WOW! Politics 2014 - Teaching & Learning Resources for the GCSE & A Level Sociology Classroom

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

For those studying Mass Media, there’s an interesting article on the BBC today about the impact of communications technology on our lives.  Focussing on the World Economic Forum in Davos, the author reports on some of the advantages and disadvantages raised by business leaders and development experts.

Gender and education

Friday, January 28, 2011

Following the departure of Sky Sports’ broadcaster Richard Keys and Andy Gray for sexist remarks, the question of gender is a pertinent one for discussion.  Is Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson right to suggest that the row is ‘baffling and worrying’?  Or, should we be more concerned that the gender pay gap for full-time employees is 10.2% (2009, ONS)?

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Postal Questionnaires Powerpoint

Here’s a powerpoint on postal questionnaires.  Might need a few bits of clarification here and there - some may find some of my pictures a bit cryptic - teachers please oblige.  And PQs are of course, postal questionnaires.

Postal Questionnaires Worksheet

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Here’s a worksheet I did on postal questionnaires the other week. There is a powerpoint on the way.pq1.docx

University Challenge Sociology

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Spotted on last night’s episode of University Challenge - 3 questions on French Sociology.  1. Who wrote the book ‘Distinction’? 2. Who was a critic of Marxism and wrote in right wing newspaper Le Figaro? 3. Who founded the French School of Sociology and published ‘The Divsion of Labour’ and ‘Suicide’?

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Gender and Football

Monday, January 24, 2011


This news story can be put to good use to explain gender roles and gendering.  Why is so much sport seen as the preserve of men? How are sporting activities gendered as male activities? What identities are constructed as suitable for women and how does taking part in sport shape the sorts of feminine identities which are available to women?

Division of domestic labour

Friday, January 21, 2011

There was an excellent programme on BBC2 last night (Thursday) called ‘Who does what?’in which couples have their household activity analysed to find out who really does what.  It will be available on BBCiplayer until 10th February, so do try and watch.

A fun starter activity on the subject is to look at 3 adverts for the same cleaning product, spanning the last 50 or 60 years.

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Postal Questionnaires

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Here’s something I found in the BMJ about postal questionnaires. It goes way beyond A level, but some of the general points are worth using with AS/A students if suitably extracted and translated by teachers. Once again this example goes to show that a lot of good sociology is going on under different subject headings.

A Level Timetable Changes

Sunday, January 16, 2011

This will be of relevance to us teachers and soon students should it come to pass.  I noted a good article on this in saturday’s Times, but of course the paywall makes it rather pointless to link, so here is another useful piece of coverage on the BBC News site

Reading Matters, Fonts and ICT

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This isn’t quite sociology, but it is important if you are a learner or a teacher, and anyway, I’m always saying we shouldn’t get stuck in mono-disciplinary ruts. R4’s Today programme featured this item on the pros and cons of more and less difficult fonts. Food for thought for educators. The interviewee takes the view that making things harder to read actually means that they are more easily remembered. But perhaps this needs very careful measurement; is it a significant difference? And anyway, do the benefits of being more easily remembered really outweigh the benefits of the easier access offered by the more digestible fonts? Discuss.

The Sociology of Health and Medicine

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I understand that not too many teachers offer the sociology of health these days.  That’s a shame because it’s an important topic - maybe the AS/A level syllabuses available now make the mistake of trying to cover a small number of topics in too much depth, rather than a thinner treatment across a broader range? But never mind that; to catch a useful dose of the sociology of health and medcine check in to R4’s Thinking Allowed. There is also discussion of cosmopolitanism from Prof. David Held of the LSE.

Undercover Policeman Goes Native

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The case of the policeman working undercover with an environmental group, who has now ‘gone over’ to the environmentalists side by offering to give evidence on their behalf against the police prosecution, is a great example of ‘going native’.  Here’s a link to a good feature article on the BBC News site.  There was an interesting interview on BBC News 24 when an ex-police officer said that a ‘good police officer’ will not ‘go native’.  A similar sentiment could be expressed by sociologists. But is it that simple? However much the researcher may try to monitor their own actions, the rest of us in reading and assessing the products of such research can never be certain exactly how close to the truth the researcher has got. Have they embellished a bit? Have they self-censored their comments? Did they simply miss important detail and finally, did they make the right choice of group to infiltrate?  Before we get too carried away by the worry of all the things that could go wrong however, its as well to remind ourselves that the so-called ‘more scientific’ methods advanced by other sociologists, can be no less free of bias and selective use of findings.

Geography, Inequality and Sociology

Monday, January 10, 2011

Some of you will no doubt have heard of Danny Dorling who has written widely on social inequalities. Dorling is a geographer and Professor at Sheffield University. Click on this to link to his personal web page which contains links to radio clips, papers and other resources.

Back to Blogging - Sociology, Christmas and Dr Who

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Hi all and Happy New Year.  SocBlog has been on a bit of a holiday but is now getting back to the serious business of sociology.  Here’s a link to the ever fascinating Laurie Taylor to catch up on considerations of the sociology of class and Christmas and the political aspects of Dr Who.

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