Sociology

Intent – Sociology is the study of the structure and development of society and how it has impacted human social relationships. The Sociology curriculum intends to develop student’s sociological imagination by imparting fundamental skills such as critical analysis, independent thinking and balancing judgements. Within the rich and broad subject, students will look to analyse their place in society from a micro and macro point of view and look to grasp and understand sociological approaches such as functionalism, Marxism and feminism to topic areas and then apply their understanding of sociology and how it relates to everyday processes and purposes of institutions such as the family, education system, criminal justice system, work and leisure within society. Students will be able to critically evaluate each debate between perspectives encompassing key vocabulary and make acute comparisons. Alongside this, students will analyse the usefulness of various research methods used to understand social processes and issues within some of these topics. This provides students with the sociological understanding to be able to apply to contemporary issues within our postmodern world today, and to which can be applied to other subjects.  In essence the ultimate aim would be for our students to see Sociology not just as an academic subject but something that we actually live, experience and they can apply to everyday life to make them more aware, to question everything and be independent thinking young ladies.

The Sociology curriculum has been adapted based on student’s prior learning, knowledge, and achievement before the lockdown. Some unit orders have been changed, while others have been merged to enable completion of course. Some topics will be revisited based on feedback from students and assessment of coursework. The main focus is on how best to teach the essential knowledge and key skills to enable students to re-engage and excel in their studies.

  Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
YEAR 12 TOPIC 1

Culture & Identity:

This is an optional topic – one of the reasons for choosing this topic is that it ‘grabs’ attention from the students as it is relatable. Another reason for choosing this is that it introduces the foundation vocabulary, starting from the premise that students do not know much about the subject. Thus the concepts and perspectives studies here will act a building blocks and will run as the core themes in all topics covered in this A level. This topic will open up key debates around CAGE (class, age, gender, ethnicity) and how they are fundamental in contemporary society. Students will examine their own identity and that of others and learn to compare and contrast their culture with other ones – to look at society from a micro and macro point of view. This is essential as sociology is looking at society and how the factors of CAGE and agencies influence it.

 

 

Once the understanding of key sociological issues, debates and concepts is embedded – sociological perspectives such as functionalism, Marxism, feminism, postmodernism – will be introduced and applied to the areas of CAGE. This elevates Sociology from a common-sense approach and adds rigour and evidence to the teaching of the subject; it also adds critical and analytical evidence that can be debated, which will help consolidate the exam skill of evaluation. Students will learn to develop a line of reasoning and evaluate the evidence for and against a particular issue. This will be practised both verbally and in writing.

More exam skills will be incorporated and practised from the short answer questions introduced in Term 1 to the extended exam questions.

This will be practised at school and home and rigorous feedback given so that students may show progress and understanding of the rubrics of the exam style questions.

 

TOPIC 2

Education:

The topic of education is a compulsory unit but it flows from the previous topic, as education is an agency of socialisation along with peers. Also, school is where students spend a great deal of their time and thus they will see the relevance of studying this and why education is such a significant agency/influence on us.

How education applies to CAGE will be studied and how in turn CAGE impacts education. By now we would expect students to have a good grasp on the different perspectives and apply them to each topic and thus evaluate. Again, a core theme that will be developed and applied in each topic we study, as will be the significance of agencies of socialisation for example family, peers, media. The important thing here is to understand the full extent of education, not just from a school/student outlook but how it impacts individuals and society and what factors (inside school and outside of school) influence how one progresses and attains, to again think about sociology in a micro and macro sense.

 

 

Students will carry on with topic 2 and look at the political history and influence on the education system Students will know and discuss the policies introduced. The political stance and input is introduced here in some detail – this will raise awareness and help students understand that politics is not an abstract phenomenon but something that is very real, relevant and affects us all. This will help when in year 13 we look at the topic of stratification and crime and deviance. This will also add evidence to their extended answers.

 

In addition to Education in Paper 2 there is also the topic of research methods (Topic 3) that is linked to education, therefore in this term it makes sense to start teaching it so that students can now understand the context of the exam questions and how Sociology and research are linked.

Therefore, one lesson a week will be dedicated to research methods. In turn, research methods will again appear in paper 3.

For Research methods it is essential to get students to realise that Sociology is not based on opinions but on objective research, research that has helped sociologists reach reasoned conclusions. Here the challenge is to know what the methods used were – to define and evaluate their uses, how the method was applied – introduce, learn and apply key terms and concepts.

This will be done in a practical way as students will indeed carry out their own mini research using what they have studied.

Exam questions will be practised, those requiring short as well as those calling for extended answers.

TOPIC 3

Theories and methods:

This will help to encapsulate knowledge from previous topic and will allow students to solidify their knowledge and understanding. By doing so, students will develop meticulously detailed knowledge about the methods and theories when explaining behaviour in the social world. Evaluations, conclusions, applications and analyses’ will be implemented in extended pieces of writing.

 

 

Alongside teaching Topic 4 students will be prepared for the end of year exams – looking at retention exercises, revision aids and strategies; practising exam questions.
  Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Year 13 Topic 4

Stratification:

Students now have the foundation of their learning from year 12 and have studied CAGE and agencies of socialisation and how they influence our status and roles, and determine our norms and values in society. This topic looks to do this in more depth and detail and examine inequalities in areas of society for example crime, employment, housing and poverty. This topic will enable students to come from an informed point of view to discuss/debate/evaluate (the extended answers required for the exam) whether inequalities still exist or are still significant and to what extent.

Topic 5

Theory & Methods:

This will be taught alongside stratification – the reasoning here is that not too long ago we had studied the main methods in depth and we have also studied the perspective in depth/ the theory in this topic is linked to the perspectives so we will be able to build on that knowledge and study that research methods is not only done in context but also can come from a point of view which can determine the type of research methods you may use.

There will be a continuation of both topics and also a review mock exams – identify strengths and weaknesses that can be addressed through class work and after school revision and practice.

Near the end of term we will start the final Topic 6 of Crime and Deviance. The reason for it being here is that it brings everything learned before together.

 

We will finish crime and deviance and look to really fine tune revision, identifying topics we need to catch up on and areas that really need to be revisited. Exam practice, revision strategies, retention exercises will be undertaken.

 

This will be an important time before exams to consolidate, revise , aid retention and do more exam practice  under timed condtions.  

 

Impact: To ensure students achieve their full potential in Sociology, students will be formatively assessed once a fortnight through writing extended essays that will embed key elements of the mark schemes. Data from this assessment will then be used to target students and aim to enhance their development areas though re-teaching lessons. Knowledge of vocabulary from each topic will be assessed once a term and key knowledge from certain topics will be assessed during quizzes. Students’ data from termly mocks will be analysed to highlight any areas for development. Furthermore, students will also read the news on a daily basis, and watch documentaries and use online resources.