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Global Connections Lesson Plans

Monday, September 17th, 2018

Although the focus of these lesson plans and student workbooks is on American culture it’s easy enough to substitute “America” for any other culture you want to cover…

Although I can’t remember exactly where I found these resources, they seem to be linked to some sort of international educational company / program (VIF) and they’re professionally produced to a high standard of both design and competence (there’s a focus – some might say obsession – with meeting various American educational Standards).

If you’re subject to these Standards the mapping of the materials is going to be very useful, but even if you’re not you should find something here that’s useful for your teaching – either because you’re seeking to understand something about “American Culture” or, as I’ve suggested, you want to apply the basic ideas contained in the lesson plans to some other culture of your choice.

Booklet 1: The US American Way

The first booklet “examines the identity and origin of U.S. Americans and how others in the world perceive U.S. Americans” through a range of suggested resources, web links and exercises. In addition, there are 3 specific lesson plans covering:

• The definition of and who is a U.S. American.
• The origin of U.S. culture.
• How Americans perceived globally.

Student Workbook: The US American Way

This contains a variety of exercises and activities related to the lesson plans contained in Booklet 1.

Booklet 2: Pop Culture

The second booklet “investigates the connectedness of the world’s people by examining components of pop culture and its effects on regions of the world” and, as with the first Booklet, begins with suggestions for resources, links and simple exercises.

The 3 lesson plans in this Booklet cover:

• The things, ideas, places and people that define popular culture.
• The impacts of American pop culture on other regions of the world.
• The global source of several American pop culture trends.

Student Workbook: Pop Culture

This has a variety of exercises and activities related to the lesson plans contained in Booklet 2.

Understanding Media and Culture: Free Textbook

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication (to give it its full title) is a textbook, released under a Creative Commons licence by the University of Minnesota, that’s free to read, copy and share – which makes it especially useful for schools / colleges or students on a tight budget.

Under this particular licence you’re also free to adapt the work in any way you like (“remix, transform, and build upon the material”) and what this will mostly mean is that if you want to chop chapters or sections out of the textbook you’re free to distribute these in any way you like (you just can’t charge anyone for the privilege).

In terms of content, the main body of the text dates from 2010 but there has been some updating in 2016 (particularly around the impact of new technologies) which makes it pretty up-to-the-moment as far as textbooks go.

The emphasis on media and culture means that most of the text is given-over to an analysis of the cultural impact of different types of media, both old (books, newspapers, film and television) and new (video games, entertainment, the internet and social media). Each type is given their own discrete chapter which, among other things, looks at their broad development, relationship to culture and, perhaps most-interestingly, how they have been impacted by the development of new technologies.

The remaining chapters deal more generally with a range of areas: concepts of culture, media effects (there’s coverage of a range of theories dealing with direct and indirect effects), globalisation, the relationship between the media and government and a final section on the future of the mass media.

Each chapter also has its own learning objectives, brief summary and short exercises. Whether or not you find these useful is, as ever, a moot point. I’m personally not a big fan, but Publisher’s love them so we probably have to learn to live with them.

Or ignore them.

It’s your choice.

Finally, one obvious drawback, as far as UK teachers and students are concerned, is that the cultural focus is largely North American. This means that many of the chapters draw on materials and examples that will be unfamiliar to any but an American audience and UK teachers who decide to use these chapters may want to take advantage of the aforementioned editing privileges afforded by the CC license.

If you think you might be able to live with this, the textbook’s available to:

Read online
• Download in a variety of ebook formats (such as mobi and epub) or as a pdf file.

Get Back The Heartbeat: A Film about Social Control

Monday, June 4th, 2018

Around 10 years ago I was contacted by a French film student asking permission to use something I’d written about social control as the basis for a Sociology lecture to be featured in a short film they were producing and directing.

I’d forgotten all about it until I was rooting around in a bookcase looking for something I’d lost and came across the DVD.

I remember being both taken aback and impressed by the film at the time and, on viewing it again after a gap of a few years, I still like what the director has done, both overall in terms of the look and feel of the film and, more specifically, in turning some simple a-level Sociology notes into something more brooding and menacing than anything I ever achieved during my 15 or so years in the classroom.

Although this is a film about “social control”, I’m still not entirely sure about its actual meaning – although that, of course, could be the point if you subscribe to a Barthesean view of the world.

The postmodernic layer of meaning-upon-meaning vibe is also enhanced by the fact that while, quantitatively, I wrote the spoken script, qualitatively, it was nothing to do with me: I played no part in its production save to provide the text that was then shaped and sculpted by the actual writer into the film you’re about to watch.

Overall, the film’s a bit weird (and then some), but I like it for its striking visuals, black-and-white visualisation and the odd sensation of hearing what were essentially some rather dull lecture notes given a new and rather wonderful sense of being.

Or something.

Maybe I’m getting a little bit carried away by the whole French auteur thing?

Culture and Identity

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

These documents were created for the OCR A-level Sociology Specification around 10 years ago and although they’re not bang-up-to-date in terms of the studies they cite there’s nothing to stop you adding a few more of your own if and when the fancy takes (they’re all presented as Word documents for reasonably-easy editing).

They were created by Christopher Stump around 10 years ago and I’m guessing their main purpose was for “revision”, something I gleaned from the fact that a few of the files mention this in their title. Very little, as you can probably tell, gets past me.

In other news, the “Ethnic Identities” file is a simple exercise that could be easily adapted to other forms of identity, such as class or gender, with minimal changes.

They’re all mainly one or two page documents so there’s nothing too detailed or extensive, but they’re nicely put together and I’m sure someone will find a good home for them and put them to good use.

Although they’re specifically aimed at OCR, there’s nothing here that isn’t equally-applicable to any Spec (AQA, Eduqas, CIE…) that covers culture and identity:

Culture
Socialisation
Hybridity Studies
Identity Revision
The Creation and Reinforcement of Ethnic Identities through Socialisation

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.

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An Open-Source Sociology Textbook

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

A free (open-source) Sociology textbook (plus resources) that could be used to supplement your existing textbooks and classroom resources.

While the idea of “open-source software” – programs created, modified and freely distributed to users who also contribute in various ways to their subsequent development – has long-been a feature of digital technology, it seems a little odd the concept hasn’t been applied to other areas, such as textbook publishing, given how easy it is to collaborate, design, publish and distribute books largely indistinguishable from those produced by professional publishers.

Whatever the reason, the free textbook “Introduction to Sociology” – created and distributed by the OpenStax College and now in its 2nd edition – is the first sociology textbook I’ve come across organised around open-source principles (as opposed to simply being freely distributed by its author).

What this means is that not only can you use the text as you would any other textbook (giving students individual digital or paper copies, for example, or integrating it into Canvas if you use this free LMS) you also have a wide range of format options, most of which (reading online, downloading to desktop, viewing on mobile devices) are free. If you really must have a properly bound copy this can be purchased for around £16 / $30.

Once you get past the various viewing options you’ll find a textbook created by a number of different authors (all, I assume, employed by Rice University?) designed primarily as a primer for American undergraduates taking an introductory module in Sociology (“Sociology 101”). This level, from what I’ve read of the text, seems perfectly acceptable for A-level Sociology (which probably says something about either the American or the British education system).

While you need to take into account both its target audience (most of the text, illustrations, examples and so forth reference American society – it is, in other words, pretty ethnocentric) and some of the preoccupations of American Sociology (a focus on areas like race and ethnicity, for example, that isn’t given such a central focus by A-level Sociology) the textbook covers areas that will be very familiar and useful to a-level sociologists. These include:

• Culture and Socialisation
• Family
• Education
• Health
• Inequality
• Religion
• Deviance
• Media

Although most of these aren’t covered in any great depth – and you’ll find significant parts of UK Sociology Specifications aren’t addressed – there’s plenty of useful material here for a-level students and teachers. While it’s probably not going to replace your main sociology textbook it could be worth considering as an additional text to supplement the existing resources you use – particularly because of its portability across different devices.

In addition, there are a number of Instructor and Student resources you can sign-up for. To access some – such as PowerPoint Presentations and the Test Bank – you need to register with a school / college email account, but the resources are free once you’ve registered.

It’s also possible, even if you don’t want to contribute suggestions for future updates, to add “community resources” to support the text. While there’s not much available at the moment, one example of these resources is a series of short video lectures you may or may not find helpful.

Culture and Identity PowerPoints

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

To complement the Culture and Identity Revision booklets I’ve assembled a range of PowerPoint Presentations from a variety of sources including some nice little presentations put together by the OCR Exam Board (with accompanying Instruction and Activity booklets).

While the Presentations are probably more-suited to integration into an Introductory Sociology / Culture and Identity teaching session (the Presentations cover areas like culture, socialisation, identity, perspectives and the like), some may have value as a revision tool.

As ever, the Presentations vary in size, complexity and competence (although I’ve tried to weed-out Presentations I didn’t think added much value or which weren’t sufficiently focused on A-Level Sociology). Where known I’ve indicated the author of each Presentation, to whom you should direct any plaudits, questions or brickbats.

1. Culture and Identity (Steven Humphreys)
2. Introductory Concepts (Mark Gill)
3. Social and Personal Identities (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
4. Culture
5. Socialisation
6. Feminism and Patriarchy (Chris Deakin)
7. Class identity (Liz Voges)
8. Primary and Secondary Socialisation
9. Socialisation and Resocialisation (Gobind Khalsa)
10. Class, Gender, Ethnicity (Mark Gill)
11. Social Control (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
12. Culture and Social Identity (Joe McVeigh)
13. Elements of Culture (Rebekah Colbeth)
14. Identity and Hybrid Identities (OCR) | Teacher Instructions | Activity Booklet
15. Culture and Cultural Identity (Jane Lister Reis)
16. Sport and National Identity
17. Culture, Values and Norms (OCR) | Teacher Instructions | Activity Booklet 
18. Culture and Cultural Hybridity (OCR) | Teacher Instructions | Activity Booklet

Culture and Identity: The Erasmus+ Project

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Although I’m not exactly sure what the Erasmus Project was – it seems to have come to an end in 2017 – but from what I can make out from its web site it appears to have been a collaborative project between non-profit organisations in England, Poland and Slovakia designed to create and distribute resources to young people to promote multiculturalism.

These resources consist of six “scenarios” or Study Packs containing suggestions for a range of mini-lectures, activities – from how to create a Mind Map or Infographic to methods for activating student discussions – and simple games.

The materials are based around a series of lesson plans designed to explore different areas and aspects of “multiculturalism” and while a-level sociology teachers probably won’t want to follow the plans precisely, there are bit and pieces that could be usefully extracted and integrated into lessons related to culture and identity.

While nothing in the resources is going to radically change the way you teach, they might give you a few ideas to contemplate.

Or indeed pinch.

I’m going for the latter.

Probably.

1. Multiculturalism: What is it?

2. Culture vs cultural identity

3. Equality vs Diversity

4. Human Rights

5. From conflict to consensus

6. Multicultural labour market

Sociology Revision Booklets: 6. Culture and Identity

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

Somewhat surprisingly, at least to me, there seems to be a positive dearth of Culture and Identity related revision material, at least of the Word / Pdf variety (PowerPoint users seem much better served). Why that should be I don’t know but I have managed to find a few resources you and your students might find helpful:

1. Revision Checklist (K.Birch): I’ve included this because it’s one of the few revision resources I’ve been able to find for the OCR Board and while it’s not particularly exhaustive it does provide a list of key concepts, some simple practice questions and some sample exam-type questions for each topic in the Culture and Identity module.

2. Sociological Perspectives: Some quite extensive notes dedicated to different types of sociological perspective.

3. Culture and Identity: This is another set of paged Notes by Mark Gill that I’ve collated into a single document for the convenience of everyone involved. I’ve kept it as a Word document so that you can easily separate-out sections if you want to give your students Notes on a specific topic. As ever with these Notes there’s quite extensive coverage of a range of areas: socialisation, perspectives, identities and globalisation.

4. Culture, Socialisation and Identity: This combines short Notes focuses on the concept of culture with simple student exercises

5. Culture, Identity and Agents of Socialisation: Short Notes mainly aimed at illustrating the relationship between different identities (gender, age, ethnicity, etc.) and different agencies of socialisation.

6. Facebook and the Presentation of Self: This is an article originally published in Sociology Review (2017) that uses the example of Facebook to illustrate arguments about structure and action. While it’s not exactly a revision piece it might help students clarify this relationship if they need it. It also looks at how personal and social identities relate to structure and action.

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.

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