New legislation proposed by government would allow them to monitor all emails, calls and web use, without requiring permission from a magistrate. A great debating point for any lesson, and am important issue.
Read a brief article about it here.
This looks like a potentially interesting programme, tonight at 9pm.
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.read more...»
a neat little summary of the history of marriage. 10 key moments.
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?read more...»
The recent news story about the privatisation of certain police services has already sparked some vibrant reactions on facebook and other social media. I am using it as a starter in my next crime and deviance lesson to consider what impact it might have on policing and society in general. It offers a great opportunity to reflect on different theoretical perspectives.
This is how it has been reported on the BBC.
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!
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.
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.read more...»
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...»
This story of a man’s campaign to the right to die, would make an interesting contemporary update for those studying suicide in Unit 4. Read it here.
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…
Wikipedia’s decision to stage a 24hour ‘blackout’, in response to threatened US legislation, should make an interesting discussion starter for anyone studying media and / or crime and deviance.read more...»
This year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show) has caused some controversy, with companies employing ‘booth babes’ to help promote their products. You can watch a news clip here, featuring interviews with attendees and ‘babes’.read more...»
A simple evaluation template for research methods.
An article in the Guardian about the benefits of single sex education for girls. Read it here.
Apologies for the radio silence, but I have been enjoying a well-earned holiday! I plan to upload some new resources as soon as I can grab a chance between A level re-sit revision sessions, but in the meantime, take a look at this article on the link between daily routine and exam grades.
The Home Office report on policing the riots. Essential reading for Crime and Deviance students.
Zygmunt Bauman: ‘No one is in control. That is the major source of contemporary fear’ – video. For Zygmunt Bauman the world is marked by a division between power and politics. While politics is defined by nations, power no longer recognises national boundaries
Great animated video about research into the benefits of exercise. Watch it here.
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.
A survey by the Centre for the Modern Family suggests that few people feel part of a ‘traditional’ family. Read about it here.
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.
Useful article about the impact of the introduction of the contraceptive pill.
Any student studying Mass Media for Unit 3, should be aware of the Leveson inquiry - a goldmine of examples! The BBC have been doing a rolling commentary on the witness statements, including that by Campbell here.
I’m having trouble uploading resources to the website currently, but there are plenty of stories in the news that provide a good basis for discussion. One on the BBC today questions how easy it is to live on £40,000pa (the average combined income for two adults in the UK). Read it here.
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.
A great online exercise for evaluating questionnaires.
OECD study shows the importance of reading to children in their first years at school. Read it here.
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.
Sugar Daddy parties in the UK - is it a form of prostitution? Is it sexist? Or is it simply a rebirth of traditional relationships where the man is the provider? You decide.
Read the story here.
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.
An interesting discussion of recent changes to electoral procedure; useful as a starting point for discussions about democracy and the balance of power. Read here.
Interesting and baldly stated article about reasons for underachievement by black boys. A good starting point for a lesson.
Nice story for a starter about a father in trouble for taking a photograph of his daughter in a shopping centre. Read it here.
Fascinating programme about race and identity on BBC2 tonight, that will be repeated Tuesday 11:20pm and Wednesday 12:20am.read more...»
Here is an assessment I put together for my year 10, based mainly on the studying society element of Unit 1. It is accompanied by a detailed peer marking exercise with model answers to assist.read more...»
4 Thought on channel 4 present short viewpoints on a wide variety of subjects that might be useful as starters for discussion points. Yesterday’s was on mixed race marriages. The BBC have also commented on the issue, here.
Don’t be misled by the title or the pictures on the website, this series is a great fly-on-the-wall look at comprehensive education today. There is bullying, dating, teaching and even some learning. Take a look at the programmes here.
A joint research carried out by UAB and Ramon Llull University, published in the journal Cultura y Educación, indicates that children sleeping less than nine hours and with bad sleeping habits - such as going to bed late - do worse academically. The study was carried out in several schools with children aged 6 and 7.
You can read an executive summary here.
The BBC discusses the ethical issues of using children as brand ambassadors to sell products.
Interesting discussion of the point of jail and the merits of community sentencing. Read it here.
An excellent piece on the BBC looking at the statistics associated with the riots. Good ‘methods in context’ material for A2 Crime and Deviance.
Read it here.
Another map, this time linking the homes of those charged in relation to the riots in Manchester, to areas of deprivation. A good stimulus for discussing causes of crime.
A study led by University College London suggests that targeting crime ‘hotspots’ is a good way of cutting offending, because most criminals are too lazy to go elsewhere. The study has been printed in the Jourmal of Experimental Criminology and you must be a subscriber to download the full report, but the abstract is below. Mark Easton, writing for the BBC, has also discuss the study, here.read more...»
This discussion thread on the TES website might prove a useful tool in discussing boys’ underachievement with sixth formers.
For those of you introducing capitalism to AS students in the next few weeks, or trying to get A2 students to develop their understanding further, this article might make a good discussion point. In particular, it could help students to apply the theory to contemporary issues and events.
A lovely article from the BBC about the ONS and some of the surveys it has carried out: from how many bras women owned in 1941, to sex and contraception in 2001. Read it here.
The ONS survey highlights would make a good starter for lessons on methods and / or social change; read it here.
I’m not sure who put this together, but this map overlays locations of recent unrest with areas of deprivation. A good starting point for discussion about the root causes… (warning - it can be slow to load)
BBC4 are screening a Horizon documentary this evening (Thursday 11th August, 8-9pm), looking at how parenting techniques have changed, and theory behind those changes. Sure it will be worth a watch, and I shall be recording it for future A level lessons on childhood.
An interesting article about whether ‘social climbing’ is a good thing. I wonder whether the assumption that it is still viewed as a negative aspect, remains true today anyway. What do you think?
A card game for GCSE students studying the family, to help them identify types and definitions. It’s a simple pairing exercise - instructions included.
People in the UK believe their well-being should be measured in terms of health, friends and family and job satisfaction, according to a report by the Office of National Statistics. Read the article here. The report can be downloaded here.
A snippet from Radio 4 highlighting the problem of children arriving at school who don’t even know their own names. The blame is levelled at television and the internet and the failure of families to engage in discussion. Listen to it here.
The BBC screened a programme, Classroom Secrets, earlier this week, that showed footage of how children really behave in class. You can see the programme on BBCiplayer, and there is a short clip along with brief details about the programme, here.
For those that haven’t yet come across Ben Goldacre, he debunks examples of bad science. His articles are insightful and make useful starting points for discussion at A2 (value-free research / the positivism debate) and AS (for those looking at health particularly). His website can be found here.
A neat article bringing together some of the most recent stories about challenging gender. Read it here.
More discussion about fertility rates and the apparent ‘baby boom’ of the first part of this, the 21st century. Is Tony Blair the ‘daddy’? A good starting point for discussion.
In case you missed it earlier in the year, following a great deal of debate around the subject of the commercialisation, and particularly the perceived sexualisation, of children, the Government have commissioned a review. Reg Bailey, Chief Executive of the Mothers’ Union is leading the review which will focus on 4 key areas:read more...»
The BBC, in an article that not so subtly advertises a new book (Owen Jones - Chavs: the Demonization of the Working Class), discusses the controversy around the term ‘chav’ and the continued class division that exists in the UK.
The exam boards are generally looking for up-to-date examples wherever possible, so why not take a look at this article on the BBC about the Miami mega-jail.
‘Imagine a jail where dangerous inmates awaiting trial live 24 to a room and fight each other under a violent gladiatorial code. This is life inside Miami’s mega-jail, writes Louis Theroux.’
If you haven’t found it already, go and look the website for Ken Browne’s Sociology books for A level. There are lots of sample chapters and some useful quizzes and matching exercises that are great for revision.
A last minute case study on Gender Socialisation for either Family topic on SCLY1 or Education on SCLY2; Researchers from Florida State University, have found kids’ books are likely to feature a male hero rather than a female heroine and could be reinforcing gender inequality. Adding that in recent years animal characters were twice as likely to be male as female.
A fun way to revise the strengths and limitations of various research methods based on the card game ‘happy families’. Instructions included.
A year on and some decent analysis from psephologists of the 2010 election are emerging. Dr Justin Greaves of Warwick University has made available an A’Level friendly Power Point on ‘Voting Behaviour at the 2010 General Election’. An excellent resource for any centre studying this minority topic on AQA SCLY3.
Examiners are looking for contemporary references from students and I often get asked where they can find them. I usually start with stories in the news. Here are some quick summaries of stories and studies from April.
Perhaps more political than sociological (and certainly historical), but a useful discussion of the merits of AV versus first past the post.
AV vs FPTP
Don’t seem to be able to embed this, so check it out here. In yesterday’s royal marriage ceremony there was a bit in the service which I’d forgotten about. At one point (follow the link) the Archbishop of Canterbury (and when is someone going to tell him to get his hair cut?) said ‘Who giveth this woman to this man?”. Mr Middleton then gave his daughter’s hand to the Archbishop, who placed Kate’s hand upon Prince William’s hand. Well, I know you can say it’s ‘just’ a tradition, but what would feminists make of that I wonder? Surely the symbolism and the language is clear? The woman is a piece of property - she is ‘given’ by the father, to her husband. The husband-to-be however, is treated differently. He, it seems, is regarded as a fully independent being, who no one has the power to ‘give away’. A marriage of equals? Make of that what you will.read more...»
More fuel for the nurture versus nature argument. This BBC article discusses how success is determined more by effort than talent, and the importance of a ‘growth mindset’ rather than a ‘fixed’ one. Dweck’s experiment should prove fertile ground for discussion.
This little story seems to be getting a lot of media coverage. But for a simple bonus point, identify one public place in the UK where men are allowed to kiss? It’s a good example of the relative nature of deviance - in terms of place that is.
The ATL has produced a study of the impact of poverty of pupils’ learning, reported by the BBC. There is perhaps nothing unusual or unexpected in the findings, but as it is a report of teachers’ perceptions, it could be a useful discussion point on subjectivity as well as material deprivation.read more...»
David Cameron has raised a stink about ethnic minorities going to Oxford University. Much of the argument relates to how you read the statistics! Read it here.
Time for a little light relief for the end of term? This new book from the French Sociologist Jean-Claude Kaufmann has been all over the British press this week; The Times, The Guardian and The Express. In it he collates 18 months of research looking at what a handbag says about its owner. According to Kaufmann, “I’m like an ethnologist except that, instead of observing a tribe, I observe women. It is perfectly understandable, given that the advent of the handbag coincided with the dawn of choice, so it highlights the way in which women have been able to construct their own identities.
On a similar theme the French video artist Pierre Klein simply asks women to empty the contents and explain what the contents say about the owner. So there you have it, a perfect end of term ‘Starter’ activity - get your students to empty the contents of their bags!
Students who have been discussing the census may be interested in following up by looking at this clip.
Nick Clegg has been talking about social mobility, as reported by the BBC. Alongside the usual politican-speak, is a nice graph that should prove a good discussion point.
This story on the BBC struck me today, not just because of the events, but because of the question of the point at which we stop being children and start being adults. Do we draw the line between boy, youth and man differently depending on the context? Food for thought.
I was going to write something about the royal wedding ring and there’s a nice clip on the BBC about what happens to the census form. However, time has flown, so I will direct you instead to this helpful site where you can make your own crosswords. In fact, I’m going to make one now.
David Willets, the Universities Minister, claims that feminism has held back working class men. Read the article - what do you think?
Nice article from the BBC about the census and the difficulties of counting people - useful evaluation points for students to use.
Some interesting findings reported on the BBC this week looking at the complex range of pressures facing mothers today compared to their mums and grannies. The new research is from The Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC). Obviously this will be helpful for students as an up to date case study for ‘Family’ on SCLY1. Also useful for Methods on SCLY2, as the study employs triangulation, consisting of Official Statistics, Focus Groups and an Online Poll. One stand out finding of resonance for me was that the 70’s and 80’s were seen as the best time to raise children; I must let my mum know!
I found this really useful clip on YouTube. It does about 5 mins on newsworthiness and is just right for GCSE although no reason why you couldn’t use it for AS either. It’s American and you might not like the voice over or teach kids who think they must laugh at anyone who differs from them, but my lot seemed happy enough with it. Just slightly cheesy point at the end about writing whatever you like, so I guess it must be aimed at some variety of journalism students.
Sometimes it’s hard to find a sociologist who is easily put into one of the rather artificial boxes or categories which are used at A level. They are useful - up to a point, but if you are ambitious and fairly sophisticated, don’t be fooled into thinking all sociologists fit neatly into such categories. Remember, sociological theories are tools - to be used - and different sociologists adapt them in different ways.
But anyway, do you know of any real positivists? Here’s one I’ve found - Diego Gambetta of Nuffield College Oxford. He has written a great website where he explains some of his views. I don’t necessarily agree with him, but you’ve got to admire the bluntness of the man who can say this: ” I detest jargon, which has done so much to ruin, often deservedly, the reputation of sociology. I do not mean technical words, or new words that identify something for which we have no synonyms in our vocabulary. I mean all embracing loose metaphors – such as liquid modernity or risk society or space of flows. Jargon is the make up donned by bad theorising to veil its hollowness. When I encounter words such as discourse, modernity or structuration I stop reading.” If you want to read more you will find it in his his essay More Hedgehog than Fox: a self-presentation.
Having woken late or to find that the clocks should have moved forward many of us - or heads of household at least - may now also be dimly aware of another demand being made by the state - fill in your census form. If you are a teacher - do not look a gift horse in the mouth - fill in your return online and keep the questionnaire to use in class. Whether you are a student or a teacher, check up the census website and have a look at the questions. Students especially, who have a tendency to think questionnaires are easy - having looked at the questions, the number of options and the coding boxes - do you still think this is an easy method?
The BBC have carried out a survey of UK schoolchildren, looking at religion and technology, as well as hopes and aspirations. It makes interesting reading and might be useful for AS students studying the family. Read the story here and download the report here.
Nice clip for explaining or getting into postmodernism here.
I put these exam outlines together for my students to help them prepare for the summer exams. Feel free to use and adapt.
Unit 3: Mass Media AQA_SCLY3_outline.doc
Unit 4: Crime and deviance with methods and theory AQA_SCLY4_outline.doc
The BBC reported on the potential impact of the rise in tuition fees for university, with some calculations provided by Baker Tilly. A good starting point for a debate on the impact of marketisation. Read about it here.
I have just been given David McCandless’ great coffee table book ‘Information is Beautiful’. As a consequence I’ve been raiding some of his images for class as an alternative to ‘boring’ tables and charts.
Try starting with these
‘Mountains Out of Molehills’ - timeline of global media scare stories, an interactive visualisation of Cohen’s Moral Panics?
‘Left vs. Right’ – SCLY3 Politics for Dummies!
‘Racist profiling’ – a mapping correlation of ethnicity population density and support of nationalistic parties in the UK. Psephology for SCLY3?
Don’t miss a special Thinking Allowed tomorrow, which will feature Laurie Taylor talking to Stuart Hall about multiculturalism. Should be fascinating.
Some headteachers and deputies at the Annual Conference of the Association of Schools and College Leaders (ASCL) in Manchester are wearing badges that say ‘I failed the English bac’ in protest at the Government’s new measure of GCSE performance. Old fashioned and contradictory to personalised learning, or driven by public demand? What do you think?
Read about it here.
I put these exam outlines together for my students to help them prepare for the summer exams. Feel free to use and adapt.
Unit 1: families and households AQA_SCLY1_outline.doc
Unit 2: education with research methods AQA_SCLY2_outline.doc
The BBC recently reported the release of a new study looking at unpaid domestic labour and gender roles. The idea that the finding that ‘out-of-work fathers spend less time caring for their children than mothers who have a job’ reflects ‘startling new research’ would be a good starting point for discussion. The report itself provides some interesting points of cross-cultural comparison and is worth a look. A copy can be downloaded here.
There’s a very useful clip from BBC Breakfast - an interview with Rory McGrath talking about losing his religious faith. Would be great for introducing lessons on either secularization or sociological perspectives on religion - Marxism or Functionalism - as McGrath touches on the issue of how Catholicism can be a controlling influence in a person’s life.
Neat little story from the BBC about the pressures of parenting - just to give you a flavour from the other side of the education debate. Read it here.
A new series starts on BBC2 this week in which Kirsty Young looks at British working lives since the Second World War. This programme combines the memories of ordinary working people with vivid archive from documentary, television and film to look at an era in which work was a great mass experience and work places were lively, welcoming communities. Details can be found here
AQA encourage students to use contemporary examples where possible. For Unit 1: Families and Households, you may like to discuss new government policy towards divorcing couples: they are to be referred to mediation to sort out disputes before they are allowed to resort to the courts (BBC article).
Historian David Starkey has become the surprise star of the new series, ‘Jamie’s Dream School’. Ostensibly focusing on how to engage teenagers who have dropped out of mainstream education, the programme mainly succeeds in showing just how difficult teaching can be - even if you are world-renowned expert in your field! You can read an article here.read more...»