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

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Rape as an issue

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rape comes up a lot during discussions when teaching Crime and Deviance, particularly at A level, but also at GCSE. Whilst it can be a difficult topic for some, I welcome the discussions and am particularly keen to get students discussing current political views.  The American Presidential elections are proving most fertile as grounds to engage students... 

Views of rape as expressed by various candidates 

History of Marriage

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

a neat little summary of the history of marriage.  10 key moments.

Britishness

Monday, March 05, 2012

The question of what it means to be ‘British’ is one that appears to have greatly vexed the Government.  They blame a lack of ‘Britishness’ for any failings in society and have a test specifically designed to weed out those not ‘British’ enough to own a British passport.  Teachers are expected to instil British values in students and it is promoted in society.  But what on earth is it?

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Interviews

Friday, February 17, 2012

For those wanting a more humorous way into discussing the weaknesses of interviews as a method of research, this letter by Mark Twain might prove useful.

Population statistics

Saturday, February 04, 2012

I’ve seen a number of interesting stories and programmes exploring ideas relating to population levels.  The most recent was this morning on the BBC, asking if the number of people alive today (about 7 billion) outnumbers the number of people that have ever lived on earth.  Most of these debates centre on the fear that at some point there will be too many people for the world to handle.

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TED - videoed talks

Monday, January 23, 2012

TED is a fantastic resources of talks on a multitude of subjects.  Go and have a browse - you are sure to find something interesting / fun / challenging / useful / eye-opening… 

I like this selection on ‘what makes us happy?’

Methods: strengths and weaknesses

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Some card sorting activities on methods, for GCSE or A level.
observation_sorting_activity.docx
Official_Statistics_sorting_activity.doc
questionnaires_sorting_activity.docx

Evaluating Research methods

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A simple evaluation template for research methods.
methods_evaluation.doc

Mass Media: Facebook

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Facebook provides plenty of fodder for lessons on the mass media at A level or GCSE.  Try this story summarising what people are actually talking about on facebook the most.

Traditional family?

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A survey by the Centre for the Modern Family suggests that few people feel part of a ‘traditional’ family.  Read about it here.

Crime and Deviance - London riots

Monday, December 05, 2011

The government published last week their interim report on the violence during the summer.  You can find it here.

The LSE and the Guardian newspaper also carried out research, interviewing many of those involved.  The findings are summarised in an article here.

GCSE quizzes and games

Thursday, November 10, 2011

If anybody else is feeling like me at the moment, then it is a good time to (re)discover Chris Gardner’s excellent website: lots of quizzes, games and notes for GCSE Sociology, several of which I use profitably with AS level as well.
Link.

Growing populations

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The growing population of our planet is of great interest to sociologists, and of concern to many.  This neat app on the BBC lets you work out what ‘number’ you are - a great little starter for discussion.

Sociology, Science and the Weather

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

I thought this report on the BBC the other day provided a great example for teaching the sociology of science. 

It’s easy for the critique of science to get over-simplified.  Sociologists, and indeed, philosophers of science like Kuhn and Popper aren’t really saying that scientists are going around deliberately spreading lies and falsehood.

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Research is Not Easy

Monday, February 22, 2010

Just a few personal musings today about the practical difficulties of research.  Later this week we have a new blogger joining us on Soc Blog - Mark Gillard.  Mark teaches in Cambridge. Somewhere. He may tell you a bit about himself.  We are planning to get some chunky contributions going fairly soon. I will be doing a series of ‘revision notes’ and some powerpoints. I will be starting off with the revision notes and will aim to do about one per month.  First one will be on research methods. Because I like research methods.  And no, I haven’t forgotten my review of The Lolita Effect. I started it, but it is dire, so I will struggle on and get it done.

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Sociology on the Web

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I’ve been spending a bit of time today looking for sociology resources on the net.  See below.

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A Methodology Quote

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Here’s a methodology quote for you all to discuss:

“Methodologies, especially quantitative ones, that pretend to be totally free of bias and perspective are not only deceiving themselves and their audience. They pretend to be free of bias in order to assert their own intellectual superiority, especially by comparison to “soft"methods such as participant observation, ethnomethodology, sheer fiction.”

Ben Agger, 2004 The Virtual Self, p94

Sociological Words

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A good lesson for me yesterday.  I was looking at an exam paper.  Explain the meaning, said the questions, of the terms ‘professional’ and ‘status’.  So, being a typical teacher parent, I tried them out on my 15 year old son. Intriguing answers…

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Mixed Race Marriages

Friday, October 16, 2009

Here’s something (I’m tempted to say ‘another thing’) our textbooks rarely mention - mixed race marriages.

This interesting snippet from the BBC shows that prejudice still exists and also begs many questions - such as:

What percentage of UK marriages are mixed or inter-ethnic?  (Hint - check back to the quiz two weeks ago)

What are the implications of mixed race marriages in terms of culture and identity?

What is racism?

A Career in Crime

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Part of the great attraction of sociology - for me at least - has always been the way that it sheds light on our personal lives. The American sociologist C.Wright Mills famously wrote about this in his book The Sociological Imagination.  Mills wrote:

” Perhaps the most fruitful distinction with which the sociological imagination works is between the ‘personal troubles of milieu’ and ‘the public issues of social structure.’

By ‘milieu’ Mills just means ‘environment’ and he’s getting at the point that there is a connection between the way our environment shapes us and the larger social structures which influence us, like class, race and gender.

Why do I mention it? Because I was struck tonight by my son’s interest in Curtis Warren.

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Sociology Categories

Friday, February 01, 2008


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