Thursday, 15 December 2016

Moral Panic - Halloween Poisoners

The Independent ran a great article back in late October in the run-up to Halloween, highlighting the strong belief in the urban myth that someone, somewhere, is hell-bent on poisoning children but only on one particular day of the year. The resulting annual moral panic was somewhat overshadowed this year by a related moral panic about 'killer clowns' but it still remains out there, and returns once a year to terrify whoever wishes to believe in such things.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

AS Education - OFSTED Functionalism

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the current head of the government's education watchdog OFSTED, has said that schools are "great forces for social cohesion" and that they "provide the glue that helps hold our society together."

Does that remind you of anything? Functionalism, perhaps?

Wilshaw went on to single out the achievements of the children of immigrants, saying that their success in the UK stood out against that of other European countries - such as Germany, France, Finland, Italy and Switzerland - where they do far worse in school than their native peers.

Read more about Wilshaw's speech here.

AS & A2 Ethnicity

Why a black child is 12 times less likely to become PM.

A black child born in the UK today is 12 times less likely to become prime minister than a white child, according to new research. But why is this?
The figure was calculated by statistician, economics and inequalities specialist Dr Faiza Shaheen for the documentary Will Britain Ever Have A Black Prime Minister?
Read more about the research here and watch the programme at 21:00 on Sunday 13 November on BBC Two or catch up later online.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

AS Families & Households - the Troubled Families programme, 2011-2016

Often criticised for not doing enough to help families that need the most help, it now seems that even when they do try to help, governments just can't seem to get it right. So much so that an unfavourable report on the government's flagship policy, the Troubled Families Programme, appears to have been suppressed. Although the local government department denied that this was the case, it does appear that the government has been sitting on the unreleased report since the Autumn of 2015.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

A2 Crime & Deviance Case Study - The Spalding Murders

The recent high-profile criminal case where a mother and daughter were murdered in their beds by a pair of fourteen year-old children, has been shocking both because of the age of the accused pair and also because of the unprovoked, graphic and callous nature of the premeditated killings.

The dubious label of "Britain's youngest ever couple to be convicted of murder" means that the media have found the case to be both unusual and sensational. But while the obvious comparisons to 'Bonnie and Clyde' are being made, just how much do we understand about this case? In cases where there is no apparent strong motive for a crime, how do we go about establishing an explanation?

A2 Crime & Deviance - COMPAS: Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions

Prisoner Eric Loomis challenged the assessment which led to his incarceration

In the USA, in an attempt to remove human bias from decision-making procedures such as granting bail; sentencing length; granting parole etc., a 'machine selection' procedure called COMPAS (Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions) was introduced whereby these decisions are made based on the results of an algorithm.

Monday, 10 October 2016

A2 Crime & Deviance - Media - Crime Porn

Comedienne Doon Mackichan spoke out about the issue of 'crime porn' in the media, citing 'The Fall' in particular as an example of gratuitous use of violence against women as a titillating and shock device for viewer gratification:

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

AS Functionalist Approaches to Education

(Weds 28th Sept - I have experienced delays in producing my material for you to examine Functionalist views on Education, so although I will get my video and resources done and posted here soon, here are some other videos and resources on the topic for you to look at and make notes on, ready for our discussions and activities in class next week.)

Watch the following videos and make notes on the key points - the function(s) of education, and what Functionalism is and how it looks at education.

Monday, 26 September 2016

A2 Crime & Deviance Case Study - Sophie Lancaster

As one of our case studies for the Unit 3 option on Crime and Deviance, we will be looking at the murder of Sophie Lancaster and in particular how the theories about Subculture might be applied to this incident. In this incident, two different subcultures collide: examine and evaluate to what extent the goth subculture of the victims, and the delinquent working class subculture of the perpetrators, are a feature of this hate crime.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Week Beginning Mon 26th Sep 2016

This week we are all (both AS and A2 classes) going to try out a bit of 'Flipped Learning' (sometimes known as 'Flipped Classroom'). This is basically where students will watch and take notes on a video about the topic before coming to class. You are going to be given information and links to the topics that we will be working on next week, so that you can watch and make notes on them this week.

Benefits of a Flipped approach

A lot of students prefer this style of learning, as they can pause the teacher and rewatch sections of the lesson information as much as they wish.

They also come to class armed with the right knowledge and notes, and are able to use lesson time for interactive activities with other well-informed students, and get more teacher assistance on any areas they wish.

Students can choose when and where they watch and rewatch the lesson materials, so for example could watch and take notes in bed one evening, and then rewatch the video while on the bus or in the car on their way into school.

Students who miss lessons can now easily catch up on the topic and then can arrange with other students to go through some interactive tasks, which will also help those other students with their knowledge and revision.

Revision becomes easier as students can review lesson materials as many times as they wish, as well as their own notes (which they can also continually add to and improve).

Watch this short video

You can watch this short video to understand more about how we will use a Flipped approach.

(video to go here)

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Welcome to the Sociology blog at St. Alban's

Welcome to the department blog and please be sure to return here often and make use of the resources here all the time that you are a student of Sociology.

We study the WJEC exam board curriculum for Sociology here in Wales (which has a lot in common with the Eduqas curriculum delivered in England).

Both AS and A2 Sociology are following brand new curricula and the new AS specification was taught and examined for the first time in 2015-16, and the new A2 specification is being taught and examined for the first time in 2016-17.

This blog is going to help answer your questions about these new specifications and exams, and the work that you are going to have to do in order to be a successful student.

You can check out the department social media:

Twitter feed:
Youtube channel:
Pinterest boards: magazine:

Also you should make your own blogs and social media to help you explore the issues and approaches we'll be covering in this subject. Link back to this blog and we'll link out to yours, and then all of us can benefit from our shared investigations and findings.

Remember that a lot of the issues and material that we will be covering is considered to be contentious and controversial by a lot of people in society, including ourselves. So approach with an open mind and remember not to take anything personally - be willing to learn.