More Sociology Summer Transition Resources | 2

Part 2 of a range of fairly up-to-date transition materials that might both inspire and save you a bit of time and effort.

Because Other People have done the Hard Miles.

GCSE to A-level

The second batch of resources is designed to ease the transition from a GCSE mode to an A-level orientation:

St Mary’s Catholic School: A set of transition materials conveniently divided into 4 separate weeks to keep idle hands and brains busy through those long summer days.

Week 1: Focuses on a range of tasks relating to education and sociological perspectives that broadly involves making notes from Internet sources, either web sites or videos.

Week 2: The focus for this week is understanding and applying Functionalism, which involves a range of tasks, from fill-in-the-gaps through applying knowledge to summarising key ideas.

Week 3: This week the focus is on Feminism and mainly consists of reading some Introductory book chapters (supplied), making notes, answering questions and applying this information to different situations. It might be more-interesting than I’ve just made it sound.

Week 4: The final week’s work focuses on Marxism and education and aside from the by-now familiar “watch this video and take notes” activities there’s a final “research task” that involves explaining differential educational achievement from a Marxist perspective.

Research Induction Tasks: As the name suggests, this provides a couple of research-based tasks for students to complete. The first, for those new to sociology, involves answering a few (actually four) very simple questions on The Family (Sample question: “Define the term ‘expressive role’”). The second, for those who’ve studied Sociology at GCSE, is to conduct an extensive (and I do mean extensive) piece of research on any given issue. This is as long and convoluted as the previous task was short and simple. If you can remember Coursework, think “Research Project”.

6th Form Preparation work: A simple grid of 8 tasks ranging in length from 30 minutes to 2 hours. These seem to go from the straight ahead (read about Socialisation and summarise key ideas) to the decidedly left field (watch a TED talk called “Does Education Kill Creativity?” and answer the question in “a piece of extended writing”).

Ashlawn School: A booklet containing 4 “research-based Tasks” on Families, Education, Beliefs and Crime. Each task involves doing a bit of reading, summarising various arguments and writing a short (500 word) summary.

Coloma Sixth Form: There are a variety of tasks here, the first of which cover sociological perspectives (Functionalism, Feminism and Marxism) and borrows freely from the Myton School Booklet featured in Part 1, which is nice, but for some reason doesn’t include Action Theory. Which probably isn’t.

There’s also a (hard!) Cloze (fill-in-the-gaps) exercise on “What is Sociology”, a long list of TED talks students might want to listen to, if they can work-out how to find them and some seemingly random ideas about what students can do over the summer holiday – Help out at a food bank / Visit Harrods in Knightsbridge to get a real life understanding of what the wealthy spend their money on / Join the French Foreign Legion / Go to Parliament square in front of the Houses of Parliament where people protest – only one of which I’ve just made up.

Sociology Summer Transition Work: A couple of ideas for simple pieces of research, one on Private Schools, the other on Perspectives (Marxism, Feminism and Functionalism – not sure why Action Theory has gone AWOL again).

North Chadderton: A 20-page “programme of resources and activities” that begins with the slightly-bonkers “What kind of sociologist are you?” task that also features in the Myton School Booklet. There’s also a section on defining “key Introductory terms” and a couple of “research activities” covering methods and ethical issues. A “Perspectives” task involves completing a short table about various Perspectives (which, again, ignores Interactionism for some reason. Am I missing something here?). There are a couple of “watch the video and answer the questions” tasks, and Shirbit Culture makes a welcome reappearance. The Booklet finishes (or does it?) with suggestions for Summer Reading. Listening and Watching.

Post Credits: Up pops a single-page set of questions asking students to reflect on the activities they’ve done, which is Quite a Nice Idea that you could usefully steal.

Countesthorpe Academy: A 30+ page booklet featuring 6 separate activities (What is Sociology?, Social Problems, Crime and Deviance, Education, Families, Global Issues) subdivided into a range of small(ish) tasks designed to get students thinking about the world in which they live. This is a document you could easily give to your prospective A-level students as is – the instructions suggest it should take around 12 hours to complete – or you could pick and adapt the tasks to suit.

Introduction to A-level Sociology: This 20 page offering does pretty much what it says by way of introducing Sociology, Family Life and Education to a new cohort of A-level students. Sociology is introduced through a few photocopied book pages and their accompanying activities (of the “Identify / Describe / Suggest” variety, so nothing too taxing) plus a short glossary to complete. The latter two are introduced by “Read the Item, answer the questions” activities while a final Activity (“How would you take charge in a world-wide pandemic?”) is a kind of “Lifeboat Game” / “Build A Society” hybrid that’s both ambitious and not a little daunting.

A1 to A2

I found a definite dearth of transition resources for Year 12 to Year 13, presupposing it’s possible to discover something that isn’t there (Discuss) but I did find one thing (Discuss some more?):

Holly Lodge High School: 4 poverty-related tasks that require students to Read, Listen, Watch and Write. Interesting concept, just not a very interesting topic (allegedly). There is, of course, nothing to stop you pinching the idea and applying it to some other part of the course.

Summer Independent Learning: Almost as soon as I’d written the above I came across this offering from New College, Doncaster that consists of 27 pages about different kinds of sociological perspective. Most of the tasks on offer consist of the “read this and then answer these questions” variety, but there are also a couple of Cloze exercises and an “essay planner” thrown in for good measure.

Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to create a comprehensive booklet that covers a lot of ground and this is a document you’re probably going to use in your classroom at some point, just for the information alone…

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