Sociology

Teaching resources & approaches

Making Demography Come to Life

Adam Walton

18th October 2017

As we know when teaching ‘demography’ students often find this the most labour intensive topic. Partly, as it is dry statistics but it is something which can be brought to life by making it relate to them in the community. 

When teaching Crime and Deviance as a prime example use the “Search Crime Statistics by Postcode” on crime-statistics website to bring these issues to life. This website is great as you can look up your local postcode and see what crimes are the most dominant within the area – there is a comparison view which you could use to show how crime differs in each area. 

The questions which this could raise within lesson can relate to:

  • Marxism, why is there more crime in one area compared to an ‘affluent’ area? Could it be that the bourgeoisie are ‘cracking’ down on working class crime more to enforce social control?
  • In education, what are the school statistics like in these areas? Could there be a strong undercurrent of a potential anti-school subculture with these schools? Meaning pupils are more inclined to turn to crime?
  • Interactionists, could the crimes be seen as ‘non-crimes’ by these communities? E.g. high drug crime rate seems bad to us but for the community it is not seen as deviant or criminal.

This source I use within my Family and Households unit as it enables me to cover some of the issues raised by the New Right. For example, I get statistics about the local areas ‘lone-parent’ statistics and compare to the crime statistics and see if students can see validity in the New Right's arguments. This does lead to a heated debate from the pupils, as it is again close to home and connects on a personal level.

In lesson, I would use this as a starter activity which would enable pupils to engage with demography a bit more. This would enable the discussion about ethnicity, class and gender to be had before the ‘hard information’ get completely covered. I always find this is what captivates students when they see it applying to their everyday life. 

Demography can be fun; we just need to try change the pupil’s mind-set to see it as something that reflects real life rather than being hypothetical. 

Adam Walton

Adam is an energetic, enthusiastic and passionate teacher of Sociology and Psychology at a Grammar School in Kent. He is a creative teacher who loves creating innovative ways to teach Sociology and Psychology (often through dance). He is also the Head of PSHE and Citizenship

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