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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.

Transitions

GCSE – A-level

Introduction to Sociology: Work pack in Word format “designed to provide 15 hours of work (5 hours a week over 3 weeks) to prepare you for studying A-level Sociology”. The focus is considering and applying notions of “fairness” across sociological perspectives, education, family and crime and is, even If I say so myself, quite a novel way to approach things.

A Level Sociology Summer Work: Provides an essay Topic: ‘My Socialisation – which social factors have made me who I am?’. Admittedly you could probably have thought that one up yourself, but what the heck.

Summer Work Pack: Short notes and activities covering a range of topics – from What is Sociology? through Society and social change to Education, Family and Deviance. There are also suggestion for Wider Reading, Watching and Listening.

Summer Task 2019: Students are required to make a short (A4) set of notes on the “life and work” of each of Durkheim, Marx, Weber and Mead.

Independent Work Tasks

An Introduction to AS Sociology using a variety of notes and short tasks.

Preparation assignment for A-Level Sociology Summer 2021: Short readings, notes, questions and videos covering a general introduction to A-Level Sociology.

Sandringham Sociology: A few simple activities of the “read this and make notes” variety to familiarise students with some introductory ideas and perspectives.

Sociology A Level Summer Work: Three tasks of increasing complexity and effort – from What is sociology? through Notes on postmodernism to “finding news articles” to answer various questions on education, family, media and crime.

Year 12 Sociology Summer Work: Three tasks of varying complexity, from short notes on introductory concepts (norms, values…) to producing a Handout on Marx, Durkheim, Weber and (for some reason) Oakley…

Work Poverty and Welfare: A range of activities (mainly, but not exclusively questions) designed to introduce students to probably the least-popular option on the Sociology specification. It doesn’t get much better than this. Welcome to Sociology indeed!

Sociology Transition Booklet: A big, bold and comprehensive Introductory booklet with most of the focus on the mechanics of studying A-level Sociology (the Course, Assessment Objectives and the like). One to choose if you want a general introduction to what’s involved with AQA Sociology.

Summer Preparation Work: This takes a slightly different approach (and then some) to introducing students to Sociology by asking them to research and apply their knowledge and understanding of the impact of Covid-19 across a range of possible sociological areas (inequality, education, family life, deviance, beliefs in society). An interesting idea.

Summer Work Pack: A big pack of notes and activities that offers students “taster lessons” on areas like deviance and family life.

Bridging the Gap: Brief introduction to major sociological perspectives plus suggested work on Education. There’s also a short “suggested reading” section.

Chelmer Valley:  This site offers a choice of three types of task: the Creative Task requires students to design a research questionnaire on crime, the Writing Task involves a short essay on “How to improve society” and the Reading Task requires students to answer questions on sociological topics using information taken from “a well-known Sociology revision website”.

Sociology Summer Work 2018: Short questions relating to key introductory terms, sociological theories and theorists.

Induction and Summer Work 2018: Set of three materials relating to education: Introduction to Education is the main resource that asks students to consider the role and purpose of education. Two further resources – The Education System and an Education Help Sheet (which, if I’m not mistaken are pages copied from “a popular A-level textbook”) – complete the pack (and Copyright Infringement. Probably).

Independent Work Tasks: Short research tasks based around Family, Education, Beliefs in Society and Deviance. Students are given a brief scenario from which they have to answer questions or  write a short response. Possibly from the heart, but I could just be making that up.

A-Level Sociology: Mainly focuses on explaining the idea of a Sociological Imagination and asking students to apply the concept to a range of areas (driving a car, becoming a parent…) which is quite a novel and interesting approach that’s well-worth “borrowing”. Also includes some short statistical and evaluative work that’s not quite so interesting.

Summer Vacation Work: Mainly suggested reading and listening (podcasts) but a bit of written work on perspectives.

Theories of Society: Notes with simple multiple-choice tasks introducing a range of sociological perspectives.

Starting Sociology AS: A mix of tasks (find examples of sociology in the news, conduct simple interviews, produce a poster about key sociological perspectives…) designed to keep idle hands busy over the summer months.

Sociology: Lots of notes followed by some simple comprehension questions designed to be a comprehensive introduction to the question “What Is Sociology?”.

Sociology A Level Summer Work 2021: This takes a radically-different approach to the whole “transition work” thing by using a podcast to both outline some of things students will be studying and to provide a number of short offline activities they can do. Unfortunately, while the video suggests the materials students will need to complete these activities “are on the Long Road web site” I couldn’t find them. Regardless, it’s the thought that counts and this technique is a bit different and maybe one you might want to consider.

Sociology Summer Task: This short booklet focuses on 6 Introductory Sociology concepts (culture, socialisation, norms, values, status, roles) by providing a brief explanation for each and activity (or two) to elicit understanding.

Sociological Theory Booklet

A1 – A2

Redhill Academy: Selection of activities around the topic of racism. Includes suggestions for further reading.

Second Life: These materials are a little left-field in that they require students to write a 500 word report on a virtual community (they suggest Second Life – I had to check that it was still in existence, but apparently it is). Would be interesting to know where this is designed to lead, but since the author teaches “just down the road” from me and we’re connected on LinkedIn I could probably find out if I was really bothered…

Subculture Collage: Interesting if you’re studying culture / subculture. Otherwise, not so much.

Summer Work: Research and write a question on conflict and consensus approaches to society. What may be of more interest, however, is the Sociological Theory Booklet that contains a comprehensive range of notes and questions. There are also a couple of useful PowerPoints on Marxism and Feminism and a short handout on Marxism and Neo-Marxism you or your students might find helpful.

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