Hints and tips - 6 minute read
Lucy Carey, Subject Advisor
This blog was originally published on 8 April 2020
The current situation is a challenging one for teachers and students, with both having to instantly adapt to new ways of learning, and we’re committed to supporting you.
We’re also updating our student-focused pages to point out our useful subject-specific resources for both students and teachers. These include past papers, teaching resources, support on wellbeing and explaining help that students and parents can access.
While there is a chance that schools will begin to start some face to face teaching, you may still want to make use of online resources for flipped learning and for those students who are not able to join you in school and college just yet. There is a full range of support, teaching resources and assessment materials to help you for OCR Sociology.
If you’ve not looked at the planning and teaching page on our A Level qualification web page in a while, it’s worth a visit. The most useful sections are below.
We have a full range of past papers, mark schemes, examiner reports and candidate exemplars from 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 exam series. 2019 and 2020 papers are held on Interchange. To further help you, in December 2020 we published our new ‘Guide to assessment’ (an Interchange login is required) which is a student-friendly document that has exemplars and top tips to explain the assessment and structure of each exam question.
We ran a successful range of Exam Preparation CPD webinars in autumn 2020. These were delivered by assessors who currently also teach the OCR sociology specification, so were full of rich practical ideas on how to assess and teach the different elements of the specification.
All of these materials can be found on the pages of our CPD site under the Past events tab (again, you need an Interchange login). The exam feedback for 2019 CPD materials are also available on Interchange. These include extra exemplars and activities related to assessment too.
These year groups will not sit exams this year. However, you can still support the year 11 and year 13 group, the students who may potentially go on to study sociology at A Level or university.
You can start sharing your transition activities that you might have set to do over the summer holidays. Great transition activities include listening to TED talks (possible themes such as crime or education). Many people are also watching and discussing the film Tiger King available on Netflix.
You could ask them to listen to a podcast about whether people are born evil? This is great to look at the nature/nurture debate and links to both sociology and psychology. For year 13 particularly, how about Lancaster University past lectures on Sociology themes: crime in the “new world” and lad culture in education.
Sociology helps us make sense of what is happening to us in the here and now and to think about it carefully and objectively.
Perhaps there is no better way to direct the sociological imagination right now than to think about pandemics and COVID-19? What do you think?
The Discover Sociology website from the BSA has some useful video clips with sociologists who have done research that your students may be familiar with - Davie (Beliefs), Archer (Education) and South (Green Crime). These can be used to explain some of the more difficult concepts for students. Each video is about 20 mins long, but worth setting as some flipped learning ahead of time. See the update from the President of the BSA.
There are some other useful resources from a variety of online sources:
The British Sociology Association has its Discover Sociology section for students, teachers and parents, and the Sociology Teacher magazine archive is full of articles to read and share. And the State of the Art free teacher conference pack has plenty of articles and summaries of new contemporary research for you and your students to read.
You will likely have your own departmental lists for this activity, it might be worth revisiting these. Here are further books worth adding to your list (if they’re not on there already):
My children are sometimes overwhelmed with so much reading they must do when learning independently, so listening to a good podcast is often just as beneficial. As a starter, we have one on our website focused on Globalisation. Of course, there are many more, like Analysis, Thinking Allowed, Understanding Society and Transforming Society.
Seneca is a consolidation of learning tools, where you can set quizzes and mini tests to check understanding. They have new content for OCR Sociology A Level, so if you have not tried this yet, it is well worth a go.
Oxplore is an innovative digital outreach portal from the University of Oxford. As the ‘Home of Big Questions’, it aims to engage those from 11 to 18 with debates and ideas that go beyond what is covered in the classroom.
Future learn has many free courses that link to specification topics, such as criminology related themes. This course will be running soon linking to OpenLearn with the Open University, which is also doing free courses.
MyHEplus - Thinking about applying to university to do sociology and looking for ways to explore your subject beyond the curriculum? The main subject pages of their website give you a quick guide to what it would be like to study the subject at university level, and suggest some further resources to check out. The topics provide guided activities, questions to think about and suggestions for further reading.
Sociology Central has a full range of resources and revision exercises for you and your students to download and adapt.
The Hectic Teacher - while this is primarily aimed at the AQA specification, there are loads of ideas and resources that can be adapted for our specification, for example, research methods and theory.
Have I missed any resources you think might be useful for teachers and students? Let us know in the comments below.
If you have any queries, you can email us at Sociology@ocr.org.uk, call us on 01223 553998 or Tweet us @OCR_Sociology. You can also sign up to receive subject updates about resources and support. This will include the “Ologist” newsletter that tells you current events and resources.
If you have not been in touch with me before, I previously wrote a blog about how subject advisors can support you and your teaching.
Lucy Carey - Subject Advisor
Lucy joined OCR in September 2017 as the Subject Advisor for Sociology and Psychology. Before joining OCR she worked as a teacher as the head of Sociology and Psychology departments in Peterborough, Yorkshire and Cambridge. In her spare time, she enjoys scuba diving and travel.