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Posts Tagged ‘revision’

Theory / Concept Maps

Monday, July 19th, 2021

Theory (or Concept) Maps are printables students can use to clarify and organise their ideas about key theories and / or concepts in sociology or psychology.

Click to download pdf file

In other words, they’re a teaching and learning tool that’s designed to be printed and completed by hand.

In the Theory Map File I’ve included both an example file – where I’ve indicated “what goes where” in each box – and a blank file that’s ready and waiting to be printed and completed.

Whenever a student encounters a new Theory or Concept they want to record and evaluate, all they need to do is print-off, complete and store a new page.

I’ve tried to keep the Map as simple and concise as possible to encourage students to see it as a relatively quick and painless way to create a revision-type resource they construct throughout their course. To this end, the Map has three basic levels that need to be successfully completed:

1. An indication of the Theory or Concept being discussed.

2. A short description of 3 Key Traits associated with the Theory / Concept.

3. For each Key Trait, a short explanation of evidence that supports the Theory / Concept and an equally short explanation of any evidence that contradicts or criticises the Theory / Concept.

The Maps are sufficiently flexible to be used in a variety of contexts – whole-class, small group or individual – and they encourage students to effectively create a glossary of key theories / concepts with the added bonus of getting them to think about evaluative evidence linked to the main ideas as they’re doing it.

Study Rocket: A-Level Psychology Revision Resource

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

Study Rocket seems to have begun life as a revision web site for a range of subjects, one of which was – and still is to a large extent – AQA Psychology A-level.

Study Rocket…

I say “was” for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, because the site now advertises the fact “we’ve decided to make all of our content totally free for everyone to use, forever”, which suggests it wasn’t in the past.

Secondly, it seems to have now pivoted towards an app that allows students to create “personalised revision timetables” (whatever they may turn-out to be…).

And finally, it looks like it’s become something of a ghost site that’s unlikely to ever be updated.

This, however, is not something that need detain us further because, when all’s-said-and-done, what we have here is a shed-load of revision material stretched across three main areas:

  • Introducing Topics in Psychology
  • Issues & Options in Psychology
  • Psychology in Context.
  • The resource is a combination of pithy Notes – relatively simple explanations of topics coupled with short evaluation points (a la just about every printed revision text ever) – a few pix / graphics and, quite interestingly, short embedded videos dotted around the text.

    If you want to see all the available videos – 15 short animated films, around 2 – 4 minutes in length – you can do so via the Study Rocket YouTube Channel.

    Essay Planning: Killing The Question

    Sunday, July 4th, 2021

    This is an idea that I found on an old Rachel Whitfield blog page that I’ve pimped-up a bit but which is essentially her’s – although part of the attraction, for me, was that it fitted quite neatly into my own ideas about Sociology students taking on the role of Sociological Detectives.

    PowerPoint Walkthrough

    In this particular case the role-playing scenario is an essay-planning exercise that can be run at any point in a course although I guess it would probably be most effective at the end of a Module, such as Crime and Deviance, when your students are likely to have a good familiarity with the content required to answer an essay-type question.

    Although the following details how to run the revision sim I’ve put together a short PowerPoint Presentation that walks you through the process if you need it.

    (more…)

    The Learning Scientists: Free Revision Resources

    Monday, June 7th, 2021

    Over the past 5 or so years I’ve posted a few times about the revision resources provided by The Learning Scientists: from retrieval practice and spaced study booklets to simple video explainers about the basic science behind successful forms of revision.

    Poster…

    This latest post brings together a new set of resources designed to help teachers and students develop successful revision strategies, grouped into 6 separate, but related, topics:

  • Spaced Practice
  • Retrieval Practice
  • Elaboration
  • Interleaving
  • Concrete Examples
  • Dual Coding.
  • Each of the above leads to a range of resources designed to help you teach / illustrate the topic:

  • A classroom display Poster
  • A PowerPoint Presentation that walks students through the basic ideas underpinning the topic.
  • Cut-out-and-keep Bookmarks that outline the basics of a topic and prompt students to reflect on information they’ve previously read.
  • A set of sticker templates you’re unlikely to use unless you and your students are Really Into Sticker Culture. And even then, I’d say it was probably marginal.
  • A short (2 – 3 minute) YouTube video explainer.
  • While it’s important to note that applying any or all of these revision techniques is no guarantee of exam success – as the Learning Scientists note, “We cannot guarantee success, and we cannot predict students’ grades based on the use of these strategies. There are a lot of variables at play during learning…” – their efficacy is at least based on cogitative psychological evidence about what does and doesn’t work when it comes to effective revision.

    Which is, you’ll probably agree, something.

    AllSociology Podcasts

    Monday, April 12th, 2021

    I stumbled across Ben Hewitson’s Sociology Podcasts via his Allsociology Instagram page – the latter’s well worth a look for the free Revision Card Thingies (they’re probably not called that, but it was the best I could come up with) that highlight some key ideas in a-level sociology in a very visual way – and what’s on offer is well worth a listen.

    A Revision Card Thingy
    (as it must now be Officially Called).

    The Podcasts have been going since October 2019 and there are currently 19 episodes available, varying in length from around 30 – 60 minutes depending on the topic. The latter include revision-type discussions on crime and deviance, religion, stratification, social policy, education and family life, but there are also a few that dip into areas like sociology at university, applying sociology to contemporary issues (such as Coronavirus), common student exam mistakes and more.

    The podcasts generally consist of Ben taking around different aspects of a topic, either alone or in tandem with fellow sociologist Leanne Symonds, and while this may sound a bit dull, it actually isn’t. The two presenters work well with each other, bouncing ideas around, with one or the other able to chip-in when the threat of dead air raises its ugly little head. Which, somewhat surprisingly given the fact each podcast is done, as it says on the tin, in “1 Take” (i.e. no editing), doesn’t seem to happen very often, if at all (you’ll have to listen to find out…).

    The format’s fun, occasionally funny and generally informative – I found myself happily listening to the full 40 minutes of Episode 17 on Crime and Deviance that covered definitions of crime and deviance, the social construction of crime / situational deviance, the criminal justice system, white collar crime, green crime and more.

    And given that I’m definitely not the target audience (that would be a-level sociology students) the format’s clearly got something going for it.

    So, if you’re in the market for pointing your students in the direction of some free, revision-type, information, the podcasts are broadcast on Spotify (although there are plenty of other options available) and while you can sign-up to the service if you want – you’re probably aware there’s a free version “supported by advertising” – there’s no obligation to do so.

    Which is nice.

    Reflective Revision Diaries

    Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

    A Reflective Revision Diary is a way to organise student revision: to make it more manageable and, with a bit of effort and dedication, easier, less boring and consequently more effective.

    Diary Templates

    Although ideas about revision – what it involves and how to do it – have generally moved-on over the past 25 years or so, one idea that has tended to persist is when to revise.

    For most students (and probably teachers too) “revision” is something that’s (reluctantly) done between the end of a course and the start of their exams. For A-level students this optimistically means 9 – 12 weeks to revise 3 subjects that have been studied for 2 years. In Sociology, for example, this may come down to 3 weeks to revise 6 modules.

    This, by any stretch, is a lot of work.

    And too much work + too little time leads to the adoption of revision techniques – such as passively reading through folders of Notes – that take the path of least resistance. They give the impression of covering the required work while not being particularly effective as a way of actually remembering stuff. Which, when all’s-said-and-done, is probably the point.

    One way to resolve this problem is that rather than condensing a large amount of work into a small amount of time is to spread revision out over the duration of the course. In other words, to encourage students to start their revision at the start of their course and carry it through until the end of the course. At this point they’ll already have done two year’s worth of revision for A-level and they can use the time until the start of the exam much more productively polishing-up on what they already (mostly) know rather than trying to relearn something they did 18 months ago and haven’t looked-at since.

    In a nutshell, the idea here is that when it comes to revision “little and often” pays much higher dividends than “a lot all at once”.

    To understand this involves grasping a couple of important ideas:

    Firstly, the need to change how teachers and students perceive the status of revision: to see it as an integral part of day-to-day teaching and learning rather than something discrete tacked-on at the end of the course once official teaching is over.

    Secondly, the need to operationalise this idea through a coherent and consistent approach to the place of revision in the curriculum. In other words, just as general teaching is organised in particular ways to help students grasp key ideas, revision needs to be integrated into the teaching programme as part of the daily routine.

    Both of these ideas involve teachers and students working together to develop an organised approach to revision.

    And this is where a Revision Diary could help.

    Revision Diaries…

    Sociology Revision Blasts

    Thursday, March 11th, 2021

    Having girded my loins, as you do, for this set of Tutur2U GCSE and A-level Revision videos I was quite prepared to be met with a series of “worthy-but-a-little-dull” screencasts that used a “Podcasts with Pictures” format to talk students through a range of sociological topics.

    Chatty. And Definitely Not Dull.

    In other words, someone talking over and around a series of static screens that, by-and-large, mirror whatever the narrator is saying.

    Some see this as reinforcement.

    Some see this as redundancy.

    You pays your money. Or not, in this case, because the screencasts are free (but you probably get the drift).

    Anyway, I digress.

    What we actually have here are a set of recorded webinars, featuring between 2 and 4 presenters, that run for around 40 – 45 minutes. Being a webinar, there’s also an (unseen) audience of students whose main role is to answer a wide range of different types of “revision-style questions” (multiple-choice, connecting walls, 30-second challenges and so forth) set by the presenters.

    Against all my, admittedly quite low, initial expectations I found the whole thing great fun, engaging and informative.

    This was helped, in no small measure, by the personable and chatty presenters who chivvied the unseen students into answering the on-screen questions and then provided a useful commentary on why they were (mostly) right and how this all connected to answering different types of exam question.

    While you’ll probably have to look through the webinars to see if the information tested fits with your current teaching – it’s mostly fairly generic stuff you’ll find in most GCSE / A-level textbooks, but there may be examples and references you’ve not taught or used alternatives for with your students – I think you’ll find them a really engaging way to mix-up revision sessions with your students, particularly if you’re teaching on-line.

    Webinars

    How to Slay Your (Exam) Demons

    Friday, February 12th, 2021

    I’m reliably informed (although, after a moment’s reflection, find it hard to actually believe) that someone called Sheena Hutchinson (no, me neither) once said that “Life is all about choices”.

    Choose wisely, Young Skywalker…

    Which, all-things-considered, is one of the most profound things you’re ever likely to read (at least on this blog).

    Or maybe not.

    You pays your money…

    And while few of these choices are as frighteningly-existential as that of “Daddy or Chips”, some come surprisingly close.

    Or at least they do according to CGP Books, purveyors and retailers of revision texts on subjects as diverse as Sociology and Psychology (and, as I’m contractually-obliged to say, “Other subjects”. But, honestly, why bother?).

    For CGP, apparently, as a student nearing the end of your course, “You have two options in life and two options only”:

    a. Exams?

    b. Demon Fighting?

    And, given their reputation for selling an attractive range of reasonably-priced revision products*, who am I – or indeed you – to argue?

    As you’re probably starting to realise, this is a stark choice and, as they wisely council, you should:

    Have a really good think before deciding. This is one of the most important decisions (and if you choose B, possibly the last) you’ll ever make”.

    Which is nice.

    Unless you choose demon fighting.

    Then probably not so much.

    Unless the “demons” you need to slay are Sociology or Psychology exams! (I’m guessing you probably saw what I did there?). In which case, as they expertly advise, choose “Option A: Learn your stuff, pass your exams and have a happy and prosperous future”.

    The alternative, in case you’re still weighing-up those life-choices, is “Option B: Don’t bother with exams, find a demon portal and spend your few remaining hours battling the beasts of the underworld until one of them kills you in a hideous and painful way”.

    Either way, the choice is yours

    And if you want my advice – it’s broadly free, although it may come with an unspecified range of strings and caveats – choose the Exam Door.

    Behind it you’ll find a solid and generally useful set of tips and tricks you can employ by way of preparing yourself for the stresses and strains of exams.

    And while a few of the tips are tongue-in-cheek – sleeping with your notes under your pillow will not magically transfer their contents to your brain – and peppered with puffs (of the non-dragon variety) for CGP Revision Books – I think you’ll find them helpful.

    Obviously. Or I wouldn’t have bothered posting them.

    This is “Dan”. He works in the dispatch dept.
    You could too if you make the wrong choice…

    Should you decide, for the purpose of slaying whatever demons haunt your personal psyche, to choose Option B, fighting your way to the end (of the page) should reveal a simple allegorical message about “demons” and “exams”.

    Unless I’ve read too much into it.

    In which case.

    Good Luck.

    * In the interests of full disclosure, I have no relationship, financial or otherwise, with CGP Books, their friends, relations, competitors or sworn mortal enemies. I may have once idly leafed through one of their books, but that’s about the extent of our so-called relationship.

    Study Skills Resources

    Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

    The Welsh Exam Board site seems to have undergone a rather drastic culling of it’s once-outstanding sociology resources – all I could find was a rather sad Flash movie on gender socialisation that will cease to function on January 1st 2021, some interesting and extensive Crime and Deviance resources that are definitely worth digging around and a Research Methods section that’s quite substantial, looks very nice in all its html5 glory but which, when all’s-said-and-done, doesn’t actually offer very much more than you’d find on the (static) pages of a textbook.

    A Functional PowerPoint

    There is, however, an interesting Study Skills section – a mix of Word and PowerPoint documents – that seems to have survived and even though most of the documents were created a good few years ago (and then some – although we are at least talking 21st century) there’s no reason why some – or indeed all – couldn’t happily find a place in your teaching.

    The materials broadly cover things like essay-writing, evaluation and revision and while they’re clearly aimed at WJEC students they’re generic enough to apply to other exam boards.

    Although the materials are fairly basic in terms of presentation (and occasionally weirdly-strident in tone – the Guide to Revision reads like it was written by a teacher who was particularly frustrated by their students inability to follow simple instructions and is writing on the verge of some sort of apoplectic explosion…) but they’re generally functional enough and the PowerPoint’s in particular are informative and helpful.

    Routine Activities Flipbook

    Sunday, August 30th, 2020

    A few months ago (around 6 to be precise) I did a blog post suggesting how you might want to evaluate a Routine Activities approach to crime.

    Then I left well alone and went away – not literally because we were well into the Covid lockdown by then – and did a load of other stuff (making films, mostly – all available at very reasonable rates if you’re at all interested in using video in the classroom) before finally getting around to converting the blog text to a Pdf format and, more-interestingly I think, to html5 Flipbook format.

    Or, to be very precise, two types of Flipbook:

    The first is your bog-standard “Read the text, look at the pictures and flip the pages” version.

    The second is as above (text, pictures, flipping…) but with the added bonus of a bit of streaming video that you – or indeed your students – can view if you want. The short clip focuses on explaining Routine Activities in a visual way in case your students need a bit of a recap before considering a couple of ways to evaluate the approach.

    And if you like the Flipbook Format (let’s be honest, who doesn’t?) and can’t wait to get your mitts on more to satisfy your hunger (or something) there are loads more available on Research Methods, Sociological Theory, Crime and Deviance, Revision and Mass Media if you follow the link.

    Cherry-Picking Revision

    Thursday, May 21st, 2020

    Cherry-Picking Revision is a simple Presentation based on an original idea by History-teacher James Fitzgibbon. While the basic idea is much the same as his – getting students to identify key ideas they can “cherry-pick” to answer exam-type questions – I’ve converted it to PowerPoint and extended it slightly:

    Cherry-Picking Answers…

    1. To make it a little more interactive.

    2. To provide a range of different “revision options” to use with students.

    3. To potentially cover a wider range of questions, from simple 2-markers to essay-type.

    As you’ll see, once you fire it up, there are now 3 different types of resource contained within the Presentation. While these are all minor variations on the same basic theme, they provide a few different options for any revision exercise, depending on what you’re trying to do with your students:

    Pick-Your-Own: Students select options from a range of ideas to answer a question.

    Cherry-Picking: This has 3 different sub-options you can use it to get students to answer a wide range of questions.

    Pick-The-Best: Students are presented with 7 possible ideas they can use to answer a question, from which they need to pick 2, 3 or 4, depending on the type of question asked, but some are red-herrings they will find difficult, if not impossible, to apply.

    Finally, since the Presentation only provides a single sample question to familiarise you with its mechanics, I’ve provided a Template slide you can use to devise and implement any question(s) you want to use. I’ve tried to make it as simple as possible to create new questions and answers, particularly if you’re not familiar with the creation of slightly more-complicated forms of slide interaction.

    I’ve also included reasonably extensive Notes under each slide to explain the basic purpose of each type in the Presentation.

    Research Methods Booklet

    Thursday, May 21st, 2020

    This Booklet was created by Steven Humphrys, based on one of Ken Browne’s many Sociology textbooks. I don’t know which one but since the Booklet’s dated 2018 I chose the most recent.

    Probably.

    I can’t keep up.

    Also, when I say “guessing”, the Word version has a bank page that says “Ken Browne Scan”, which might be considered some sort of a clue.

    Be that as it may, the content covers pretty-much everything a student would need to know and revise about (AQA) research methods (other Exam Boards are available – but since its Research Methods the content’s going to be pretty much applicable across the board, so to speak), organised into a number of discrete sections:

  • Methodologies (positivism and interpretivism)
  • Practical, Ethical and Theoretical research considerations
  • Research design
  • Methods – from experiments to observation via questionnaires.
  • Sampling techniques
  • Triangulation (although this is treated minimally. And then some).
  • Each section is generally presented in terms of two categories:

  • keywords and concepts outlines the basic information required for the exam. This includes the aforementioned (visually signposted) key ideas, some elaborative material and, where relevant, a table of advantages and disadvantages.
  • exam focus provides a range of exam practice questions.
  • As you’ll see from the image I’ve used to decorate this Post, the document formatting is a step up from most booklet’s of this type – and therein lies a slight problem. Word is predominantly a word processor (there’s a clue in there somewhere) and while it has tried to evolve over the years into what it likes to think of itself as some-sort of all-round Desktop Publishing type program, it really isn’t.

    While you can DTP in Word, as this Booklet demonstrates, it’s not ideal because you have to be very careful about the options you set when anchoring text to graphics. To cut a long story short, if you get it wrong and the text moves slightly – which can happen when documents are uploaded to the web – so do the images…

    What I’ve done, therefore, is correct some of the formatting problems that appear in the original Word document and saved it as a pdf file. I haven’t changed any of the text, so both versions are identical (although I’ve removed the blank page from the pdf version). However, if you want a version to edit, choose the original Word one. If you want a version whose contents won’t slide around the page if you cough too loudly, choose the pdf one.

    Teaching Techniques: Pre-Questioning

    Friday, May 15th, 2020

    “Asking questions” of students is pretty-much a staple of any teacher’s toolkit, which is fair enough, because as Jarrett (2107) notes:

    The “testing effect” is well-established in psychology: this is the finding that answering questions about what you’ve learned leads to better retention than simply studying the material for longer. Testing is beneficial because the act of recall entrenches learned material in our memories, and when we can’t answer, this helps us make our future revision more targeted”.

    Testing, therefore, has a range of educational benefits for both teachers – such as checking how effective their teaching of a particular topic has been – and students in that answering questions appears to encourage better information retention.

    This type of practice, for reasons that are somewhat obvious, can be called post-questioning: students attempt to learn something, by viewing a short film, for example, and are then questioned on what they’ve learnt “after the event”.

    This, you may be thinking, makes sense and is how it probably should be.

    And you wouldn’t be wrong.

    There is, however, another way of asking questions that is slightly more counter-intuitive in that it involves asking questions before students have studied something. This is known as pre-questioning and, on the face of things probably sounds a little pointless.

    Bear with me however, as I outline two types of pre-questioning and suggest exactly how and why they might be useful to your teaching in different contexts.

    Type of Pre-Questioning

    Year 12 Sociology

    Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

    A web site that is both a name and an accurate description of what it contains, Year 12 Sociology has a range of resources created by Stephanie Parsons, mainly based around what seem like Lesson Plan PowerPoint slides that have been saved as pdf documents.

    What you seem to get in each resource is a complete lesson on a particular topic, one that includes things like short notes, questions and student exercises, but without the teacher talking.

    Obviously.

    The Resources…

    Revising Perspectives

    Saturday, March 7th, 2020

    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.

    Preparation

    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 the activity

    Crime and Deviance Resources

    Thursday, February 13th, 2020
    Globalisation and Crime

    For some reason I seem to have collected quite a lot of crime and deviance resources that are just sitting-around taking up space on my hard drive when they could be doing something useful like helping students revise or teachers plan lessons.

    And from this intro you’ll probably have guessed that what follows is an esoteric – not to say serendipitous – collection of resources (Presentations, Worksheets, Booklets – there’s even a Quiz in there somewhere) that I’ve bunged together under a general heading (“Resources!”) and posted on the web.

    And because there’s quite a lot of stuff I’ve generally kept description to a minimum – partly because if something looks even vaguely interesting you can download it and assess it for yourself and partly because it’s a bit of a chore and I’m making the space to spend a bit of Quality Time with Teddy my dog.

    So, in no particular order of quality or significance:

    Resources…

    Family and Household Revision Guide

    Tuesday, February 11th, 2020
    Family Revision PowerPoint
Click to download

    This is an extensive PowerPoint Presentation I’ve picked-up from somewhere (who knows…), stored on a hard drive and rediscovered when looking for something else.

    So, no surprises there.

    It is, though, fairly recent (probably 2017) and reflects the content of the latest AQA Specification – which is a little more unusual.

    I’ve no-idea who put it together – which is a shame because it’s a bit of a labour of love covering 70 informative and colourful slides split into 6 sections. These cover:

    1. Couples: the domestic division of labour, resources and decision-making, personal-life perspective on money, domestic violence.

    2. Childhood: social construction of, globalisation, history, changes in position, the future of childhood.

    3. Family Theories: Functionalist, Marxist, Feminist, Personal Life perspective (Interactionist).

    4. Demographic Changes: Births, fertility, death, ageing, migration.

    5. Changing family relationships: divorce, partnerships (marriage, cohabitation), parents and children, step-families, ethnic families,

    6. Family Diversity: Modernism and nuclear families (Functionalism, New Right), postmodern families, personal life perspective.

    While the Presentation’s aimed at a very specific UK Sociology Specification with its own particular quirks (such as an insistence on rebranding action approaches to family life as “the sociology of personal life”) there’s enough general information in the Presentation to make it worthwhile for teachers of other Specifications, such as OCR, Eduqas or CIE.

    Just chop-out the slides you don’t need.

    Psychology: Aspects of Sleep

    Monday, January 20th, 2020

    Four short teaching films, now available On Demand, covering different aspects of sleep research:

    1. Why Do We Sleep? [4.20]

    We’ll spend about a third of our lives asleep. But why?  Why do we need to sleep? Filmed at a University Sleep Laboratory, this short film demonstrates the effect of lack of sleep and why it is so essential to brain function and, ultimately, to survival.

    2. The Structure of Sleep [2.30]

    Until relatively recently what happens while we sleep was a mystery. But that changed with the advent of polysomnography, the electrical recording of brain activity. This short film provides students with a clear visual introduction to the stages of sleep. It also shows why we can’t fully understand our waking lives without understanding how sleep works.

    3. Insomnia: Causes and Treatments [5.32]

    ‘Insomnia’, says one of the respondents we interviewed, ‘can be as debilitating as a physical injury’. This film looks at the causes of insomnia, the cycle of sleeplessness, and Professor Kevin Morgan explains some of the treatments and their effectiveness.  

    4. Sleep, Memory & Learning [3.32]

    While sleep rests and repairs the brain, it continues to be active and sleep psychologists believe one of the things it’s doing is helping to consolidate memories. This short film looks at Professor Gaskell’s research comparing participants who learn in the morning and are tested in the evening with those who learn in the evening and are tested in the morning after sleeping. It also provides students with very good for advice about the best time to learn new information.   

    Lord of the Rings: Family Revision Quiz

    Sunday, December 15th, 2019
    Just click to download the file

    This simple PowerPoint Quiz, created by Leanne Trinder, uses a Lord of the Rings theme around which to deliver 10 multiple-choice questions on various aspects of family life.

    Each question has 3 possible answers and, unusually for a PowerPoint quiz it’s very forgiving of incorrect answers – if you get a question wrong you can just go back and have another try.

    The metadata says it was created in 2003, which means it’s either been lurking on my hard drive for a good few years (always a possibility) or it’s something I’ve recently found that just happens to be a little old. I’ve slightly-modified the file by changing the screen dimensions (to 16:9 from 4:3), aligned the multiple-choice answers and corrected the odd spelling mistake. Other than that, the file is as it was originally created.

    Either way it’s quite a diverting little revision resource that you can expand and modify to your heart’s content – which you may need to do in order to tailor the questions to your own particular teaching. There may, for example, be writers / studies you don’t teach that may require replacing with those you do teach.

    Changing the questions is, however, very simple and straightforward – it just involves adding and removing text.

    Adding more questions is a little more complicated but if you know what you’re doing it’s a simple enough process. If you’re not confident messing around with the basic structure, however, just create several copies of the Quiz using different questions – something you can do from scratch if you want to use the format for other areas of the course.

    As it stands the resource is aimed at A-level Sociology but there’s nothing to stop you modifying the questions to GCSE level or adding a new set of questions for a different subject entirely.

    One Pagers

    Wednesday, November 27th, 2019
    Click to download Perspectives One Pager
    Perspectives One Pager

    The basic idea underpinning the concept of a “One Pager” is that it represents a one-page (no, really) response to something.

    Conventionally, given the concept’s origins in literature studies, this a piece of text.

    Somewhat less conventionally, in the context of sociology / psychology we can widen the definition of “text” to include just about anything you want – from a perspective or theory, through a research method to a specific concept you need students to understand.

    In other words, One Pagers are a way of getting students to condense their Notes on a particular topic or idea into a single page – which can, of course, be linked if necessary – that eventually builds into a simple, efficient and well-organised, revision system.

    In order to do this a One Pager needs to have some sort of structure – otherwise it’s just a blank sheet of paper – but what that structure might be is up to you (if you want to provide strong guidance) and / or individual students (if you’re confident enough to allow them to create the different structures that work for them).

    If students are new to the idea – and need a bit of encouragement to adopt it – it might be useful to develop One Page templates together to cover different aspects and types of Note-taking. This can, of course, include various forms of visual Note-taking (pictures, drawings, doodles…) as well as more-conventional text.

    Once students are confident with the idea and happy to use it you may find they develop their own, personal, structures that you can share with students who may be struggling to develop a style of their own.

    How various One Page templates develop will be strongly-influenced by what students are expected to know, the skills they are expected to demonstrate and so forth. In Sociology, for example, “evaluation” is an important skill that can be reflected in Notes that focus on things like the key strengths and weaknesses of a theory, method or perspective.

    In this respect, there are a couple of Template examples I’ve created you might find useful / instructive. I’ve presented these as Word documents (so they’re not pretty and pretty basic) rather than pdf files because most teachers / students will find it easier to edit the former.

    Template Examples

    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.

    Sociology Flipbooks

    Saturday, April 20th, 2019

    A Flipbook is a way of displaying a pdf document online so that it has the look-and-feel of a paper-based magazine, one whose pages you can turn using a mouse (desktop) or finger (mobile).


    A Flipbook.
    Not Actual Size.
    Unless you’re using a mobile.
    Then it might be.

    That’s it, really.

    I could talk about stuff like whether this creates a greater sense of engagement among students than the bog-standard static pages of a pdf file, but since I’ve got no idea (and I don’t know of anyone who’s bothered to try to find out) that would just be me trying to find a deceptively- plausible way to encourage you to try them.

    So, if this Big Build-Up has piqued your curiosity and / or whetted your appetite for Flipbooks you’ll be pleased to know I’ll be adding a variety of the little blighters to this page on what might be charitably termed an ad-hoc basis (translation: whenever I can be bothered or can find the time).

    (more…)

    Revision Tips and Techniques

    Sunday, April 14th, 2019

    As you may be aware, The Daily Telegraph isn’t my go-to source for Education (in either the tightest or loosest sense of the word), but I did happen upon this set of revision tips and techniques they published a few years back (roughly 5 or 6 years ago). Although they’re a bit of a mixed-bag, the articles are relatively brief and to-the-point, so it’s possible you might find something useful that could be applied in either the short or long term.

    In no particular order of relevance, significance or usefulness, these are the articles:

    Top 10 last-minute exam revision tips:
    Exactly what it says in the title – and while there are no earth-shattering revelations here, just a load (well, 10, obviously) of simple tips to help you come to terms with last-minute revision, the advice seems solid enough.

    5 top tips for managing revision time:
    Again, does exactly what it says: 5 simple tips to help students manage their revision time to best effect.

    Revision techniques: how to learn complex concepts:
    Break big ideas down into their individual component parts. Simple.

    Revision techniques: The secret to exam revision success:
    A number of simple tips and techniques to help improve memory and recall through revision.

    Example of a Spider Diagram

    Spider diagrams: how and why they work:
    Spider diagrams (or Mind Maps if you’re planning to construct something much grander that includes diagrams etc.) are an incredibly useful tool that aids recall and planning in an exam. This short article shows you how to create them. If you want some AS / A2 sociological examples, you can find a selection by following this link.

    Revision techniques: how to build a memory palace:
    This technique, as featured in Sherlock, is not really something you’re going to pick-up as a last-minute thing, but it is a hugely-effective tried-and-trusted memory technique that’s been around for a long time. In basic terms, you make connections between related ideas by constructing a narrative around them. It’s not difficult, but it does require time to master.

    The real test of learning? Not forgetting:
    If you’re looking for a short-term revision fix this may be a little late. However, in the longer-term it’s an algorithmic process that uses a variation of the “spaced revision” technique that will stand you in very good stead once you’ve mastered it.

    Revision techniques: How to learn boring facts:
    Spoiler Alert: create mnemonics. And if you don’t know what they are, this article will show you. While I’ve always sworn by them – for reasons much too dull to mention – they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. But, on the basis you shouldn’t knock something until you’ve tried it…

    Revision: from GCSE to A-level it is all about the scheme:
    In a nutshell. Plan your revision. And if you don’t know how, this article has some tips and techniques to help.

    Try to rise to the exam challenge:
    A few simple tips focused on how to approach and handle revision, exam preparation and the exam itself. Nothing too revelatory, but every little helps. And if you’re reading this when you should be revising, you may find you need every little bit of help you can get.

    10 ways to survive the exam season:

    Some Very Sensible (this is the Telegraph, remember) ways to manage pre-exam stress.

    Without giving too much away, one of these is sleep.

    It’s so important we even made a film about it.

    5 Research-Backed Studying Techniques:
    This short article isn’t from the Telegraph but I thought I’d tack it on the end anyway, because it contains some useful study techniques (well, 5) to help you “avoid ineffective studying habits in favour of ones that increase learning outcomes”.

    And you can’t say fairer than that.

    Graphic Organisers: The 5 Points of the Star

    Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
    The 5 Points of…

    A previous post outlined the basic ideas underpinning the graphic organiser, introduced an example of the genre (the Frayer Model) and teased the possibility of further examples of ready-made organiser templates (as opposed to the more free-form examples you can find in the Revision section here).

    So, in the spirit of actually trying to deliver what may or may not have been promised (about which I can unfortunately make no further promises) I thought I’d start with what I consider one of the most potentially-useful: the “5-Point Star” template.

    And when I say “start” I’m suggesting there will be more examples to follow.

    Which indeed there may well be.

    I’ll see what I can do.

    (more…)

    Sociology in Focus for A2: Methodology Resources

    Monday, February 11th, 2019

    If you’ve bagged yourself a copy of the Sociology in Focus for AQA A2 textbook and you’re wondering what to do with it beside read it, help is at hand with the addition of the resources originally produced to complement and supplement the text.

    Revision Map

    These, in no particular order, consist of:

    Overview Map: An introductory overview that maps the broad content in the book to each Unit in the Methodology Module.

    Revision Maps: Complementing the introductory overview, these spider diagrams delve a bit deeper, mapping specific content to each Unit in the Module.

    Activity Answers: One of the major features of the text is the activities / questions posed throughout and if you need suggested answers – to allow students to quickly check their learning, engage in a little peer review and marking or simply because it’s easier to mark student work when someone has already provided guideline answers – you’ll love this set of resources.

    (more…)

    Sociology in Focus for AS: Culture and Identity Resources

    Saturday, February 9th, 2019
    Culture and Identity Overview Map

    Having previously posted a copy of the Sociology in Focus AS textbook, I thought it might be useful to throw-in a little additional something by way of the resources that were originally produced to accompany the text.

    While there’s nothing outrageously brilliant about the resources, you might find some – or indeed all – of them a useful addition to the textbook. To allow you to pick-and-choose which resources you want, I’ve posted them in 6 separate categories that do exactly what they say on the tin:

    Overview Map:

    A spider diagram that broadly maps the main areas covered in each Unit in the Module.

    Revision Maps:

    More-detailed spider diagrams that map the main content of each Unit in the Module

    Activity Answers:

    Although Johnny Nash may be firmly of the opinion there are “More questions than answers“, in this particular instance he would be wrong. There are exactly the same number of answers here as questions. Which, all things considered, is probably as it should be.

    As to their function, you might find them useful if you want students to quickly check their own learning.

    More adventurously they can be used for things like peer review and marking.

    Worksheets:

    A Worksheet…

    While worksheets aren’t everyone’s cup of hot chocolate, these are slightly different in the sense they place less emphasis on individual working and more emphasis on small-group and whole class work. For each module there are three types of question, each of which is designed to promote different types of responses:

    • Consolidate questions, designed for individual work to ensure students have “grasped the basics”.
    • Apply questions designed to promote analysis, discussion and application through small-group work.
    • Evaluate questions designed for whole-class discussions around arguments / evidence for and against a question.

    Teaching Tips:

    Some fairly rudimentary ideas for different ways to teach various aspects of the Module., including some simple classroom activities.

    Exam Focus:

    Specimen questions and exemplar student answers. Be aware that the types of questions asked and the marks awarded to each type of question may have changed in the 10 years since this text was originally published.

    Revision Game: Crumple and Shoot

    Sunday, January 27th, 2019

    Crumple-and-Shoot is a simple, whole-class, team-based, revision game that’s similar to the GrudgeBallUk revision game I’ve previously posted.

    It’s revision, Jim, but not as we know it…

    The main difference between the two is that Crumple and Shoot (or as I’d like to call it, “Bin It to Win It”) is much easier to set-up and play and requires very few resources: some questions, pieces of paper on which to write group answers and the all-important waste-paper bin.

    It’s a game devised and developed by Jennifer Gonzalez and you can find a video explanation of what the game involves and how to play it on her Cult of Pedagogy website.

    In addition there’s a How To Play pdf file available with a detailed description of the (minimal) rules.

    You can, of course, adjust the rules to suit (such as awarding groups points for answering a question correctly as well as gaining the chance to score extra points in the “crumple and shoot” part of the game).

    While the game can be played as part of end-of-year revision sessions, the simple set-up particularly lends itself to quick end-of-week / end-of-module revision – something that has the added bonus of encouraging students to see revision and review as an integral part of their GCSE or A-level course.

    Research Methods Tables

    Saturday, January 12th, 2019

    I’ve previously posted a couple of pieces of Liam Core’s work (a Sociology Literacy Mat and an A-level Evidence Bank Template) and since these have proven very popular with teachers I thought I’d tap him up for a few more resources.

    Research Methods Table

    And, sure enough, he’s delivered.

    This time it’s a handy research methods table students use to record key aspects of a range of methods (from questionnaires to public documents). The (Word) format’s easy to replicate so if you need to add or subtract different methods before you let your students loose it’s relatively easy to do.

    In terms of completing the table, for each research method students are required to note its:

  • Key features
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Practical issues
  • Ethical issues
  • How you use the table is, of course, up to you but it’s a resource that could be useful for revision, as a prompt sheet for timed essay writing and so forth.

    Methods Mat

    The resource packs a lot of research methods onto a single A4 page and some teachers / students might find this a bit restrictive, so if you decide to use this as a paper-based resource the author suggests you enlarge it to A3 before giving it to your students. Alternatively, if you find A3 materials a little unwieldy, you might like to try this Methods Mat – an A4 document focused on a single method.

    A-Level Evidence Bank Template

    Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

    Instructions and Example

    When it comes to a-level exam success, one of the key things is preparation: the ability to turn the mass of disparate information students have dutifully recorded over the course of a couple of years into something manageable from which they can revise.

    And however your students choose to revise – from my preferred-option of “little-and-often” to the ever-popular “cram it all in between the end of the course and the start of the exam” – you can help and encourage them using this latest resource from Liam Core

    The Evidence Bank is a deceptively simple idea that involves getting students to record and revise details of research studies as and when they encounter them.

    In other words, it’s a way of encouraging students to spend a little bit of time after, say, a class has finished, to record and review a study or studies to which they’ve been introduced (although there’s no reason why this couldn’t be built into the normal teaching process if you think that’s what your students need). This record then forms part of an expanding Evidence Bank from which it should be possible to revise easily and effectively.

    The Evidence Bank format also encourages students to think about where the research can be applied to different parts of the course, which is always a bonus when thinking about transferrable knowledge. Noting some major strengths and weaknesses of a study is also, of course, a quick and simple way to introduce evaluation into an argument.

    Theory Bank Template

    Although the Evidence Bank template was specifically created to help students collect and organise information around “research studies as evidence” it struck me that the general format could probably be applied to other areas of an a-level course, such as theories or even concepts. Students could, for example, create a Theory Bank to run alongside and complement their Evidence Bank.

    The original document was formatted as “3 tables per A4 page” and whileI’ve kept examples of this formatting I’ve also added a couple of different types – an A5 “2 tables per page” format and an A4 “1 table per page” – just to give you a few more options if you want them.

    I’ve also kept the original Word document format in case you want to edit the template to your own particular needs or requirements.

    Although the template was originally designed for A-level Sociology students I see no reason why it couldn’t also be used by Psychology students.

    Sociology Revision Cards

    Monday, November 26th, 2018

    Back in the day, before the invention of Learning Tables / Knowledge Organisers, students had to make do with Revision Cards – lists of all the key ideas and concepts you might need to know for an exam (you’ll find a selection here if you want to take a trip back to a time before mobile phones ).

    Anyway, I chanced upon a mix of PowerPoint and Pdf Revision Cards (dating from around 2014 so they may require a bit of editing to bring them into line with the latest Specifications) on Chris Deakin’s SociologyHeaven website. I’m guessing the PowerPoints were designed for whole-class revision but if you want to give your students the slides as Revision Cards just use the Export function to create pdf files.

    If you find the Kristen ITC font used in the files a bit too racy for your taste, just convert the text to something like Arial.

    (more…)

    When All’s SED and Done: Write. Review. Revise

    Monday, May 21st, 2018

    Reviewing and revising student work at GCSE or A-level is a crucial part of the teaching and learning process and one way to encourage this is to use a simple formula: Save, Erase, Develop (SED). This post looks at how your students can review and revise their written work using this  formula. It can also, if you use them, be easily integrated into Structure Strips.

    As someone who writes stuff for a living – from sociology textbooks, through film scripts, and biographies to the odd – actually, very oddnovel in my spare time – one of the very few things I’ve learnt is the importance of reviewing and revising what I’ve written: what eventually appears on the printed page or screen is never what first appeared on my page. Everything I’ve ever written has gone through a process of review and revision that involves:

    • keeping stuff that works.
    • removing stuff that doesn’t.
    • developing stuff that needs more work…

    And if you’re wondering what this preamble has to do with your teaching and learning, wonder no more.

    I chanced across this basic idea on Pinterest through an idea called “Keep it, Bin it, Build it” broadly aimed at helping younger students redraft their work to bring it into line with various assessment objectives (such as “answering the question”…). I have no idea who originally created it but I thought it was a helpful idea that could be applied to just about any level of work or subject. As is my wont – and because I can – I thought I’d make it a little bit snappier (hence “Save, Erase, Develop”) and turn it into a simple mnemonic.

    Again, because I can.

    And also because it gave me a little pun to use as a title.

    Anyway.

    The easiest way to understand what SED involves (and like some of the very best ideas, it’s incredibly easy to understand and simple to use) is to have a look at it. I’ve created a couple of different versions you can use with your students, depending on how they create and submit work:

    (more…)

    Three More GCSE Sociology Revision Guides

    Saturday, May 12th, 2018

    These revision guides were created for the WJEC exam board so if you don’t follow this Specification you need to be careful about the areas that might be included in your Specification that are not covered in these guides.

    And vice versa, of course. There’s not a great deal of point revising material from these guides if it doesn’t appear on the Specification you’re following. Even though education – like travel – may well broaden the mind, if you’re looking around the Internet for a GCSE sociology revision guide there’s a fair bet you’re not actually looking to do a great deal more than you actually have to…

    Keeping this very important caveat in mind, these resources hail from Corby Technical School and while there’s no named author they are dated 2017. This, somewhat unusually, makes them bang up-to-date at the time of posting.

    Even if you don’t teach WJEC there’s plenty of information here that you’ll probably find useful, whatever GCSE Specification you follow:

    Crime and deviance
    Family Life
    Society and the Individual

    Structure Strips

    Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

    6 mark structure strip with basic questions

    This general idea – a simple and effective way to help students structure exam answers – has been around for a number of years and although structure strips were originally created for use in primary education (5 – 10 year olds) it’s an idea that can, with a few modifications, be applied to both GCSE and A-Level teaching. If you want a relatively simple, clear, explanation of what structure strips are and how they have been used, have a read of this blog post.

    If you haven’t followed this link, structure strips were originally colour-coded and made to be stuck into the exercise books of primary school children. In this A-level version, however, the idea is to create the strips as Word format templates that students can either use to word process their answers to exam questions or print out to complete by hand.

    In this respect think about structure strips as being like training wheels when you’re learning to ride a bike: they’re designed to help you keep your balance and stop you falling over until you’ve mastered the skills required to safely venture out on your own (at which point they can be removed).

    Similarly, when answering exam questions, while all of your students may start-off needing help, some will probably require more help than others – and structure strips can be used to guide how they approach and respond appropriately to different questions. (more…)

    Globalisation and the Digital World: Revision Stuff

    Saturday, April 21st, 2018

    Colourful PowerPoint Presentation summarising the OCR Globalisation and the Digital World Unit, plus a range of 6 / 9 mark exam practice questions.

    It’s somehow typical that you see nothing about this OCR A-Level Sociology Unit for months and then, just as you’ve posted a “6 week course” guide, you stumble across a couple of PowerPoint Presentations that actually complement this quite well.

    The first is a Big, Bold and Colourful Revision Presentation by Marc Addison that covers:

    • What is the relationship between globalisation and digital forms of communication?
    • Developments in digital forms of communication in a global society
    • The Marxist Perspective
    • The Feminist Perspective
    • The Postmodernist Perspective
    • The Impact of Digital Communications
    • What is the relationship between globalisation and Conflict and Change?
    • Cultural homogenisation, hybridity or resistance?

    The second is neither Big, Bold nor Colourful because it doesn’t aim to be. It just wants to do its job quietly, efficiently and with the minimum of fuss. So, if you want to give your students some practice 6 and 9 mark questions, based around the PEEL mnemonic, this Presentation should fit the bill nicely.

    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 focused on the concept of culture with simple student exercises (and in case there’s any confusion, it’s the exercises that are simple, not the student).

    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.

    Education PowerPoints: Part 2

    Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

    Part 2 of the Education Presentations gives you more of the same, only less of it.

    More PowerPoints, in other words, but fewer of them than in Part 1.

    Most of these are fairly straightforward “Teaching Presentations” but some contain YouTube videos (again, I’ve converted the links so they will play directly inside the Presentation) and one, the Social Class revision exercise, is a simple “sift-and-sort” activity designed to help students clarify “inside” and “outside” school factors in class differential achievement.

    The Presentations, in no particular order:

    1. Marketisation (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
    2. Social Class – revision exercise
    3. Ethnicity and Achievement (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
    4. Material Deprivation (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
    5. Anti-School Subcultures (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
    6. Feminist / Postmodernist Perspectives (Leigh Rust-Ashford)
    7. The Purpose of Education

    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. Postmodernism (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 Booklets: 5. Education

    Monday, April 9th, 2018

    Another day, another set of A-level revision booklets.

    This time, as you may have guessed from the title, it’s the turn of Education with 5 resource packs of varying length, depth and complexity for your revising pleasure. Where known I’ve identified the author and, as ever, most are AQA with the odd-sop thrown in the direction of OCR.

    Again, as ever, you need to check the Spec. you’re using to ensure you’re not revising stuff that’s no-longer relevant (probably not a sentence anyone should ever have to write, but what the heck). Where possible I’ve kept the materials in Word format because that makes editing them easier for everyone.

    The materials are mainly Notes – some very comprehensive, some a bit more revision-friendly – with a few questions thrown in for good measure. (more…)

    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 26 of them…) are as follows:

    (more…)

    Sociology Revision Booklets: 4. Crime and Deviance

    Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

    As you might expect, given its status as one of the most-popular a-level sociology options, when it comes to revision resources for crime and deviance both teachers and students are rather spoilt for choice.

    I’ve decided, therefore, to split this post into two parts (probably – there may be more): the first (this one) has a range of Word / Pdf resources aimed at students, while the second focuses on PowerPoint resources teachers are more-likely to find useful for delivering revision lessons.

    As ever, if you decide to use these resources you need to check:

    • the Specification: is it the one you’re following?
    • the date: has the Spec. you’re using been updated since these resources were created?
    • the content: even if you’re following a different Spec., there may well be a fair bit of information crossover which means revision material produced for one Spec. may still be useful in the context of another.

    Once you’re happy with this, I’ve found what I think are a number of useful revision resources:

    (more…)

    Sociology Revision Booklets: 3. Mass Media

    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

    The third in our occasional series covering free revision resources on the web looks at the Mass Media (as you’ve probably guessed from the title).

    The number of resources is substantially less than previous offerings on Theory and Methods and Beliefs in Society but what they lack in number is more than made-up for by the depth of their content.

    Possibly.

    I may just have been making that up.

    Anyway, you can see for yourself by downloading any, or indeed all, of the following:

    1. Media Revision Pack [Word version | Pdf version]: Although I’ve called this a Revision Pack (because that’s what it is…) it wasn’t originally created in that form. Rather, it’s an amalgam I’ve put together of a range of media revision documents, authored by Mark Gill, that cover:

    • Ownership and Control
    • New Media
    • Representations
    • Audiences
    • Social Construction of News

    Part of the reason for making the Pack available in different formats is that if you’d prefer to break the document down into its constituent parts it’s a fairly simple job to do this in Word. It’s possible to do this with a pdf document but that would mean faffing around with software that splits pdf files and you’re probably much too busy to bother with stuff like that.

    The Notes themselves are coherent and competent, with good coverage of the major Specification areas (although it’s aimed at AQA there are parts that apply to other Specifications). (more…)

    Quick Quizzing

    Friday, March 16th, 2018

    This simple ungraded quiz idea, one that can be used to test how much your students have actually understood by the end of a teaching session, has been adapted from (or, if you’re a stickler for accuracy, shamelessly half-inched) the University of Waterloo’s “Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE)”.

    The reason I don’t feel bad about this – apart from the fact I am literally without shame – is that the idea itself just a simple variation on the Exit Ticket quizzes popular in American – and increasingly UK – schools and colleges.

    Be that as it may, like all good ideas it’s very simple and although it will involve a little more preparation than some other forms of feedback the information gathered will be worth the extra effort.

    The basic idea here is that, near the end of each class, students take a short quiz designed to test, at a very basic level, how much they’ve understood about the work they’ve just done. You should, however, make it clear that the test is diagnostic: its purpose is to inform your teaching not to grade your students with passes and fails (which is why the CTC calls the quizzes ungraded tests).

    The only interest you have in their answers is to help you understand what parts of the lesson were clearly understood and which aspects may need more work or explanation. The test is just a simple way to do this while everything is still fresh in their minds (or not, as the case may be). (more…)

    Sociology Revision Days with Dr Steve Taylor

    Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

    Crime & Deviance: updated to 21st Century

    Dr Steve Taylor, University of London & ShortCutstv

    Examiners reward students for writing about contemporary society but there are very few examples of contemporary theory & research on crime in the textbooks. This Workshop aims to fill that gap by linking the ‘familiar’ with the new.

    Approaches to Crime & Deviance: Key theories & concepts, consolidated, compared & evaluated.

    New Research: clear, easy to understand, up to date research examples to illustrate approaches.

    Globalisation & Crime: green, organised & state crime made accessible & illustrated with up to date examples.

    Theory & Method: simplified & illustrated.

    Handouts: include concise summarises of research examples used.

    Exam technique guidance, including introducing newer material into exam questions.

    Brand new free video “Sociological Theories of Crime” included.

    What Teachers say
    Our students came away inspired and were talking about the session for the rest of the year
    David Gunn, Camden School
    Excellent Day. He brings in contemporary evidence and great links to exam skills
    Ann-Marie Taylor, Coleg Cambria
    The students loved it. I’d recommend Steve to any teacher wanting to organise a revision day.
    Ian Luckhurst, Bridgewater College

    Cost (inclusive & regardless of no. of students):
    Day: £500
    Half Day £300

    For more information:
    Email: steve@shortcutstv.com
    Call: 07771-561521

    Issues & Debates in Psychology

    Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

    Issues & Debates in Psychology

    with Dr Steve Taylor, University of London & ShortCutstv

    Issues & Debates is a key topic on both AQA & OCR & it’s also a great ‘transferable skill’.
    This workshop uses an approach, developed over several years, that helps students’ with understanding, comparing, applying & evaluating Issues & Debates.

    Clarifies the more difficult questions, such as:

    • How can I illustrate the interaction between Nature & Nurture?
    • What is Free Will/Determinism really about?
    • When can & can’t Reductionism be used as a critique?
    • What is Socially Sensitive Research?
    • What is an ethical issue?
    • And many more…

    Exam guidance and practice for both specific questions & the opportunities for bringing Issues & Debates into a range of other questions.

    Handouts summarise key up-to-date illustrative research studies.

    Free Revision Videos on Issues & Debates provided for each topic.

    What Teachers Say
    Steve was engaging and had students’ attention the whole time. He gave them a different perspective that will enhance their essays and hopefully boost exam grades.
    Priya Bradshaw Aquinas College

    He was incredibly engaging. Definitely booking again!
    Amy Speechley St Gregory’s College

    Steve’s visit was loved by all the students and it enthused them to want more. A big thank you!
    Sue Martin Farnham College

    The workshop material was excellent, with studies that both illustrated the positions in the debates and really developed students’ understanding.
    Rachel Hume Edgbarrow School

    Cost (inclusive & regardless of number of students)
    Half day: £300
    Full day: £500

    For more information:
    Email: steve@shortcutstv.com
    Call: 07771-561521

    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…)

    More GCSE Sociology Revision Stuff

    Sunday, March 4th, 2018

    While it’s possible to put-together a very reasonable – and reasonably comprehensive – set of revision resources from stuff that teachers have put on the web, there are a couple of things you should do before committing yourself to using these materials:

    1. Check they are for your Specification – you don’t want to be revising the wrong Spec.

    2. Check the Specification year / series to which they refer, particularly if it’s changed recently (over the past year or so). In other words, check the resources cover the newer required material and exclude older, newly-irrelevant material, from your revision.

    Guides

    These comprehensive resources combine things like notes, activities and advice and generally cover a number of different areas of the GCSE Specification. Three I’ve found are worth a look:

    1. Whole Course Revision 2018: This is a serious, 100-page, GCSE Revision Guide, put together by Ian Goddard, that covers:

    • Introducing Sociology
    • Research Methods
    • Family
    • Education
    • Crime and Deviance
    • Social Inequality
    • Power and Politics

    Unlike a lot of the previous GCSE resources I’ve posted [link] this is primarily a revision schedule rather than a simple list of revision notes (although these are also included). In this respect the Guide covers:

    • How to revise
    • Revision schedule
    • Personal Learning Checklist [link]
    • Basic study notes to supplement other reading (the Guide refers to “Collins Revision GCSE Sociology” but if you don’t use this text substituting your usual textbook will be fine)
    • Keywords
    • How to answer questions
    • Past question practice

    2. Sociology Revision Guide: Although not as ambitious or comprehensive as the above – the focus is on key terms and Notes covering Methods, Family and Education, plus a short section in exam advice – this Guide by Debbie McGowan is nicely designed and makes a welcome addition to your revision armoury. Presupposing you have one. If not, you can start one with this.

    3. Revision Guide for Students: A nicely-designed and cleanly laid-out hyperlinked pdf by Jonathan Tridgell that covers:

    • Research Methods
    • Socialisation, Culture and Identity
    • Family
    • Education
    • Mass Media

    While the focus is on brief revision notes the Guide also includes information on:

    • Course structure
    • Exam technique
    • Revision Tips.

    (more…)

    GCSE Revision Booklets

    Friday, March 2nd, 2018

    As with A-level Sociology, I’ve previously posted some links to GCSE Revision Guides and Resources over the past year or so, since when I seem to have picked-up a whole slew of guides and resources that I though it would be good to post.

    So here’s the first batch of 10. They’re all in pdf format and I can take no credit (nor indeed blame) for the style and content – it’s a bit of a Curate’s Egg I’m afraid – but there’s something useful in all of them:

    Sociology Revision Guide: Mainly brief Notes covering the Inequalities in Society Options, but with a useful section at the end where “Sample GCSE Essays” are analysed and annotated.

    General Revision Guide: similar to the above but covering culture, socialisation, research methods and family (the latter ahs much more extensive Notes). Again, there’s a very useful section at the end where “Sample GCSE Essays” are analysed and annotated.

    GCSE Revision Guide: Social Stratification, Research Methods, Crime and Deviance, Power and Politics (James Pearson): A set of short Notes on these topics.

    Unit B671 Investigating Society Revision Sheet: less a “revision sheet” and more a comprehensive set of Notes for this Unit – Research Methods, Culture, Identity and Socialisation.

    Unit B672 Crime and Deviance Revision Sheet: as above but for all aspects of Deviance.

    Unit B672 Family Revision Sheet: And the same for the sociology of family life.

    Unit 2: Social Inequality, Crime and Deviance, Mass Media (Michael Ellison): some very basic notes.

    Mass Media Revision Guide: Lots of Notes covering all aspects of this topic.

    GCSE Education Revision (James Pearson): This is a “Revision Activity Booklet” for Education that combines Notes with short exercises and all manner of exam advice.

    Unit 2: Crime and Deviance Revision Activities: A whole booklet full of revision activities.

    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.

    Activity Mat

    Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

    To accompany the Generic Learning Mat, I’ve created a complementary Activity Mat focused around a few simple activities that range from practicing paragraph writing to making synoptic connections between concepts, theories and methods.

    This particular Mat contains 5 activities and it’s again been created in PowerPoint (use the Export function if you want it in a different format, such as a pdf file or Word document) to make it easy to edit. You might, for example, use a different mnemonic for the Paragraph Practice activity or want to replace some or all of the activities I’ve chosen with your own. (more…)

    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…)