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The British Sociological Association (BSA) Teaching Group organise a number of events at locations around the country.
In May I attended an event at the University of East London and more recently I attended an event at University of Brighton. In Brighton, Dr Christopher Matthews spoke about how he teaches sociology to his class of male sports studies students, describing how to really engage them he has to make concepts and ideas tangible. He gave us an example; he gets them to do a dance class so they feel a world they are unfamiliar with, and when they do go back to the football pitch it helps them start to realise what socialisation is.
We also heard other presentations titled ‘strategies for flipping sociology’ and ‘strategies for student engagement’. Have you heard of Kahoot? I hadn’t until the presenter Ian Luckhurst mentioned he uses it in his A Level class – it’s a free game-based learning platform. Set up a quiz and students can answer using their phone, so of course this tends to be popular!*
There was also a general sharing of teaching ideas and one quick and simple example I took away was this as an introductory activity for discussing cultural capital: split your class into two and have one group who will be the ‘middle class’ at the front of the classroom. At the back of the classroom the second group will be the ‘working class’. Screw up some waste paper and get the students from both groups to throw it into the bin you’re holding – it will be a lot easier for the middle class group at the front whereas the working class group will be find it a lot more challenging! Depending on how many students you have in your lesson you could divide the room further into the underclass, the working class, the middle class and the upper class.
I love the opportunity to get out of the office and spend time talking with teachers, and every time I’ve come away from an event I’ve always had a new idea that I then try to apply in some way to my work going forwards. For more information about the BSA Teaching Group, forthcoming events and how to become a member then please visit their website.
*There are other online quizzes available on the internet but this just happened to be the one mentioned by the presenter.
Helen Hemmings - Subject Specialist - Sociology
Helen has worked at Cambridge Assessment for nine years (with a brief gap when she spent a year in New Zealand). For the last two years she has worked at OCR initially managing OCR’s Psychology assessments, then moving across to work on Sociology which she is extremely passionate about! Helen studied Sociology at A Level (she still clearly remembers writing her coursework on conjugal roles!) and then as part of her university degree. In her spare time, family life keeps Helen busy especially as she has two young children.