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Posts Tagged ‘gender’

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.

DEA: Mythbusters

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

I’ve recently been looking at the idea of school climate and its possible relationship to the gender gap in educational achievement for a forthcoming blog post, a fact I mention for a couple of reasons:

firstly, because I think the notion of school climate and its possible impact on educational achievement is an interesting idea, both conceptually and practically, that’s not really been adequately, if at all, addressed in the A-level literature and, secondly, by way of trying to create the impression that I actually plan these blog posts. I’ll leave you to decide which, if any, of these is more important (but I know where I’m placing my bet).

I mention this by way of introducing a useful and informative document I chanced across called Addressing Gender and Achievement: Myths and Realities (2009) and published by what was then the Department for Children, Schools and Families (it’s anyone’s guess what it’s called now).

In a nutshell, the document sets-out to bust-some-myths about gender and educational achievement in a simple and straightforward way:

• state the myth (“Coursework favours girls and ‘sudden death’ examinations favour boys”).
• bust it with evidence (“Changes in assessment practice reducing the value of the GCSE coursework component have had little impact on gendered achievement patterns”).
• briefly explain the evidence.

As such, it’s not only a useful and informative little document, it’s also one that’s a decidedly student-friendly read (which is quite handy if you like to get your students to read stuff).

Social Context of Policing: Policing and Diversity

Monday, September 24th, 2018

An online Crime and Deviance learning module from the University of Portsmouth looking at various aspects of policing and diversity.

It’s been a while since I last posted any crime modules from the University of Portsmouth, so I thought I’d remedy the omission by posting a few on the Social Context of Policing, starting with this one that covers various aspects of policing and diversity.

The focus of the pages is on “the issues raised by policing diversity, both in terms of police relations with diverse communities and the question of diversity within the police organisation” and the module covers, among other things:

• defining diversity (including age, gender and ethnicity)
• prejudice and discrimination (including stereotyping and labelling),
• theories of discrimination (Realistic Conflict Theory, Social Categorisation and Social Learning Theory)
• institutional racism

As with most of the modules, there’s a mix of information (short notes) and activities – with the latter, however, you need to check the links given in the text because the pages are a few years old now (circa 2012) and, this being the Internet, stuff that was once where it should be may not be there now…

GCSE Sociology Guides: Family and Education

Friday, August 17th, 2018

GCSE Sociology resources tend to be a little thin on the ground, so it’s always nice to come across decent teacher-created material such as these two bang-up-to-the-moment Revision Guides created by Kate Henney.

The Family Guide is a 25-page document that packs in a whole range of resources covering family types, diversity, alternatives, perspectives, roles and structures (plus some stuff on exam questions and a knowledge organiser…).

The Education Pack Is a 20-page resource covering perspectives, types of school, class, ethnicity and gender, factors in achievement, marketisation and educational policy (plus exam questions and a knowledge organiser).

Although the resources are in PowerPoint format it’s easy enough to save each file as a pdf document using the Export function if you want to give your students copies.

Popular Postmodernism and the Crisis of Masculinity…

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Popular forms of postmodernism are arguably a feature of many forms of current journalistic analysis of social behaviour, in both main stream and social media, with a current “crisis of masculinity” being a firm media narrative. Locating such arguments in their historical context may, however, be a more-sociologically useful way to understand them at a-level.

There’s an implicit tendency in contemporary journalism (in both mainstream and social media) to explain changing concepts of masculinity and femininity as a product of “postmodern uncertainty”, a condition that develops, it’s frequently argued, through a potent combination of two things:

1. An overabundance of choice relating to, in this instance, how to perform male and female social roles that leads, in turn, to confusion over both the distinction between – and content of – these gender roles.

2. A progressive loosening of the moral order, such that male and female identities that were once highly centred – “everyone” knew how they were expected to behave as “men” and “women” – have increasingly become decentred: the disappearance of a clear moral authority dictating “how to be” a man or a woman in contemporary societies leads to different people interpreting their different roles in different ways.

While there’s nothing particularly wrong in constructing this type of analysis to explain the fragmentation of both gender categories and gender roles (you’d very probably score good marks for it in an exam…) one criticism we can note about journalistic arguments focused around “the postmodern condition” is that they tend towards an ahistorical view of social development in two main ways:

Firstly, “historical development” is seen as a linear process – a straight line between “the past” and “the present” – that involves an evolutionary progression from “the simple” to “the complex”.

Secondly, ideas and events are interpreted and reinterpreted in such a way as to remove them from their historical context. Rather than locating “the past” in its own particular and peculiar social context, ideas and events are “ripped from history” to be understood solely in terms of the meanings and motivations of those living in “the present”.

While both of these ideas arguably represent a form of Functionalism in shiny new shoes, this is not to suggest popular ideas and debates about “a crisis of masculinity”, “toxic masculinity” or, moving further afield, concepts like “post-truth” are imaginary, unimportant or the product of that most-misused of ideas, “moral panics”. Rather, it’s to argue that these conditions need to be explained sociologically, with a clear eye on historical details and contexts.

As a case in point, you can use the following article by Ellie Cawthorne (“How to be a Man: tips from 1930’s agony aunts”, 2018) to show how ideas about “changing masculinity” can’t be simply and easily explained by reference to the kind of nebulous references to “postmodernity” favoured by contemporary journalists and commentators. The article can be read online at the BBC History Magazine website or offline by downloading it as a Word document I’ve very thoughtfully assembled for your viewing pleasure. Because online documents have a habit of disappearing into the ether.

The reference is, of course, only illustrative and suggestive (building a picture of masculinity using only a single historical source is not definitive). If you want a more-fully-researched example, you might find Pearson’s “Hooligan: A History of Respectable Fears” useful, albeit in relation to a different topic (crime and deviance) and perception of masculinity…

Sex and Gender: A Short Film

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

If you’re into flipped teaching (or even if you’re not) and want a relatively short (around 15-minute) video-introduction to sex and gender this Ted-Talk on “Understanding the Complexities of Gender” by Sam Killermann should fit the bill for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, it introduces a wide range of gender-related concepts and issues, including:
• Sex and gender
• Gender identity
• Gender roles and norms
• Gender socialisation
• Gender scripts
• Binary gender options
• Multiple gender identities
• Gender dysphoria
• Gender expression
• Masculinity and Femininity

Secondly, Killermann is an American stand-up comedian and he uses these skills to get his (sociological) ideas across in a clever and amusing way…


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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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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

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.

Raised Without Gender

Friday, April 13th, 2018

Culture and Identity is an important part of the a-level sociology specification for a number of Boards and this 30-minute film might be a good way to get your students thinking about both cultural norms generally and gender / sexual identities in particular.

The film looks at the idea of “gender neutrality” through the lens of a series of gentle interviews and observations with families and in kindergartens in Sweden, a society that has arguably gone furthest down the gender neutral route.

Although it mainly focuses on the adults and children who have, by-and-large, embraced the concept of non-binary gender, a contrary view is provided by psychiatrist David Eberhard.

The piece lends itself quite nicely to flipped teaching. Your students can watch it outside the classroom and can then be prepared for any work you decide to do on this area inside the classroom.

Education PowerPoints: Part 1

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Alongside the Revision Guides I seem to have collected a large number of Education PowerPoints that, while not explicitly geared towards revision, could be used in this way. Alternatively, they could just be used as part of your normal classroom teaching.

The Presentations are by a mix of authors (where known) but the majority are by Leigh Rust-Ashford, so they have the same “look and feel” and follow a similar format – clear teaching points, a few questions and simple exercises, a couple of illustrative YouTube videos (the only changes I’ve made to the files, apart from deleting dead links, is to format the video links so they use the PowerPoint video player) and so forth.

I’ve split the Presentations into two parts, in no particular order:

1. Meritocracy
2. Functionalism (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
3. Interactionism (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
4. Organisation of Education
5. Postmodernism4. organisation-of-the-education-system (N Sharmin)
6. Working Class Culture and Achievement (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
7. Locality and Achievement (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
8. Gender and Achievement (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
9. Class and Achievement (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
10. Postmodern education (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
11. Marxism (Leigh Rust-Ashford)

Sociology Revision PowerPoints: Crime and Deviance

Saturday, March 24th, 2018

The second part of the Crime and Deviance Revision series (the first, if you missed it,  involves revision booklets) is devoted to a range of PowerPoint Presentations that I’ve collected from various places. Just have a look at the document properties if you want to know who created them.

The quality of the Presentations is “variable” at times so it’s probably a case of having a look at any that take your fancy to see if they’re something you can use. You also need to keep in mind the date when some of these were created (again, just check the document properties).

Although most of the Presentations are just a relatively simple mix of text and graphics, some include links to YouTube videos (which you can, of course, edit accordingly if you want) and some are a little more interactive in terms of their content (posing questions, setting short exercises and the like).

Although I’ve signposted the Presentations as a revision resource there’s no reason why you couldn’t incorporate some of these into your everyday teaching if you like to use PowerPoint. They can, of course, be edited to your particular requirements.

The Presentations (all 25 of them…) are as follows:

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Beat The Bourgeoisie: A Simulation

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

Long-time readers of this blog may recall that around 18 months ago I posted a series of sociology simulations, under the general title “7 Sims in 7 Days”, one of which, Cards, Cakes and Class, focused on giving students a physical taste of social inequality. However, while I like the basic ideas underpinning the sim, it suffers from two major problems:

1. It takes a lot of time, effort and space to set-up and run.

2. It mainly focuses on economic inequality to the detriment of other dimensions of class inequality – specifically, cultural and social capital. While the former is, of course, an important dimension of inequality, students need to understand, discuss and, in this instance, experience other dimensions of inequality.

If you liked the basic idea behind “Cakes and Class” (and who doesn’t like to see their students suffer in the name of Education?) but were prevented from running the sim because you couldn’t commit to everything involved in setting it up, you might be interested in this variation by Dawn Norris (Beat The Bourgeoisie: A Social Class Inequality and Mobility Simulation Game). While it covers much the same area as Cakes and Class it does so in a way that’s:

1. Easier to set-up and run: you just need two groups of students and some questions.

2. Quicker to carry-out: Norris suggests the simulation itself should run for around 30 minutes, (with as much time as you like after for a discussion of content and outcomes).

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More Crime and Deviance Learning Tables

Friday, December 8th, 2017

A few days ago I did a post on Learning Tables that noted, in passing, that although the numbering system used suggested at least 14 Tables had been created for crime and deviance, I’d only managed to find 10.

After a bit of detective work (which sounds a bit mysterious and a touch glamourous until you realise it merely involved typing different combinations of key words into Google until it eventually came up with something useful) I managed to find two more:

right realism
crime and locality.

In the course of wandering semi-aimlessly around some of the lesser-travelled highways and byways of the web, however, I came across a range of similar-looking Learning Tables that, on closer inspection of the metadata, seemed to be by different authors (although to make matters even more confusing, Miss Elles was credited as the author of some of the newer Tables that looked very similar to the Tables I’d previously posted. The former were, however, unnumbered).

Although I’ve got little idea what might have been going-on here (maybe the Tables were the result of a collaboration between teachers / the outcome of different teachers in the same school producing slightly different Tables / someone seeing the original format and deciding to produce similar-looking Tables?) I think that whoever authored the materials (THeaton, Miss Elles, Miss G Banton and a couple of anons) they’re worth distributing to a wider audience.

If you have a look at the original post you’ll see some of the Tables listed below are duplicated – at least in terms of their title, if not necessarily their content. In this respect, you pays your money (so to speak) and you makes your choice as to whether you want to download and compare both sets where they occur (as with labelling, for example). Otherwise, here’s another Big Bundle of Learning Tables to distribute to your students or inspire them to create their own:

Class
Ethnicity
Functionalism
Gender
Global, green and state crime
Labelling theory
Crime and the Media
Left and right realism
Punishment and prevention
Victimisation.

GCSE Psychology Notes

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

As with its sociological counterpart, this is a set of short, to-the-point, GCSE Notes covering a range of topics:

• Aggression
• Development of Personality
• Learning Memory
• Non-Verbal Communication
• Research Methods
• Sex and gender
• Social Influence
• Stereotypes

As with the Sociology Notes these aren’t something that will replace whatever textbooks you use, but it’s a handy resource nonetheless, that will complement your existing resources.