram)

    2. Alternative theory: Criminal Behaviour – Social Learning Theory (Miss K Elles)

    3. Alternative theory: The Nativist Theory of Perception (Miss K Elles)

    4. Alternative theory: Vygotsky’s Theory of Cognitive Development

    5. Alternative theory: Non-Verbal Communication – The Evolutionary Theory (Miss K Elles)

    6. Alternative theory: The Self – Eysenck’s Trait Theory (Miss K Elles)

    7. Alternative theory: Sex & Gender – Psychodynamic Approach (Miss K Elles)

    8. Application: The Self Real Life Application (Sara Callaghan)

    9. Application: NVC (Sara Callaghan)

    10. Applications of Research into Memory (Miss K Elles)

    11. Application: Sex and Gender Research (Miss K Elles)

    12. Applications: Research into Atypical Behaviour (Gemma Ingram)

    Psychology Learning Tables | 2

    Thursday, January 18th, 2018

    Convention dictates this second set of Learning Tables, primarily the work of Miss G. Banton (with one notable exception that I’ll explain in a moment) follows the first set of Tables and since this is not a rule I’m overly-inclined to break it’s only seems right-and-proper this should be the case.

    These Tables are broadly-designed to cover Knowledge (Assessment Objective 1) and Evaluation (Assessment Objective 3) and while the latter uses relatively simple “for” and “against” arguments, an added dimension is created using a “PEEL” design. This, in case you’re not familiar with the mnemonic has the further advantage of encouraging students to structure exam answers in a specific way.

    Without further ado, therefore, the following Tables are available for your downloading pleasure:

    Endogenous Pacemakers and Exogenous Zeitgebers AO1 and AO3
    Ethical implications of research studies and theory AO1 AND AO3

    Free Will vs Determinism AO1 and AO3

    Gender Bias AO1 and AO3

    Holism and reductionism AO1 and AO3
    Humanistic psychology LT

    Idiographic and nomothetic approaches AO1 and AO3

    Localisation and Function of the brain AO1 and AO3

    The final set of Tables, created by Melissa Yeadon, are slightly different in that they’re designed to take the student through the research process – from initial hypothesis to understanding ethical considerations – and involve some student input (mainly in the shape of having to answer questions at various points). In all there are 10 Tables in this set.

    Learning Tables Planning Research 

    Psychology Learning Tables | 1

    Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

    As with their sociological counterparts, Psychology Learning Tables come in a variety of styles, have been constructed for a range of different reasons and the ones I’ve scoured the web to find relate to different Specifications and exams. Keep these provisos in mind, however, and you’ll find some of these Tables useful – either “as is” or as inspiration for creating Tables of your own.

    Since I’ve managed to find quite a few Tables on different areas of the Specification I thought it would be easier and more-convenient to post the first couple of batches alphabetically.

    The Tables have been put-together by different authors at different times and I’ve indicated any significant differences and departures from the basic “Learning Table” format.

    (more…)

    Learning Tables: Beliefs in Society | 2

    Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

    For this second batch of “Beliefs” Learning Tables the focus is, once again, on religion (although a couple of the Tables cover areas like Science and Ideology if that’s your main area of interest).

    The Tables were created by a variety of authors and although the basic principle is the same – present information concisely to cover areas like advantages / disadvantages or analysis and evaluation – the execution is somewhat different and, not to put too fine a point on things, variable.

    While the design of some of these Tables is a thing of beauty, others can fairly be described as basic (if we were being kind to “basic”, probably because its nearly Xmas and that’s the sort of generosity one extends this time of year. Apparently).

    The other variable dimension – and I’ll leave you to decide about the quality of the specific content – is the amount of information that’s included with each Table: while some authors try to stick rigidly to the “everything condensed onto one page” format, others take a more relaxed view, with content laid-out across 2 or 3 pages. Personally, this doesn’t bother me too much as long as the overall Table design is strong, although if it does bother you I’ve left the files in their original Word format for ease of editing.

    This may also be useful if you want to edit the files to remove outdated or irrelevant information (the Tables were probably designed for the AQA Spec. and are a few years old in some instances). You may, therefore, want to remove stuff that’s no-longer useful (or even add bits that are newly-relevant). The same is pertinent if you follow a different Specification – there may be areas you want to edit out or edit in.

    Another thing you’ll notice with this batch is that some of the Tables duplicate the previous set of Tables, at least in terms of title, if not necessarily design and content.

    On the downside this means having to trawl through two sets of Tables to decide which you – and your students – prefer.

    On the upside you’re getting two sets of Tables for the price of none, so a little bit of compare-and-contrast is probably not too high a price to not pay. Or something.

    Anyway, I’ve grouped the following Tables by creator rather than topic. Feel free to download them here. Or not, as the case may be:

    New Religious Movements (Georgia Banton)
    Religion and Social Change (Georgia Banton)
    Religion and Social Groups (Georgia Banton)
    Types of Religious Organisation (Georgia Banton)

    Functionalism 1 (KevII)
    Functionalism 2 (KevII)
    Marxism / Feminism (KevII)
    Marxism (KevII)
    Science and Ideology (KevII)
    Religion and Science as Belief Systems (KevII)

    Types of Religious Organisation (MYeadon)

    Feminism (S Zaheer)
    Religion in a Global context: Fundamentalism and Globalisation (S Zaheer)

    Learning Tables: Beliefs in Society | 1

    Monday, December 18th, 2017

    For some reason I’ve managed to find rather a lot (20+) of Learning Tables, put together by 5 different authors, on the topic of Beliefs in Society – something that includes both religious beliefs and a range of other types (from politics through to science), although most of the Tables featured here relate to religious beliefs in various ways.

    To make things a bit more manageable my end, therefore, I’ve split this post into two: part one presents Tables by what I assume to be a single author (sdale) while the second part (which I’m thinking of calling “part 2” but I’ll need to discuss this further with my agent before making a final decision) contains Tables by a mix of authors.

    In this respect the first batch of Tables covers three broad areas:

    1. Perspectives on religion (postmodern, neo-marxist etc.)
    2. Aspects of religion (such as the relationship to social change)
    3. Ideology and belief systems (such as science).

    You’ll also find that a couple of the Tables (postmodernism and secularisation) are in two parts with the latter being very similar, for reasons that escape me, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out…

    Religion: Key Concepts
    Postmodernism 1
    Postmodernism 2
    Neo-Marxism / Weberian
    Social Change
    New Religious Movements
    Secularisation 1
    Secularisation 2
    Religion and Social Groups
    Science and Ideology

    More Learning Tables: AS Research Methods

    Saturday, December 16th, 2017

    Today’s Table offering is everyone’s favourite revision topic (research methods in case you actually need to ask) and all of the Tables were written / assembled by Miss K Elles, except for those that weren’t.

    The Tables cover the major research methods plus a little bit of research methodology (positivism and interpretivism plus stuff on choice of method, value-freedom, objectivity and subjectivity) and mainly focus on knowledge with little bits of application and evaluation thrown-in.

    If I had guess – which I do because I don’t know for sure – I’d say these were early-version Tables where the more-complex structure of later Tables hadn’t been established.

    Alternatively they may just have been knocked-out quickly to fulfil some necessary teaching and learning void.

    Either way, you and your students may find the following Tables useful:

    Secondary Sources
    Experiments
    Surveys
    Sampling
    Observations
    Positivism and Interpretivism 1 (Georgia Banton)
    Positivism and Interpretivism 2 (Georgia Banton)
    Factors influencing choice of method (Isaac Carter-Bown)
    Value-Freedom (S Dale)

    Families and Households Learning Tables

    Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

    In this set of Learning Tables (mainly created by Miss K Elles) the focus is on analysis and evaluation with a section on application left blank. Students can either add their own examples or the Tables can be used within the classroom to discuss possible applications.

    While the Tables are not as comprehensive as their crime and deviance counterparts, this may simply reflect the fact they’re aimed at AS rather than A2 students (then again, it may just reflect an evolution of the basic technique).

    Either way, you can download the following Tables:

    Role: Marxism
    Role: Feminism
    Role: Functionalism and the New Right
    Role: Postmodern
    Social Policy
    Social Policy (alternative version)
    Marriage and Divorce
    Family Diversity (Issac Carter-Brown)
    Gender Roles: Couples
    Childhood (Anon)
    Births, Deaths and The Ageing Population

    More Crime and Deviance Learning Tables

    Friday, December 8th, 2017

    A few days ago I did a post on Learning Tables that noted, in passing, that although the numbering system used suggested at least 14 Tables had been created for crime and deviance, I’d only managed to find 10.

    After a bit of detective work (which sounds a bit mysterious and a touch glamourous until you realise it merely involved typing different combinations of key words into Google until it eventually came up with something useful) I managed to find two more:

    right realism
    crime and locality.

    In the course of wandering semi-aimlessly around some of the lesser-travelled highways and byways of the web, however, I came across a range of similar-looking Learning Tables that, on closer inspection of the metadata, seemed to be by different authors (although to make matters even more confusing, Miss Elles was credited as the author of some of the newer Tables that looked very similar to the Tables I’d previously posted. The former were, however, unnumbered).

    Although I’ve got little idea what might have been going-on here (maybe the Tables were the result of a collaboration between teachers / the outcome of different teachers in the same school producing slightly different Tables / someone seeing the original format and deciding to produce similar-looking Tables?) I think that whoever authored the materials (THeaton, Miss Elles, Miss G Banton and a couple of anons) they’re worth distributing to a wider audience.

    If you have a look at the original post you’ll see some of the Tables listed below are duplicated – at least in terms of their title, if not necessarily their content. In this respect, you pays your money (so to speak) and you makes your choice as to whether you want to download and compare both sets where they occur (as with labelling, for example). Otherwise, here’s another Big Bundle of Learning Tables to distribute to your students or inspire them to create their own:

    Class
    Ethnicity
    Functionalism
    Gender
    Global, green and state crime
    Labelling theory
    Crime and the Media
    Left and right realism
    Punishment and prevention
    Victimisation.

    Learning Tables: Crime and Deviance

    Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

    We’ve just started filming for a new series of crime and deviance films (the long-awaited follow-up volume to our original Shortcuts to Crime and Deviance films – a welcome change to be creating sociology films after 3 years spent focusing on psychology films – and in the process of searching for Robert Agnew pics (one of the films examines Strain Theory, both Merton’s original formulation and Agnew’s General Strain Theory developments) I came across some interesting examples of “Learning Tables” and decided to spend a bit of time looking into the idea (“research is research”, after all. And also because I can).

    I’m assuming they were originally designed to be a form of revision exercise or as a way of condensing notes and observations about a particular topic (the examples I originally found were all for crime and deviance) but since the author information is, at best, sketchy I’ve no real way of knowing – or acknowledging the original authors in any meaningful way.

    Be that as it may, the basic idea behind the tables is a relatively simple one: information across a range of themes (basic ideas, evaluation, synoptic links…) is condensed to fit an A4 sized table format.

    (more…)

    Digital Optimism vs Digital Pessimism

    Friday, April 2nd, 2021

    Whatever your views on whether we should be broadly optimistic about the development of digital technologies, such as the Internet and mobile computing, or view them with varying levels of pessimism, it would be helpful, teaching-wise, if someone put together a useful summary of these two opposed schools of thought.

    Digital Optimism or Digital Pessimism?

    Luckily for us that’s just what Adam Thierer did (albeit in 2010 – so you might want to consider if there’s anything that needs adding to the list). To help you out, because I’m nice like that, I’ve appended a few ideas of my own that you might want to consider.

    Alternatively, you might want to add your own ideas, or encourage your students to research possible updates. The choices here are limitless (presupposing your concept of “limitless” extends to “probably one or two”).

    The first table (Table 1) reproduced below is taken from a much longer article that’s worth a read if you have the time and inclination. It develops some of the ideas listed below and puts them into an historical context, starting with the Web 1.0 Granddaddy-of-all-debates between Nicholas Negroponte and Neil Postman in the early 1990’s. It’s fairly student-friendly and there’s a useful section that frames the debate in a general cultural context while summarising some of the main arguments.

    Click here If you’re optimistic about the next bit, otherwise I wouldn’t bother…

    A-level Sociology Organisers: A new selection

    Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

    It’s been a while since I last posted any A-level Sociology Knowledge Organisers – a combination of both being a bit busy and a relative paucity of resources – and although this is something of a mixed-bunch, some fairly bog-standard stuff plus some rather more interesting efforts – unless you try them you won’t know if they’ll work for you and your students.

    Crime / Globalisation / Theory and Methods

    Crime and Deviance

    Crime and Deviance Questions: less a conventional Knowledge Organiser and more a set of questions with “knowledge answers” (trust me, they’re difficult to accurately describe but you’ll know what I mean when you see them). Covers lots of different areas, from perspectives through globalisation to media

    Crime and Deviance: King Charles 1 School: Again, not your standard Knowledge Organiser, this one combines elements of a glossary with key facts and figures and interesting stuff about crime and class, age, gender and ethnicity (key theories and research, in the main).

    Beliefs in Society Questions: As with their Crime and Deviance counterparts, a set of “questions with knowledge answers”. These cover things like theories of religion, organisations and secularisation.

    Families and Households

    Sociology Revision Notes: As the name suggests, less an Organiser, per se, and more a set of Organised Notes. These cover a lot of different areas but the Notes themselves are fairly sparse (and not a little superficial in places).

    Structures, family functions and diversity: Clearly constructed Organiser that identifies some of the main features of family life with the emphasis on diversity. There’s also stuff on marriage and divorce, conjugal roles and family change.

    Education

    Perspectives and Categories: Neatly constructed Organiser that identifies some of the main ideas students need to cover in terms of perspectives like Functionalism and Marxism and categories like class, gender and ethnicity.

    Education

    Learning Tables: These are laid-out as a set of Notes covering a couple of aspects of education – Marketisation / Privatisation plus Ethnic Differences in Educational Achievement. There’s also a reasonable Table looking at Researching Education that’s useful for methods in context.

    Methods

    Evaluating Research Methods: In the main, a set of tables that cover the advantage sand disadvantages of different research methods.

    Miscellaneous

    Crime / Globalisation / Theory and Methods: Extensive set of Learning Tables that, judging by the different designs, have been constructed by different teachers (or the same teacher at different times…). Most are colourful and interesting in terms of how they display essential ideas and information. One or two are just bare-bones efforts but overall, well-worth the download…

    GCSE Sociology Knowledge Organisers

    Friday, February 5th, 2021

    Over the past couple of years I’ve posted a whole load of Sociology Knowledge Organisers (or Learning Tables as they’re sometimes known) and they continue – along with their Psychology counterparts – to be some of the most-popular posts on the site.

    Which must mean something.

    The last batch, however, seems to have been posted nearly 2 years ago, which means I either lost interest or, more-probably, exhausted the supply.

    In either case – and they’re probably not mutually-exclusive – you’ll be glad to know that while I was at a loose-end I decided to have a look around to see if there was anything new available and was pleasantly surprised to find there was.

    It seems schools and colleges have been busy encouraging teachers to create Knowledge Organisers like they were going out of fashion (although, by the time I get around to posting this, they probably will have).

    While there’s probably a sociological debate to be had about this, this is not the place and I’m not the person to initiate it. So, whatever your particular take on the question of Knowledge Organisers – as “just-another-tool in the teacher’s toolkit” to “a management tool that will revolutionise learning” – you can rest-assured that all you’re going to get here are a load of links to a variety of different types of Organiser.

    The twist, this time, is that these are all for GCSE Sociology (AQA mostly) because, unless I’m very much mistaken (unlikely I know) I haven’t previously posted any Organisers for this level…

    Click to see the Organisers

    The Crime Collection

    Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

    In a previous post I pulled-together all the free crime and deviance films we have available to create a simple one-stop-shop (so to speak) you could browse, rather than have to search individually for these films.

    I’ve extended this thinking to bring together all the posts we’ve made on Crime and Deviance – and since there’s “quite a few” I thought it might be useful to break them down into rough categories (Notes, Organisers, Activities, PowerPoints and Films) for your viewing convenience.

    Since I’ve discovered this is actually quite a task, I’ll add the different categories “as-and-when” I can, starting with:

    (more…)

    Hate Crime

    Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

    Historically, Hate Crime isn’t something that’s featured prominently in most sociology specifications and this lack of prominence has meant that resources for teaching it have generally been a little lacking – so anything that helps to fill-in some of the many gaps is probably to be welcomed.

    The Report-it web site is one such general resource UK teachers and students might find helpful because it contains a range of relatively-simple – but accessible – materials. These have been created under the guidance of The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), a body responsible for the national coordination of UK law enforcement that broadly reflects the views of Chief Constables and Police Crime Commissioners across the UK.

    The materials range from legal definitions of different types of hate crime in relation to different social groups characterised by things like disability, race, religion, sexual orientation and transgender to Reports and Resources that include a range of downloadable materials students could be encouraged to explore as part of their wider reading.

    One of the useful things about this section is that it contains a number of relatively-recent Reports – such as “Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in the UK (2016)”, “Attitudes to LGBT+ people in the UK (2019)” and data relating to Hate Crime prosecutions (2010-2015) – that goes a little way beyond what you’re likely to find in textbooks.

    If you’re into classroom decoration (presupposing there’s a return to classroom teaching any time soon…) you’ll also find a range of A4 posters to cut-out-and-keep.

    Alternatively, you can print them.

    And you might be interested to know some of these are available in Welsh and Polish.

    Research Methods Bonus!

    I came across this short (4 minute) film called “Homophobia Social Experiment” that you might find helpful in relation to Crime with Theory and Methods because it uses a simple observational method to carry-out an equally-simple field experiment.

    (more…)

    UK Schools: Social Mobility or Cultural Reproduction?

    Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

    One of the persistent debates around education is the extent to which it serves as an agency of social mobility, as opposed to one of cultural reproduction:

    Mobility proponents, for example, argue education – and the credentials it creates – is one of, if not the, most important sources of social mobility in democratic societies: the sons and daughters of different social classes compete against one another for educational qualifications on a reasonably-level playing field.

    Reproduction theorists, on the other hand, argue education systems have the appearance of fairness and equal competition while, in reality, Higher Economic Status (HES) parents are able, through a combination of their higher levels of economic, social and cultural capital, to “play the system” to ensure their sons and daughters are the ultimate winners in the education game.

    (more…)

    Education: 3. The Purpose of Schools

    Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

    The final part of the “Structure and Organisation of Education” trilogy (Part 1: Structure and Organisation and Part 2: Schools, Marketisation and Parentocracy are, as is the way of trilogies, also available) ends with a !Bang! (if by “bang” you mean “a slightly loud noise”) by looking at various forms of school organisation (from the formal curriulum to the informal curriculum, from streaming to cultural reproduction, from Here to Eternity etc.)

    Although the obvious answer to any question about the purpose of schools is “education”, the meaning of education is neither self-evident nor unproblematic: the former because “education” can encompass a wide range of formal and informal types of learning – from explicit teaching about ox-bow lakes in geography to implicit teaching about gendered relationships in the classroom – and the latter because what counts as “education” is always socially constructed and socially-contested. It always reflects, Weber (1922) suggests, what any society considers “Worthy of being known”.

    What constitutes education in any society, therefore – from how it is structured and organised to which ideas are actually taught in a classroom (or, increasingly, online) – is always the outcome of a power struggle between different interested parties: from business and media corporations through political parties to individual parents and teachers. It is, therefore, against this background of conflict and consensus that we need to outline and evaluate the purpose of schools.

    One way to start to do this is through Merton’s (1957) distinction between manifest and latent functions:

  • Manifest functions relate to the things schools are expected to do; in this instance teaching children the knowledge and skills required by adult society. This idea is explored in terms of the nature and organisation of the formal curriculum.
  • Latent functions refer to things not officially recognised as being part of the school’s purpose and may also be the unintended consequences of the way schools are formally organised – an idea explored in terms of the hidden curriculum.
  • (more…)

    Education: 2. Schools, Marketisation and Parentocracy

    Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

    Part 1 of this series looked at a range of general ideas about the structure and organisation of education in our society, through a broadly historical overview of educational development over the past 150 years. In part 2 the focus is on the structure and organisation of different types of school within the education system.

    Over the past 25 years secondary schooling (broadly, 11 – 18) has seen a range of organisational changes we can illustrate by looking at different types of schools now available to parents in both the private and state-maintained sectors in England and Wales.

    A Public School…

    Private sector

    According to Department of Education data (2018/19) There are around 2,400 Independent schools in the UK (out of a total of around 25,000 primary and secondary schools), funded by parental fees – Harrow, for example, charges nearly £42,000 for the 2020/21 school year  – and investment income. Around half of these schools also claim charitable status which gives them a range of tax reliefs and exemptions.

    According to the Independent Schools Council (2015) these schools currently educate around 7% of the total school-age (5 – 16) population and 14% of post-16 students. Independent schools are allowed to set their own admissions policy (the major Public Schools, for example, operate some form of entrance exam selection process in addition to charging fees) and do not have to follow the National Curriculum (although most do, usually in a modified form).

    The leading 10% of independent schools – those affiliated to the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference – are usually known as Public Schools, a label that reflects their origins as schools for the poor.

    (more…)

    Ashampoo Office Suite

    Friday, February 14th, 2020
    Wordprocessor…

    A useful Suite of programs – Wordprocessor, Presentation software and, errm, Spreadsheet – that may be just what your students need, particularly if money’s tight…

    This free Office Suite consists of 3 programs for precisely no money.

    Which is nice if you want, but can’t afford, a Microsoft Word-compatible Wordproceser (Textmaker) and / or PowerPoint-compatible Presentation software (the imaginatively-titled Presentations). There’s also an Excel-compatible Spreadsheet (PlanMaker), but that’s not something anyone really wants to either think or talk about.

    Textmaker is a fully-featured Wordprocesser that will do pretty-much whatever teachers or students need to do by way of everyday formatting, checking and saving text, either in its native format or as a Word document. It doesn’t support the latest version of Word so some esoteric features that you rarely, if ever, use (probably stuff like shaded tables) aren’t supported. You can, however, export documents as pdf files. Which is probably more useful than it sounds.

    Presentation software…

    Presentations: As long as you’re not looking to do anything too sophisticated with this PowerPoint clone it will serve you well. Anything that simply involves putting text and graphics on a screen to create a slideshow is just fine-and-dandy and you can export your finished presentation in a PowerPoint-compatible format – although, again, it doesn’t support the latest features of the latter (good luck trying to import mp4 video…).

    Overall, the Suite clearly has some limitations:

  • In terms of functionality it’s around 5 or 6 years behind the (Microsoft) times. In relation to Wordprocessing this isn’t too much of a problem – when you think about it, how many of the latest bells’n’whistles do you ever really use? – but you’ll probably find Presentations a bit more limited and limiting if you want to do anything too sophisticated or cutting-edge (i.e. anything more than combine text with graphics).
  • In terms of look and feel, the Suite is a little more problematic – it has the look and to some extent the feel of Windows software that’s a good 10-years behind the times. Whether or not that’s important to you, I don’t know.
  • On the plus side, it’s free, will probably do just about everything you want a wordprocessor / presentation program to do and without all of the Microsoft bloatware “features” it’s pretty lean: you can put the whole Suite on a USB stick and run it from there if you need portability.

    While it’s not going to win any prizes for either looks or cutting-edge features, Ashampoo Office Suite is something you might like to consider if you’re on a limited – or indeed no – budget.

    British Social Attitudes: Selected Surveys

    Wednesday, July 24th, 2019
    Subjective Social Class…

    NatCen describe themselves as “Britain’s largest independent social research agency”, one that works “on behalf of government and charities to find out what people really think about important social issues” and while they produce a lot of statistical stuff™ that’s probably of interest to someone, of most interest to a-level sociology teachers and students will probably be the fact NatCen is responsible for carrying-out the British Attitudes Survey – an annual questioning of around 3,000 respondents on a wide diversity of topics.

    This research is useful for a-level sociologists for, I would hazard, four main reasons:

    1. It’s free:

    While this is always one of my top considerations when thinking about social research, “free” is not in and of itself always very useful.

    There’s more…

    Visual Notes

    Tuesday, April 30th, 2019
    Family
    Families and Households

    The Sociology Guy has been busy putting together what he calls “quick glance revision notes” for his web site (which, apropos of nothing, is well worth a visit because it contains lots of good stuff) – what might be described as visual notes or mini learning tables / knowledge organisers tied to a specific idea, topic or theme.

    And if this sounds like I’m struggling to do them justice, it’s probably easier just to look at the accompanying pictures because they’ll give you a much better idea about what’s involved.

    And this, in a roundabout way, is probably as it should be, given the claim that “Research suggests that notes that are vibrant, colourful and have pictures or illustrations are 40% more likely to be recalled by students”.

    While I’m not sure what this research might be, the idea does have an initial face validity, in that the combination of text and relevant graphics should help students make evocative connections.

    Anyway, be that as it may, the Notes look attractive and deliver just the right gobbets (that’s actually a word) of information for revision purposes across 6 current areas:

    There’s a Lot more to Follow…

    Graphic Organisers

    Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

    I recently stumbled across the notion of graphic organisers while rummaging around on Pinterest, although it’s probably an idea most teachers will have come across or informally used. Venn diagrams or tables of information, for example, represent proto forms of graphical organisation.

    Sandringham School Version

    All this post suggests is that it’s possible to formalise these practices into graphical formats that allow you and your students to represent information in visually consistent ways, either by providing students with information templates (a solid state form of graphical organisation that involves students using pre-existing graphical formats) or by encouraging them to develop their own graphical organisational forms (a free-form version that operates within a loose set of rules).

    This post focuses on the solid state form because it’s the easiest to construct (there are loads of pre-existing templates) and initially explain to students. The ability to use existing templates as a way of representing and structuring information is also a big advantage when students are being introduced to this slightly different way of “making notes”.

    If you’re interested in the free-form version have a look at this example of sociological perspectives (as an online flipbook or a pdf version)

    Here, the rules are defined by the creator (such as an individual student); in this example the rules I’ve defined are simple: start with the main point you want to represent, show how various key ideas are linked to that idea and include short notes to illustrate each idea. This then builds into an overview “Map” of, in this case, sociological perspectives.

    While free-form graphic organisers are probably the most personal and responsive types, they’re a technique that may be best introduced after your students have grasped the basic idea underpinning the graphical representation of information.

    (more…)

    Methods Mat

    Monday, January 14th, 2019
    Methods Mat

    A generic Methods Mat template that might be useful for both Sociology and Psychology A-level Research methods teaching. 

    The Research Methods Tables created by Liam Core got me thinking about how to present a similar level of information in a Learning Mat format (such as Stacey Arkwright’s Sociology Mats, the Psychology Studies Mat or the generic Sociology / Psychology Mat).

    What I’ve come up with is Learning Mat template – an A4 page available as either a PowerPoint or Pdf document – focused on a single research method. I’ve included the PowerPoint version for a couple of reasons:

    Firstly, if you’re in the habit of displaying stuff for your students it’s much easier to do this in PowerPoint.

    Secondly, if you want to edit the template – to create, for example, a worked illustration – it’s a lot less work to do it in PowerPoint.

    Although the Mat should be fairly straightforward to use (it includes space to note the Key Features, Strengths and Weaknesses of a Research Method) I’ve added / adapted a couple of sections from the original:

    The first is fairly minor: the addition of a way to indicate if it’s a primary or secondary research method).

    (more…)

    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 Revision Cards

    Monday, November 26th, 2018

    Back in the day, before the invention of Learning Tables / Knowledge Organisers, students had to make do with Revision Cards – lists of all the key ideas and concepts you might need to know for an exam (you’ll find a selection here if you want to take a trip back to a time before mobile phones ).

    Anyway, I chanced upon a mix of PowerPoint and Pdf Revision Cards (dating from around 2014 so they may require a bit of editing to bring them into line with the latest Specifications) on Chris Deakin’s SociologyHeaven website. I’m guessing the PowerPoints were designed for whole-class revision but if you want to give your students the slides as Revision Cards just use the Export function to create pdf files.

    If you find the Kristen ITC font used in the files a bit too racy for your taste, just convert the text to something like Arial.

    (more…)

    Sociology and You. Too

    Friday, May 4th, 2018

    A later (circa 2008) version of this American High School textbook that has a clean, attractive, design and some interesting content. Might well be worth considering as supplementary material to your existing resources, particularly because it is free…

    I’ve previously posted an earlier version of this American High School textbook that seems to have gone through a number of different editions, the latest of which may have been around 2014 before being “retired” (as they say in Contract Killer circles and also, apparently, American Publishing).

    This version dates from around 2008 and uses the same chapter categories as its predecessor. There are however design changes, although these are fairly cosmetic (a new picture here, a different typeface there) and, more importantly, changes to the text that brings it a little more up-to-date. Given it was originally published around 10 years ago, it’s never going to completely replace your current textbook / resources. Where it covers all the “standard stuff” (research methods, classic studies and theories…) this isn’t really a problem and I’d consider using it to supplement existing resources. There are, for example, opportunities for discussion, self-assessment and the like sprinkled liberally through the book.

    One thing you’ll probably note is that, by-and-large, there isn’t a great deal of depth or breadth to the coverage of different topics. This is partly a consequence of the design – the liberal use of pictures, graphics and tables allied to the “Creative Use of White Space” ethos leaves a lot less space for text – and partly, I assume, the level at which it’s aimed. On the other hand, some ideas / topics are dealt with in rather more depth than you might expect. A section on Ritzer and McDonaldisation in one of the Focus on Research sections, for example, goes into some depth and detail about the concept and it’s application to developments in Higher Education – something you’re not likely to see in the majority of UK textbooks.

    The sections I’ve read (admittedly not that many – I’m a Very Busy Person and I have “people” do that sort of thing for me) strike me as both interesting and very readable. Although most of the examples and illustrations have, understandably given the target audience, an American focus this might be turned to your advantage at times by providing students with a comparative edge to their studies. Alternatively just ignore them or replace them with UK alternatives… (more…)

    Free Psychology Textbooks

    Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

    Following soft on the heels of the open-source Psychology textbook comes a brief selection of additional psychology texts you and your students may or may not find useful. The list includes 4 complete textbooks, either released under a Creative Commons license or as an out-of-print edition a of current textbook. You need to be aware, if you use them, these texts are a few years “out of date” (I’ve avoided including anything more than 10 years old) and don’t exactly match any UK A-level Specification. While most, if not all, of the following are generally aimed at an American undergraduate “Introductory Psychology” audience the information is generally reflective of a-level psychology, albeit more A2 than AS.

    1. Psychology: Themes and Variations (7th edition)
    This American “Introductory Psychology textbook”, probably released around 2009 in this version, is mainly aimed at first year undergraduates (Psychology 101, at a guess) but its design and content probably makes most, if not necessarily all, of the information it contains suitable for a-level students.

    2. Psychology: Themes and Variations (9th edition) Chapter 1
    The opening chapter in the 9th (2011) edition of the textbook serves as a general introduction to the study of psychology.

    (more…)

    Sociology and You: A Free Textbook

    Monday, April 30th, 2018

    This American High School textbook just scrapes into the “published in the 21st century” criterion I set myself for finding free, out-of-print sociology texts, but I’ve included it because although it’s obviously a little dated – at least in terms of content if not necessarily design – Sociology and You (2001) was probably one of the first to push at the boundaries of textbook design for “Grades 9 – 12”. This, by my calculations, means 15-18 year olds and if you’re wondering, as we probably all are, how this fits into the UK grading system I’d say the text equates to “high GCSE” / AS-level. But this is only a rough guess – there are bits that could fit into A2 – so if you want to use it with your students it’s probably a case of suck-it-and-see before you let them have copies.

    The book itself exhibits most of the features we now take for granted in contemporary textbooks: short bursts of text, lots of big colourful pictures, key terms identified and defined, tables, boxouts, short readings, simple assessments and white space.

    Lots and lots of white space.

    In other words, anyone familiar with UK A-level texts over the past few years will see this as very familiar territory.

    Except, of course, most of the examples and illustrations are drawn from North America. Which is okay if you’re North American (or are really into comparative sociology / North Americana) but not quite so brilliant if you live and study elsewhere.

    Keeping this in mind, if you decide to have a look at the text I’ve made it available it as either a complete textbook or by chapter. I’ve provided the latter option because there are some chapters, such as those on “Sport” or “Political and Economic Institutions”, you may not need or want: put bluntly, you’re probably not going to teach stuff that’s not on the A-level Spec.

    You can also use the chapter option to see if or how the text might fit with your teaching because, as I’ve noted, judging the level is a little problematic given differences in both the US and UK grade system and the skill levels each requires of its students at different ages.

    (more…)

    More Free Sociology Texts

    Saturday, April 28th, 2018

    This post continues the Great Sociology Textbook Giveaway by stretching the definition of “textbook” to breaking-point with a dictionary, encyclopaedia and, in an SCTV first, an actual text published by a real UK publisher.

    Following hard on the heals of the first set of textbooks comes another batch of free Sociology texts I’d like you to think I discovered by digging diligently through the detritus of an untold number of obscure web sites, but actually found by Just Googling Stuff.

    This time, while there are some textbooks on offer, notably one from the UK, the net has been widened a bit to include a dictionary, encyclopaedia and a couple of texts devoted to family life and religion.

    Texts

    1. Sociology: 6th edition (2009): This is a slightly-ageing edition of Giddens’ long-running text, currently in its 8th edition (the latter has a website, if you’re interested, that could best be described as “satisfyingly-retro” in both design and content if you were being…errm…charitable). Despite it’s relative age, it’s still a text packed with all kinds of useful information. Some of it may be a step too far for some a-level students, particularly at AS level, so discretion is required over how you use the text. In terms of current Specification coverage most of the usual suspects (Family, Education, Crime, Media…) are included, but so too are areas (such as Nations, War and Terrorism) that decidedly don’t need to be studied.

    If you don’t fancy the pdf version there’s also an online flipbook version which is quite fun in a flipbook kind of way.
    (more…)

    Psychology Studies Mat

    Monday, March 26th, 2018

    Neat Notes!

    The idea for Psychology Study Mats came to me while idly browsing Pinterest and chancing upon Emily’s blog.

    I was initially struck by what may well prove to be some of the neatest and well-organised Psychology Notes I’ve ever seen and while exploring further I came across an interesting idea in the Printables section: a Study Template students use to summarise the studies they need to know in detail.

    The Template, however, is in pdf format and I guess the basic idea is to print the file (hence Printables – very little gets past me) and complete it by hand. Alternatively, it’s possible to enter text directly into the Template using something like the Acrobat Reader, but personally I find this a clunky method, particularly if there’s a lot of text to position and enter.

    So, while the basic structure and content seemed sound, I thought I might be able to add something to the Template by adapting it slightly to fit it the format I used for the PowerPoint-based Sociology Learning Mats I’d previously developed: (more…)

    Sociology Revision Booklets: 2. Theory and Methods

    Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

    The second batch of a-level revision booklets covers that ever-popular topic, theory and methods.

    As with previous offerings, both design and content can, at times, be a little variable and for this I take no responsibility whatsoever. Because I neither designed nor wrote any of the content. I am technically distributing it for your revision pleasure, however, so I do feel a modicum of responsibility for the materials.

    Not enough, obviously, to indemnify you in any way, shape or form for any losses you may occur through using any of these resources. But enough to advise you it’s something of the nature of the beast that there’s frequently a trade-off between getting your hands on free resources and the currency of those resources. You need, in other words, to go through the resources you decide to use to check they conform to your current Specification: things, as they are wont to do, sometimes change. You also need to make sure you find ways of covering newer material that may not be included in these revision booklets.

    That said, I’ve picked out some resources I think you might find useful and, where known, I’ve credited the appropriate source. Some might say this is so you know who to complain to if there’s anything you don’t like or understand but I would respond that it does you no credit to think that I might think like that. Or something.

    Anyway, without further ado, you can if you so choose pick-up these free resources:

    (more…)

    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…)

    Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes

    Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

    The 2017 OfCom Report on “Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes” (2017) covers different types of on-and-offline media use by children in the UK and it’s quite a treasure trove of visual and verbal information that will repay careful analysis – although at around 300 pages it may prove a little hard-going for most students.

    Luckily, there’s a really good Executive Summary that pulls-together a shedload of interesting empirical / opinion data and disgorges them into concise, bite-sized and consumption-friendly chunks. This section is something you or your students can easily browse, taking whatever you want from what is actually a very rich menu.

    If you’re interested in media and methods – and, let’s face it, who is? – there’s extensive details about the overall research methodology. It’s actually quite useful (in a sort-of “you know you should be interested in this stuff, but…” kind of way) because this knowledge lets you assess the likely levels of reliability and validity of some parts of the Report (such as interviews with parents about the media usage of their 3 – 4 year old children).

    If you do decide to take the plunge and swim down into the deep waters of the main section of the Report you’ll find it contains some very useful charts, tables and summaries about all aspects of children’s media use.

    However, if you’re anything like me the main takeaway from the Report is this rather neat little chart summarising “Media lives by age: a snapshot” – perfectly poster-sized for pinning on that pristine wall.

    (more…)

    21 | Health: Part 2

    Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

    The second chapter in what literally nobody but me is calling The Health Series focuses on Patterns and explanations of ill health in society and is arranged in a slightly convoluted but-quite-logical-if-you-think-about-it kind of way.

    It’s basically constructed around three broad organising categories – class, gender and ethnicity – and each is considered in terms of patterns of morbidity and mortality (which explains why we spent so much time defining these ideas in the first chapter on the social construction of health and illness).

    Once patterns of ill-health have been identified the chapter then looks at how these can be explained and evaluated, for each of the class, gender and ethnicity categories, in terms of four general types of explanation:

    1. Artefact and measurement
    2. Natural/social selection
    3. Cultural/behavioural factors
    4. Structural and material factors.

    There are a few printer’s marks (but nothing very intrusive) and a grand total of two (I counted them to make sure) pictures. Since this is a pre-clearance version of the chapter, one has a large watermark, but given the quality of picture selection throughout this is unlikely to detract from anyone’s enjoyment. Luckily whoever did the captioning was on top form here.

    To make-up for the lack of pictures there are some tables, for which I should probably take responsibility, but I’m not sure that I can.

    18 | Religion: Part 3

    Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

    The third chapter in our trawl through the murky waters of organised (and disorganised, come to that) religion looks at the relationship between religion and social position in two broad ways:

    Firstly terms of the so-called (by me at least) “CAGE” variables: class, age, gender and ethnicity. This section both outlines the relationship between each of these variables and religious beliefs / practices and evaluates a range of possible explanations for the relationships uncovered.

    Secondly, the chapter looks at the appeal of modern religious movements to different social groups, with the focus here on two types:

    a. New religious movements, based on Daschke and Ashcraft’s (2005) idea of ‘interrelated pathways’ that examines a broad typology of five different groupings (Perception, Identity, Community or ‘Family’, Society and Earth).

    b. New Age movements, based on a typology of Explicitly religious, Human potential and Mystical movements.

    Those of you who like your religion with pictures will be saddened to learn that there’s only one (and since this is the “pre-permission” version of the chapter, the spiritual purity of a group of Transcendental Meditation practitioners is somewhat sullied by a dirty great watermark that takes up most of the frame). The disappointment both of these facts might engender may be dispelled by the inclusion of a few tables and a lot of mnemonics.

    Or possibly not.

    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…)

    School Climate: A different dimension to differential educational achievement?

    Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

    The relationship between social class – or socio-economic status (SES) if you prefer – and differential educational achievement is well-known at A-level and students are expected to discuss and evaluate a range of possible factors / explanations for this relationship; these are usually grouped, largely for theoretical convenience, into “outside school” and “inside school” factors, each involving a range of material and cultural factors. The latter, for example, conventionally include things like:

  • Type of School (private, grammar, comprehensive…)
  • Teacher Attitudes that involve ideas about labelling and self-fulfilling prophecies
  • Ability grouping – practices such as streaming, setting and banding.
  • Social inclusion / exclusion – for example, physical exclusion / suspension as well as self-exclusion (truancy).
  • Pro-and-anti school subcultures.

  • Although each of these is arguably significant, they reflect a rather piecemeal approach to explaining educational achievement differences, particularly those of social class.

    One way of pulling some – if not necessarily all – of these strands together is through the concept of school climate; this encompasses a range of material and cultural organisational factors focused on “the school” that, proponents argue, foster academic achievement.

    (more…)

    Introducing Sociology: Setting Sociological Ground Rules

    Monday, September 7th, 2015

    Exercise

    One way to introduce Sociology to students who have never studied the subject is to focus on the concept of roles because this is a simple way to introduce a range of basic sociological concepts, from values, through norms to socialisation.

    If you want to give these ideas a “real world” context and meaning an easy way to do this is use an exercise focused on the idea of establishing a set of “sociological ground rules” for the course (grounded in things like classroom behaviour, work outside class and so forth).

    This not only allows you to introduce a range of basic concepts, from norms through values to socialisation and beyond, it’s also a sneaky way of getting your students to think about acceptable and unacceptable forms of classroom behaviour – whether this relates to attendance, behaviour in the class (such as the use of mobiles) or completing homework on time.

    The basic idea for this activity is a simple one: as a class you are going to decide on what everyone agrees is:

    1. Acceptable behaviour
    2. Unacceptable (deviant) behaviour

    for a Sociology class.

    To skew things in your favour, start by introducing and explaining the concept of using the example of education. This allows you to set-up two roles (teacher and student) from which you can then build the exercise (including ideas like role-set if it’s applicable to your course).

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