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Classroom Experiment

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I’ve just finished watching the BBC programme of this title. I’d say it should be fairly thought-provoking for teachers and useful for sociology students too. I’ve linked it on some previous posts.  This is just to give a link to the academic involved in the programme - Prof Dylan Wiliam. His website has some potentially useful resources -there are podcasts and some papers.

The Classroom Experiment

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Classroom Experiment is definitely worth watching - quite possibly as a good example of how not to set about trying to changing teacher’s less helpful teaching techniques. Professor Dylan may be right about ‘hands up’ - but is it good practice to impose just one mechanistic technique to avoid this -and in such absolutist fashion - the Professor said it was ‘not negotiable’.

Gender, Identity and the Sociological Imagination

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A quote from M.G. Durham, The Lolita Effect:

“For girls, the discussion of economics comes as a big surprise most of the time. They have not thought about the connection between the advertising and marketing of beauty products and the content of the media; they’ve never realised that the liquid foundation recommended in the advice column of a magazine is also advertised on the back cover, and that the magazine profits from making the recommendation.”  p110


I am trying to finish this book so that I can write up the long awaited handout/review I promised. This may prove to be one occasion when better late than never may be wrong.

Richard Sennett

Monday, September 27, 2010

Richard Sennett is one pretty high-profile sociologist who doesn’t get much of a look in as far as A level sociology is concerned. Whatever the reasons for that neglect, he’s worth a look. Check out his website - students and teachers may well find some of the podcasts very useful for their purposes.  And a word of warning - Sennett is one of those sociologists who defies easy categorization.

Fairtrade and wellbeing

Friday, September 24, 2010

A social scientist from Durham University - Dr Ann Le Mare - has won the Michael Young Prize for work on the impact of fair trade on the wellbeing of women workers in Bangladesh.  Through comparing women who were employed in fair trade with other paid work opportunities it was found that fair trade employment had a significant influence on reducing poverty and improving social wellbeing.

Perhaps those are two things which teachers need to bring into the sociology curriculum? Fair trade and wellbeing.

Another Sociologist on TV

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Last week it was Greg Philo of Glasgow University, this week it’s Anthony King, Professor at Exeter, who turned up on Newsnight earlier this week. King did a PhD on - I think - football hooliganism at Salford University, then got a job at Exeter. With an interest in masculinity King unsurprisingly gravitated to military sociology (Exeter is near to several large Royal Marine bases) and now here he is on Newsnight, spouting forth about Afghanistan. Rather unconvincingly I felt, but never mind that. It does show the possibilities for sociologists - the subject is very broad.  So work hard and you too could appear on Newsnight.

Media Resource

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This BBC site looks like it should prove useful for anyone studying or teaching sociology of the media. It’s the BBC’s self-styled ‘College of Journalism’ rather cringingly referred to as ‘CoJo’. But it does have lots of pages discussing journalists work ethics, practices and all that sort of stuff. Very useful.

School Season

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I flagged up the John Humphrys programme that was on last night, but actually it’s part of a whole load of progs on education - School Season. They are all worth checking out and for my part I’m particularly keen to see the Classroom Experiment which looks like it will be examining teaching strategies.

Education and Pirates

Monday, September 20, 2010

In no particular order of priority. This BBC 4 Storyville doc about pirates looks really useful for crime and deviance and culture and identity - amongst other things. Also worth a passing glance will be John Humphrys take on educational opportunities. It will be interesting to see if anyone interviewed for the programme manages to get a word in.

Pope worried about Secularization

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Pope is worried about secularization - it’s not just an exam question issue for him. Here’s a link to the Pope’s Westminster speech
And for all students, a question: Is the Pope’s visit and the media publicity surrounding it, evidence for or against secularization? Discuss.

Are you watching Big Brother?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Well probably not anymore as I gather it’s been scrapped. But another way of looking at it is to invert the question: is Big Brother watching you? Researcher Emmeline Taylor looks into surveillance in a secondary school on R4 Thinking Allowed.

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Glasgow Media Group and the National Debt

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Students sometimes ask what the point of sociology is and what you can do with it. Well, here’s a great chance to see a sociologist getting stuck into relevant, topical public policy debate. Greg Philo of the Glasgow University Media Group debates with Grant Shapps on the BBC’s Daily Politics.

The Sociology of Dubai

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sociology should not be ethnocentric and teachers can help avoid parochialism by guiding students to this excellent radio documentary  It’s also worth checking out the Royal Geographical Society website - after all, Geography is a social science (well, at least partly - it combines natural and social science I guess). Expand your mind - think about other places. And who knows, maybe one of your students will apply for the Journey of a Lifetime in a few years time?

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A couple of links

Monday, September 13, 2010

A couple of links here which may be of use to sociology teachers.  First there is the Political Studies Association - great for armchair politicians - but it can have some useful links and resources for those interested in this area.  The other is - can be a great way of uncovering new research or looking up academics you already know of and want to find out a bit more about.

Prison teaching

Friday, September 10, 2010

I taught at a High Security prison this morning. I’ve done it for years, mainly because it’s so interesting. Its certainly not for the money!! I was short of students and was told that this was because of the end of Eid, a particularly important part of the Muslim calendar. According to both prison officers and prisoners the number of Orthodox Muslims has increased massively over the past few years. Would any students and tutors out there like to explain why, perhaps using Sociological rather than theological reasons?


Thursday, September 09, 2010

Criminology is undergoing - well, I don’t know if it’s a revival - but it’s certainly an incredibly popular degree subject these days. Laurie Taylor has been wandering around the British Society of Criminology conference this week and offers a few interesting interviews.

Media, Knowledge and Power

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Poor old Tony Blair has had to cancel a book signing.  Rather ironically this has garnered the ex-Prime Minister even more publicity for his book. It also raises a few questions about the rash of political biographies we are witnessing as one generation of politicians leave office and go in search of further glory and pay packets. But what’s it got to do with sociology?

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Sociology or PPE?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I think this is interesting - and its very relevant for sociology students looking at education - the issues of meritocracy and the role on education in general.  You may not have heard of PPE. It refers to Politics, Philosophy and Economics, which, as the linked article explains is a very fashionable degree course run by Oxford University.  But what is education for? Does any particular subject provide the best preparation for life and work? And what sort of graduates do we want to reach elite positions - assuming we must have elite positions?

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It’s not what you know…..

Monday, September 06, 2010

Another Thinking Allowed worth catching up on. Laurie Taylor talks to Paul Ormerod about the theory of networking and the currently fashionable idea of the ‘Big Society’ and that book titled ‘Nudge’.

More women in prison

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Thanks to Jim Riley for alerting me to this news item.  Worth using this if you are examining the relationship between crime and gender.

Slavery or Freedom?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A great quote for class debate I think:

Marxism is Slavery - Capitalism is Freedom.


I spotted it on a demonstrators poster on an item about racial and cultural tensions in the USA which was featured on Newsnight yesterday.

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