Revising Perspectives

I’ve been trawling through some of the old ATSS material I seem to have collected and “stored” (oddly, enough, behind bookcases and stuffed towards the back of filing cabinets) over the years and came across this simple revision activity by Warren Kidd.

I’ve adapted it very slightly from the original but in the main it’s more-or-less as Warren wrote it.


1. A set of cards (playing card size will be fine) labelled with the perspectives you want to test: e.g.

  • Marxism
  • Functionalism
  • Interactionism
  • Feminism
  • Postmodernism
  • You can vary the labels as you see fit for whatever is being revised / tested. You might, for example, want to test neo-functionalism, neo-Marxism or different types of feminism (such as liberal, radical or post).

    Example Perspectives Cards (with some blanks). You can cut-out-and-keep the pre-prepared cards and use the blanks as a template for making your own set.

    2. A set of cards, probably around 15 or 20, depending on the size of the class and what’s being revised, labelled with either general topics (crime and deviance, mass media…) and / or issues and debates within a particular topic.

    If, for example, you’re revising a single topic, such as crime and deviance, select issues / debates that reflect key theories / concepts / themes within that topic. In this instance one issue / debate might be “Does Prison Work?” or “Who are the Criminals?”. You can, if you wish, include the topic being revised.

    Example Issues Blank Cards: To use these cards you will need to add your own issues / theories / concepts etc.

    How To Play

    This may work best as a small group or whole class activity, but it can be played-out individually – although the problem here is that if a student hasn’t actually revised a perspective / issue they will not be able to contribute much to the revision class. Doing the activity as a small / whole group activity means that those at different stages of their revision may contribute to / learn from the activity in different ways.

    If you’re playing as a small group you should provide one set of the Perspectives cards for each group. You can either provide one set of the “Issues and Debates” cards for the whole class or one set for each group.

    Place each set of cards face down on the table.

    Whether as a small group or whole class, ask a student to select one card from the top of the Perspectives pack and another student to select the top card from Issues and Debates pack.

    As a group or a class students then have a set time (5 – 10 minutes will probably be enough, but you can play it by ear) to demonstrate how their chosen perspective would examine / explain the issue being discussed.

    The advantage of doing the activity as a class is that you’re more-likely to get some initial ideas / suggestions which can be recorded and built-on by other students. In this way you’re more-reliant on a lot of students having done at least a bit of revision and less reliant on all students having done a lot. It also means that quieter students or those who haven’t done much revision yet can also benefit from the fact you’re recording (using something like a Mind Map is good for this type of activity) useful information about a topic.

    Although the Revision Activity was originally designed for Sociology revision there’s no reason it couldn’t be used for other subjects, such as Psychology.

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