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Streaming in schools

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Streaming is no longer commonly used in schools, often viewed as divisive and unfair.  However, some schools have adopted the approach and defend it as a means to stretch and challenge the top cohorts.  Have a look at this video about how it works at Crown Woods, in Eltham, London. 

Parents and Educational attainment

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Supportive parents do more than good schools to boost children's exam results, a study suggests.  The BBC highlight a new report from the US telling us what we probably already know!  Read about it here . 

Education around the World - Compare and Contrast these Classrooms

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A fascinating series of images here in this Guardian photostream  which illustrate a variety of classroom environments around the globe.

read more...»

Schools in the UK - Social Segregation

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A major new comparative study from the OECD suggests that the UK's school system is socially segregated, with immigrant children clustered in disadvantaged schools. The extent of the segregation and potential educational disadvantage appears to be more significant than most other developed economies.

You can read about the report here in the Telegraph.  Lots of good data in there.

The OECD conclude from their research that:

"The socio-economic composition of UK schools poses significant challenges for disadvantaged students and students with an immigrant background,"

Class, Globalisation and the “Corruption” of Britain’s Public Schools

Saturday, September 08, 2012

A number of core themes are addressed in this short opinion piece by the Telegraph's Damian Thompson  in which he argues that the traditional ethos of public schools is being "corrupted" by the the growing influence of very rich foreigners.

Thompson accepts that public schools in the UK have always been happy to accept students from overseas and the substantial income that brings. However, he argues that the process of globalisation and rapid economic growth experienced in emerging markets such as Russia has created a new breed of foreign student:

"for the past 20 years, globalisation has been sharpening the greed of a certain sort of public schoolboy. Often this is combined with vague benevolence, but it’s the benevolence of the billionaire smirking as he writes a cheque rather than that of the volunteer whose aim is to liberate ordinary people."

Thompson also argues that "minor" public schools have taken advantage of this change and now actively seek to exploit the parents or guardians of overseas students.

teacher student relationships

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A great one for teachers and a good one for students to consider the importance and difficulties of teacher student relationships in school.
Read it here.

AQA AS and A2 revision handouts

Monday, March 19, 2012

These form part of the revision pack I put together for students.  They include a checklist of topics (from the specification) and examples of all past questions up to the most recent summer exam (I hold back the January exams for mocks).

The AS guide is for Unit 1: Families and Households and Unit 2: Education with Research Methods
The A2 guide is for Unit 3: Mass Media and Unit 4: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods.

Please feel free to adapt and use.

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GCSE sample answers - education

Sunday, February 26, 2012

An exercise looking at, and marking, sample 5 mark answers to help develop an understanding of the marking criteria at GCSE.

Remember to take the marks out when giving to students!

5_mark_sample_answers_teacher_version.docx

Media and Image

Sunday, January 29, 2012

This is a fantastic commentary of the images of women portrayed by the media, commenting on how they project an impossibly flawless ideal.  Jean Kilbourne argues, not just that this image leads to increasing eating disorders and mental health issues among teenage girls, but that the objectification of women’s bodies contributes to a growth in violence against women.

Watch the video and see if you agree.

read more...»

Contraception

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Useful article about the impact of the introduction of the contraceptive pill.

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.

Research methods: questionnaires

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

A great online exercise for evaluating questionnaires. 
http://wads.le.ac.uk/gg/orm/timingform.htm

Gender and educational achievement

Saturday, October 22, 2011

An interesting link I came across recently which explores the issue of boys underachievement at GCSE in more depth.  There is a chapter you can download, along with a presentation, both of which contain useful information that could be adapted for use with sixth-former, or potentially GCSE students.

African-Caribbean underachievement

Friday, October 21, 2011

Interesting and baldly stated article about reasons for underachievement by black boys.  A good starting point for a lesson.

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)?

read more...»

Unequal Opportunities

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This report suggests that despite the expansion in higher education we are not seeing higher levels of social mobility. Not all universities are equal, so it seems, and the key to ending up in a higher ranked occupational category and indeed income group, is to get to one of the Russell Group of leading universities.

Education and Social Elites

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A topical one today if you’re revising education and social mobility/education and the social structure. Have a look at this interesting article on the BBC Magazine webpage.  Tomorrow I’ll try to upload a pic I took of the media village on Westminster Green.

More League Tables

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Well, in today’s Guardian check out this fascinating table of international university rankings.  Students - I side with the comments on The Guardian which cast considerable doubt on this heap of massaged statistics.  Your task is to explain why these statistics are probably, most likely, sorely lacking in both validity and reliability

. I’ll even allow you to use the posted comments as a source of ideas.

When I Grow Up - Last Four Days

Friday, March 05, 2010

Very interesting programme on R4 which uses data from the Nuffield study and brings in updates on social mobility,education and parental influence.  Four days left to listen to it on iPlayer.

You can find out more about the Centre for Longitudinal Studies by clicking on the highlighted text.  I will post more on the CLS next week.

Education and the State

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Cambridge University is hosting what look to be some quite interesting lectures on the relationship between education and the state. Speakers will include David Hargreaves, Stephen Ball, Anna Fazackerley, Estelle Morris, John Bangs and Philip Blond. Due to the marvels of ICT the lectures will be available as podcasts. Probably challenging material for AS/A students, so hey, teachers, do your students a favour and guide them through, make a handout, or something like that.  I’m sure these lectures will provide some much needed material to freshen up our rather jaded AS/A take on education and the state.

Inequalities, Lifechances and Education

Monday, February 15, 2010

Here’s a BBC report detailing the continued gap between the affluent and those at the bottom of the social ladder.  This seems to have been going on for as long as I can remember and gives pause for thought about sociological perspectives. Maybe one thing Marx got wrong was his underestimation of capitalism’s incredible ability to tolerate inequalities. It seems a system far from being close to collapse through revolution as envisaged by Marx.  Perhaps more likely now, some might argue, is collapse due to man made environmental catastrophe. Discuss.

Education and Equality

Friday, October 23, 2009

A bit political, a bit controversial today, but I saw this today in The Guardian and thought it was spot on. There’s a fair bit of sociology in it too, towards the end. I guess you could argue that Hanley oversimplifies a bit, but I’ve been one of those who have found New Labour, well, just a bit too ‘New’ if I can put it that way for now. For me, this hits the nail pretty much on the head. But then, perhaps I’m just a simplistic, unreconstructed old leftie?

Quote for the Week coming up tomorrow and somewhere in the T2U machinery there’s another quiz waiting to be published.

Have a great weekend.

The BNP, Education and the British Working Class

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The furore over the inclusion of BNP Nick Griffin on tonight’s Question Time, has prompted a lot of discussion in the media. Last night the BBC’s Newsnight, got in their two pence worth.  If you missed it, click on the link to iPlayer and have a listen. It’s somewhere around halfway through I should think.

In amongst all the debate about Griffin, Newsnight did some very interesting contextualisation.

read more...»

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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More on Uni Statements

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Following my earlier posting, it’s worth reading this article on the Guardian carefully before reaching any hasty conclusions.

University Entrance and Meritocracy

Here’s something to make you laugh - or cry - in the exam season. I saw this in the Times yesterday, and I have to confess, that my reaction was just to laugh.  Sorry for all those who spent hours slaving over their personal statements. This is what happens when plagiarism becomes rife.  For sociology students though, it does beg a serious question: will this promote meritocracy, or will it make no significant difference?

Educational Attainment and Ethnicity

Monday, May 18, 2009

Here are some revision notes on educational attainment and ethnicity. As previously, think in terms of input factors and school factors.

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Gender and Educational Attainment

Friday, May 15, 2009

Gender can come up a fair bit - but you can use the basic input/school factors approach I outlined the other day to tackle them – simply add relevant studies. Here are a few pointers.  Tomorrow - ethnicity and educational attainment.

read more...»

Education - School Factors

Thursday, May 14, 2009

As promised yesterday, today a few points on the other side of the explanation for differences in educational attainment. Yesterday I briefly viewed the explanations which put the cause of differential attainment firmly on the side of the pupil - in terms of factors like IQ and class. But suppose it’s nothing to do with pupils social background - how would such explanations work?

read more...»

Sociology Categories

Friday, February 01, 2008


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