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Posts Tagged ‘a-level’

Are you feeling lucky?

Saturday, September 14th, 2019
Well, do you?

When it comes to Sociology Knowledge Organisers I’m starting to feel like Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry: in all the excitement I’ve kinda lost track of what I have and haven’t posted.

So, moving quickly past the stuff about “44 Magnum’s” and their undoubted ability to separate parts of your body from other parts, we can go straight to the bit where you’ve got to ask yourself just one question:

“Do I feel lucky?”

And if the answer’s “yes” then this small batch of A-level Organisers and Guides from Kate Henney (to add to the GCSE Family and Education Revision Guides I’ve previously posted) should be a very welcome addition to your growing pile. Presupposing you don’t already have them from some other post I’ve forgotten about. In which case, please ignore what follows:

Family Organiser

Families includes two types of KO – blank and completed – on:

  • Structures
  • Diversity
  • Nuclear families
  • Alternatives
  • Functions
  • Divorce
  • Changes
  • Education covers the following:

  • Functionalism
  • Marxism
  • Interactionism
  • Types of Schools
  • Social Class
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Question Guide

    Beliefs includes two types of KO – completed and cloze (fill-in-the-gaps):

  • Ideology
  • Religious Change
  • Organisations
  • Social Characteristics
  • Secularisation
  • A-Level Exam Guides – simple overview of question types and how to answer them.

    Key Studies – a list of key names plus a one-line summary of their work for:

  • Families
  • Education
  • Beliefs
  • Crime and Deviance
  • Question Planning Sheet – detailed walkthrough showing how to successfully answer 10 mark education questions.

    Introduction to A-Level Sociology: Cultural Differences

    Sunday, July 28th, 2019
    Click to download as pdf
    Introduction to AS Sociology

    For reasons that will become clear in a moment, I was searching for a document or two about Sherbit Culture to accompany a 5-minute film clip I’d assembled from some old (2000 – 2002-ish) HSBC adverts. The idea was to use the film as a light-hearted way to introduce the concept of cultural differences to GCSE or A-Level sociologists and, from there, create a springboard to the introduction of basic concepts like values, norms and roles – the kind of stuff most teachers do at the start of the course.

    While that’s still the intention, I happened to stumble across a couple of useful little resources you might also find helpful and, indeed, complementary:

    The first, An Introduction to AS Sociology from Ullswater Community College (2007, hence the “AS” reference) has a range of notes and tasks on areas like the Sociological Imagination, Identity, Nature and Nurture and Shirbit Culture.

    The second is a free PowerPoint (“Meet the Shirbits”) created by Jacqueline Ryan (2010) as part of a short Introduction to Sociology quiz. The latter uses a supplied reading taken from the Collins Sociology AS for AQA textbook.

    Anyway, to complement these resources – or just to use as a standalone introduction from which you can spin-off whatever ideas and issues (from basic norms and values to discussion of cultural stereotypes…) – this is the “cultural difference” clip I’ve created (the quality of the original film isn’t great and I’ve edited-out the original HSBC idents. Because I felt like it).

    Losing Their Religion? Using Statistical Evidence to Evaluate Secularisation

    Thursday, July 18th, 2019

    The secularisation debate in A-level Sociology, encompassing a wide diversity of ideas around pro, anti and post-secularisation positions, is an increasingly complex area for students to cover. Although this can make it a somewhat daunting topic, it also provides significant opportunities for students to critique these different positions (and gain solid marks for knowledge, application and evaluation into the bargain).

    Given the argumentative nature of a debate that so often seems to turn on interpretations of different opinions, this, somewhat perversely perhaps, opens-up interesting opportunities for students to apply statistical data to different aspects of the debate and, by so doing, introduce highly-effective forms of evaluation into exam answers.

    In this respect the latest British Social Attitudes Survey (2019) covering religious beliefs, attitudes and practices is a useful teaching resource in the sense it provides some interesting empirical evidence students can apply to evaluate two areas of the secularisation debate:

    (more…)

    Mass Media 4 | Representations

    Friday, April 19th, 2019
    Click to download pdf file.
    Representations…

    The fourth chapter in what’s turning into, for me at least, an interminable churn through reams of notes and dtp design follows Defining and Researching the Media, The Ownership and Control Debate and The Selection and Presentation of News by focusing on Media Representations.

    More-specifically, this set of personally hand-crafted (“artisan!”) notes looks at representations in terms of:

    1. Class, Age, Gender and Ethnicity: The first part of the chapter focuses on identifying a range of key illustrative examples of various forms of media representation.

    2. Explanations: The second part of the chapter looks at how different sociological approaches (Marxism, Pluralism, Feminism and Postmodernism) have explained the meaning of different forms of media representation.

    The original notes that form the bulk of the chapter were produced around 5 or so years ago, but I’ve updated them with more-recent stuff as and where I felt it necessary.

    Update
    This chapter is also now available as an online flipbook.

    Gender and Subject Choice

    Thursday, November 8th, 2018

    Another little bonus to add to yesterday’s offering from the work I’m currently doing on the concept of school climate and its possible effect on achievement.

    This one comes in the form of a couple of pieces of research commissioned by the Institute of Physics that cover gendered subject choices at A-level.

    Closing Doors: Exploring gender and subject choice in schools (2013) provides a raft of information on male-female representation across 3 “comparable pairs” of 6 A-level subjects:

    • English and Mathematics: both core subjects at GCSE
    • Biology and Physics: two science choices at A-level
    • Psychology and Economics: A-level subjects not normally taught in earlier years.

    Although the presentation, findings and commentaries are probably a little too dense to be given directly to students, there’s plenty here for teachers to get their teeth into and selectively use. There is, however, a neat summary of the research right at the start that students will find helpful.

    It’s Different for Girls (2012) is a companion piece to Closed Doors focused much more tightly on Physics A-level. Once again, probably not something to simply hand-out to students but, again, it’s a piece of research that teachers’ might find selectively rewarding.

    If, for example, you were looking for examples of a “school climate” effect in relation to gender, it’s interesting that while the socio-economic background of a school has, as you might expect, a significant effect in terms of the raw numbers of those studying physics at A-level, there is little effect on cohort proportions. That is, the proportion of girls and boys studying a-level physics is similar across all socio-economic groups – an observation that suggests factors additional to social class impact on subject choice.

    Shortcuts to Crime and Deviance: Women and Crime

    Thursday, September 6th, 2018

    While the first film in the Gender and Crime series looked at the ideas of Gendering Crime (in every society males commit far more crimes than females) and masculinity as an explanation for greater male criminal involvement, this second film – once again built around interviews with Professor Sandra Walklate – focuses on women and crime (hence the title “Women and Crime”).

    The first part identifies some reasons for the increase in female crime and criminality over the past 25 years (albeit from a very low base. Historically women commit far fewer crimes than men so even a relatively small increase in female crime results in quite large percentage increases). These include:

    • Greater female freedoms
    • Binge drinking
    • Increased public domain participation

    • Changing criminal justice practices
    • Less judicial tolerance of female criminality
    • Economic and demographic changes.

    The second part looks briefly at the impact of 2nd wave feminist perspectives on criminology over the past 50 or so years, particularly in relation to issues of sexual and domestic violence. This part covers:

    • Patriarchy
    • Male power
    • Sexual and domestic violence
    • Empowering women
    • Hidden deviance
    • Expanding the criminological agenda.

    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…)

    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…)

    A-Level Revision Booklets: 1. Beliefs in Society

    Thursday, March 1st, 2018

    A couple of years ago I posted some A-level revision booklets / guides, one from Greenhead College on education  and three from Tudor Grange Academy (Culture and Identity, Education, Research Methods).

    On the basis that you can’t have too many revision booklets (although, thinking about it, you probably can) I thought I’d post a few more I’ve somehow managed to collect, starting with three really-quite-comprehensive booklets covering Beliefs in Society (AQA), although they also cover useful stuff on Religion (OCR, Eduqas, CIE etc.).

    Beliefs in Society is a comprehensive revision booklet that covers: definitions, theories, class, gender, age and ethnicity, organisations, science, ideology. It’s mainly brief notes with some relatively simple evaluation exercises.

    Beliefs in Society too covers much the same ground, albeit in a less-detailed way. I’m guessing this is actually a series of teaching PowerPoints, based on the Webb et al textbook exported to pdf. I could, of course, be wrong (although admittedly I rarely am).

    Religion and Ideology is by the same author (the somewhat enigmatic “Joe”) and although it suggests a focus on the “Ideology” section of the AQA Spec. it seems to interpret this brief very widely to look at theories, organisations, globalised religion, fundamentalism and a whole lot more. While it covers a lot of the same ground as the Beliefs in Society 2 booklet it generally does so in less detail. Combine the two and you’re got quite an effective set of revision (and indeed teaching) Notes.

    Learning Mats: A Generic Version

    Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

    The Learning Maps we’ve previously posted have rightly proven popular, both because of their quality and because they meet a need for tools that help students to structure their work in a simple and effective way – one that has the added bonus of providing a tightly-organised and highly visual method of revision.

    Good as they are – and I’d certainly recommend downloading them to see how they meet your teaching needs – they’re generally designed for a specific (AQA) Specification and while they can be edited to meet the requirements of different Specifications, students and teachers, this involves time and effort that might not always be readily available.

    This led me to wonder about creating a generic “one-size-fits-all” version of the Mats – one that involved teachers doing absolutely no work whatsoever in terms of creating Mats that could be used in a variety of situations and ways across a range of different Specifications.

    What I’ve tried to do in this Mat Template, therefore, is focus on what I think are the key elements students would need to cover for a good knowledge and understanding of a concept, theory or method (although, to be honest, I’m not sure about how well the version I’ve designed would work with the latter). In basic terms, this might involve:

    • Describing a concept / theory / method.
    • Identifying its key proponents, critics and studies.
    • Identifying its strengths and weaknesses.

    (more…)

    Why Did No-One Help James Bulger?

    Monday, February 26th, 2018

    “We’ll probably never really know what made two 10 year olds, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, abduct, torture and then kill two year old James Bulger on a terrible February day a quarter of a century ago.

    But there’s another question arising from the James Bulger murder that has implications for all of us.

    Why did no-one intervene to help the defenceless toddler? “

    In this short article, “Why Did No-One Help James Bulger?”, Steve Taylor looks at the case in the context of Bystander Intervention.

    The Memory Clock

    Friday, February 23rd, 2018

    Although revision, in all its different forms and guises, is an integral part of any a-level sociology (or psychology) course it’s sometimes difficult to know how to help students revise in the most efficient, effective and productive way – and this is where the Memory Clock comes into play.

    The Memory Clock is a revision system developed by Dr Caroline Creaby of Sandringham School, a mixed Comprehensive situated in St Albans, Hertfordshire that’s fast-developing into a hot-bed of interesting teaching and learning research led by practicing teachers.

    If you want to know more about the work they do inside and outside of the classroom have a look at the Sandagogy web site. The excellent Learning Journals they publish are well worth a read.

    Anyway, back to the main point of this post.

    The Memory Clock is an easy-to-learn revision routine designed to help students structure their time in such a way as to make revision focused and productive. The pdf I’ve posted is a cut-down version of Training Manual that focuses on three things:

    1. The various elements in the clock.

    2. A short explanation of these elements.

    3. A practice session based on a Sociological question. Although this example is “the future of childhood” you can obviously change this to whatever question you want your students to practice. Similarly, if you’re teaching Psychology just substitute your own question of choice.

    Try it.

    You (and your students) won’t regret it.

    Update

    If you want to save a bit of time (pun intended) there are a lot of “Memory Clock Templates” dotted around the web. Given the constraints imposed by having to stick to a clock system, however, these are much-of-a-muchness, so there’s probably no great advantage to be had searching for them. However, since some kind of pre-prepared template is better than none (unless you’re really into revision procrastination – making the materials you need to “properly revise” means you have to spend less time actually doing the boring revision part) I’ve found some examples you might find helpful:

    Revision Clock PowerPoint
    Revision Clock Picture
    Revision Clock PowerPoint templates (a selection of slightly different templates).

     

    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.

     

    Then and Now

    Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

    A few months ago I ran a couple of blog posts that featured the work of Dr Julia Russell under the headings “Hard to Find Classics”  and “More Hard to Find Classics”.

    These files came from an online column she wrote, for a video-distribution company called Uniview, that I saved with a degree of prescience that, quite-frankly, surprised me. What was less-surprising is that I promptly managed to forget about the remaining files and they stayed unposted on my hard drive.

    But that was then and this is now.

    Which is spookily interesting (or maybe not) because the latest batch of files I’m posting goes under the “Then and Now” heading. The basic idea here was to take a “classic but dated” study and update it with contemporary evidence.

    The format for each file is deceptively similar:

    1. Identify and outline a classic psychological study (although, to be fair, the “outline” seems to have gone AWOL somewhere along the line. If you use the file you’ll probably need to give your students a basic idea of the original study).

    2. Show how the original study has been updated, criticised, revised by later studies.

    3. Add a glossary of key terms.

    4. Finish with a range of activities to test student understanding.

    I’ve a feeling there were only ever 5 “Then and Now” files created. Although I could be wrong I’m probably not because I was quite methodical in the stuff I saved. Anyway, the 5 files for your teaching and learning pleasure are:

    Bandura, Ross & Ross’ (1961) “classic study demonstrating the acquisition of aggression through social learning”.

    Dement and Kleitman’s (1957) “classic study which explored sleep and dreaming using electronic recording as well as observation and diary methods”.

    Piliavin, Rodin & Piliavin’s (1969) “classic study investigating social behaviour”.

    Samuel and Bryant’s (1984) (presumably classic) “study which evaluated the procedure Piaget had used to investigate children’s understanding of physical quantities”.

    Freud’s (1909) “Analysis of a phobia in a five-year-old boy” describes and interprets the experiences, dreams and fantasies of a young boy who was studied by Freud and treated for his fears and anxieties”.

    8 | The Research Process: Part 1

    Thursday, September 14th, 2017

    While Research Methods at a-level aren’t everyone’s cup of tea they can be interesting if students are given the time and space to bring together the theory with the practice. Unfortunately I can’t help you here with the practice (although I can give you a few pointers about how to carry-out a range of cheap ’n’ cheerful activities), but I can help with the theory.

    This chapter kicks things off by looking at the idea of research design – from choosing a problem to research, through developing a testable hypothesis or research question, to data collection and analysis. Along the way the chapter takes in a range of research-centred ideas students will have to understand if they are to make the most of methods:

    • Research respondents
    • Types of representative sampling
    • Types of non-representative sampling
    • Pilot studies
    • Concept operationalisation
    • Reliability and validity
    • Primary and secondary data
    • Quantitative and qualitative data and methods
    • Ethics

    Rethinking Obesity: Nature via Nurture?

    Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

    This new film, featuring contributions from Dr Giles Yeo and Dr Clare Llewellyn, examines the evidence for and against the influence of environment and genetics in explaining obesity.

    The 16 minute film is split into three sections:

    The first focuses on “Nurture” – the influence of environmental factors, from advertising to food processing, as an explanation for the huge mean weight increases in Western societies such as America and Britain

    The second looks at “Nature” – genetic factors such as the FTO gene – as a way of explaining why some individuals appear to gain weight more easily than others.

    The final section examines the idea that to truly understand obesity we need to think in terms of the relationship between our genetic make-up and our social ad physical environment.

    The complete film is available to rent or buy On-demand.

    Categorising Situational Crime Prevention Strategies

    Thursday, June 1st, 2017

    Situational crime prevention is an area that has grown in significance over the past 30 years, both in terms of social policies towards crime and sociological / criminological solutions to “the problem of crime”; it involves, according to Clarke (1997), a range of measures designed to reduce or eliminate “opportunities for crime” in three main ways:

  • The measures are “directed at highly specific forms of crime”.
  • They involve “the management, design or manipulation of the immediate environment in a systematic and permanent way”.
  • They “make crime more difficult and risky, or less rewarding and excusable”.

  • One potential difficulty for a-level students new to the concept, however, is the number and variety of different examples of situational crime prevention – from spatial and environmental controls (Designing Out Crime), through different forms of target hardening, to various types of formal and informal population surveillance and beyond.

    To help students organize and make sense of this material, therefore, it can be useful to categorise it in terms of different situational crime prevention:

    Strategies – the primary level of organisation and
    Techniques associated with these strategies – the secondary level of organisation.

    In this respect the work of Cornish and Clarke (2003) is instructive here because they identity 5 strategies that can be used as a primary level of organisation for ideas about situational crime prevention:

    1. Increase the effort required to commit a crime: This deters a wide range of opportunistic crimes if the time and effort to commit them is increased.
    2. Increase the risks associated with the crime: Increasing the likelihood of apprehension lowers the likelihood of a crime being committed.
    3. Reduce the rewards of crime: If the value gained from offending can be lowered there is less incentive for crime.
    4. Reduce stimulus that provokes crime: Careful management of the social and physical environment reduces incentives for criminal behaviour
    5. Remove excuses: Clearly signposting behavioural rules and laws removes the argument that people did not know they were behaving deviantly or illegally.


    The secondary level of organisation identified by Cornish and Clarke involves 25 different crime prevention techniques (5 associated with each strategy) that can be introduced to students if you want them to dig deeper into situational crime prevention. These ideas are introduced and explained in a subsequent post (probably, but not necessarily, called “Part 2″).

    Psychology: Hard-to-Find Classics

    Sunday, May 7th, 2017

    For a number of years Dr Julia Russell wrote a Psychology Column for a film distribution company called Uniview and when this company decided to call it a day all the resources she’d created disappeared from the web with nary a sound to indicate they’d ever been there.

    However, with a display of foresight that, quite frankly, surprised me, I decided to save as many of the resources as I could because I think their scope and quality deserves a wider audience.

    I decided to group the resources into a range of categories (studies, revision, science etc.), with the first batch being a series of commentaries on a number of “Hard-to-Find” classic studies.

    Each file is professionally-produced and covers 5 areas of the selected study in some detail:

    Aims, Procedure, Findings, Conclusion and Comments.

    The file concludes with questions, activities and resources related to the study.

    Held and Hein (1963) Movement-produced stimulation in the development of visually guided behavior

    Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenburg (1988) Cross cultural patterns of attachment. A meta-analysis of the Strange Situation

    Jones MC (1924) A Laboratory of Fear

    Palmer SE (1975) The effects of contextual scenes on the identification of objects.

    Sociology ShortCuts F’sheet

    Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

    I’ve posted a couple of times about the Sociology Factsheets produced by Curriculum Press –  particularly about how it might be an idea for teachers to get their students to make their own versions as both a revision aid and teaching resource for future sociology students – and I thought it might be interesting to have a go at something along these lines myself: particularly because having written a number of books for different exam boards over the past 10 or so years I’ve accumulated a large stock of words that could possibly be put to some more – and probably better – use as a revision-type resource.

    The upshot of playing-around with various words and pictures is my first ShortCuts Sheet on “Approaches to Research: Positivism” (for no better reason than the fact I had some underutilised text lying around that I thought might be easy to adapt to this format).

    If you’ve got any comments, suggestions etc. about why it’s brilliant / shite / could be improved please don’t hesitate to let me know…

    Free Chapter: The Psychology of Addictive Behaviour

    Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

    The third – and probably final – free chapter from Holt and Lewis’ “A2 Psychology: The Student’s Textbook”, this one covers addictive behaviour in terms of main areas:

    1. Models

    Biological, cognitive and learning models of addiction, including explanations for initiation, maintenance and relapse

    Explanations for specific addictions, including smoking and gambling

    2. Factors affecting addictive behaviour

    Vulnerability to addiction including self-esteem, attributions for addiction and social context of addiction

    The role of media in addictive behavior 

    3. Reducing addictive behaviour

    Models of prevention, including theory of reasoned action and theory of planned behaviour

    Types of intervention, including biological, psychological, public health interventions and legislation, and their effectiveness.

     

    CIE A-Level Sociology Wiki

    Thursday, December 8th, 2016

    For those unfamiliar with this Specification, Cambridge International A-level Sociology is largely aimed at – and followed by – students outside the UK (although around 150-odd UK schools do enter students for the exam). It’s a fairly “traditional” Specification by contemporary UK standards,  but if you want to know a bit more about it, have a look at this post  that gives details about the Spec., the structure of the exam and so forth (you might be interested in the fact that unlike its UK equivalent the CIE Board still supports AS and A2 Sociology as stand-alone qualifications).

    Anyway, the main point of this post is to draw your attention to a new Wiki created by CIE students to support A-level Sociology students in their studies and the opportunities this provides for: 

    Adding your contributions to the development of content

    Making contact with a range of students and teachers across the globe (China, India, North America, Africa…).

     

    Sociology ShortCuts: Labelling Theory

    Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

    Labelling is a staple theory in the sociology of crime – both in its own right (Becker’s concept of the Outsider, for example) and in terms of its incorporation into other theoretical explanations (Radical Criminology, for example) – and in this ShortCut Professor Sandra Walklate outlines some of the theory’s key ideas:

    • Outsiders
    • Social interaction and shared understandings
    • Labelling process
    • Social contexts
    • Social reaction
    • Primary and secondary deviation
    • Tolerance levels
    • Deviant labels
    • Self-worth and self-identity

    (more…)

    Understanding Crime and Deviance in Postmodernity: Part 1

    Monday, March 21st, 2016

    blog_crime1Although the concept of a “postmodern criminology” is, for various reasons, highly problematic this doesn’t mean that newer approaches to understanding and explaining crime don’t have something to offer the a-level sociologist. In this two-part extravaganza, therefore, we can look at two (yes, really) dimensions to this criminological shift through the medium of a couple of lovingly-prepared workbooks.

    The first workbook – a critique of conventional criminology – helps students understand some of the points-of-conflict between conventional (positivist) and postmodern criminologies, with the focus on areas like:

    • The ontological reality of crime

    • The myth of crime

    • Criminalisation, punishment and pain

    • Crime control

    The workbook identifies and explains these ideas and also includes space for students to test their knowledge and understanding through relatively simple critical tasks.

    A second workbook, Deviance as Harm, is also available.

    Beyond Milgram: Obedience and Identity

    Monday, March 7th, 2016

     

    In the early 1960s two apparently-unrelated events, separated by thousands of miles, took place that, in their own way, shocked the world.

    The first, in early 1961, was the Jerusalem trial of Adolph Eichmann. He was accused – and subsequently convicted – of being one of the organisers of the Nazi Concentration Camps in which millions of innocent victims were sent to their deaths.

    The second, a few months later, was a series of experiments carried out in and around Yale University, by Stanley Milgram.

    What connects these two events is obedience and, more specifically, the idea of “blindly obeying” orders given by those in authority.

    • In Eichmann’s case “blind obedience” was manifested in his defence – both during and after the trial – that he was merely the agent of a higher, more-powerful, will. He was, he claimed, guilty of nothing more than being a loyal soldier; one who simply “obeyed the orders” he was given.
    • In the case of Milgram’s “Teachers”, “blind obedience” was apparently manifested in the willingness of two-thirds (66%) of his volunteers to deliver what they believed were lethal electric shocks to “Learners”. Were Milgram’s Teachers simply “obeying the orders” given to them by Milgram’s experimenters?

    (more…)

    Exam check list: do’s and don’ts

    Saturday, March 5th, 2016

    Another checklist put together for the CIE Sociology textbook. No great revelations, but probably helpful to know.

    Do:

    Practice answering questions under exam conditions. The more you practice the better you become.
    Sleep on it Memory functions best when activity, such a revision, is followed by sleep; during sleep the brain consolidates learning and retention.
    Read each question carefully Be clear about what each question is asking and how you plan to answer it.
    Answer all parts of a question If the question has two parts then each part will carry half the available marks.
    Relate your effort to the marks available Don’t waste time chasing one or two marks if it means you run out of time to answer higher mark questions.
    Spend time planning your answer to extended questions This will structure your answer and help to ensure you use all the assessment criteria.
    Review your answers When you’re writing at speed under pressure you will make mistakes; of spelling, punctuation and grammar as well as content. By taking a few minutes to read through your answers you can rectify these mistakes.
    Double space your answers (leave a gap between each line in your answer booklet). When you review your answers in the final few minutes of the exam you will find mistakes; it’s easier and neater to correct mistakes or add missing words on the blank line above your answer.
    Present your answers clearly and neatly

     

    Buy new pens for the exam – old pens often leak and make your answers look messy. Only use black or blue ink. Punctuate properly and avoid abbreviations. Check your spelling and grammar when you review your answers.

    (more…)