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Delivery guides are designed to represent a body of knowledge about teaching a particular topic and contain:
- Content: a clear outline of the content covered by the delivery guide;
- Thinking Conceptually: expert guidance on the key concepts involved, common difficulties students may have, approaches to teaching that can help students understand these concepts and how this topic links conceptually to other areas of the subject;
- Thinking Contextually: a range of suggested teaching activities using a variety of themes so that different activities can be selected that best suit particular classes, learning styles or teaching approaches.
This option is broken down into four key questions. Firstly, learners have the opportunity to explore the role of education in society and the relationship between education and work. Learners will consider a range of theoretical perspectives and analyse post-1988 social policies relating to work-based training and new vocationalism. This will enable learners to understand the diversity in approaches to understanding the role of education.
Patterns and trends of educational achievement are studied in the next sub-topic. Learners will develop an understanding of how social class, ethnicity and gender affect attainment in addition to the inter-relationship between these variables. As well as inequalities within the contemporary UK, learners can reflect on global educational inequalities such as the ‘gender apartheid’ which exists within the education system of many countries.
Once learners are familiar with the patterns and trends of educational inequality, they can then investigate the explanations for differential educational achievement. Learners will study both inside and outside school factors that may cause educational inequalities in addition to the views of a variety of theoretical perspectives such as functionalism, Marxism, interactionism, social democratic, feminism, and the New Right.
The final sub-topic allows learners to develop an understanding of how the UK education system has changed. A study of the different types of educational institutions, including the different types of schools, will demonstrate the diversity of educational provision in the UK. Furthermore, learners will be encouraged to contrast the ideological influences of New Right and social democratic governments and the social policies that they have introduced since 1988. In particular, the impact of educational policies on competition, choice, raising standards and equality of opportunity will be explored, as well as how the social policies relate to the key variables of social class, gender and ethnicity.
Approaches to teaching the content
As education is the principle agent of secondary socialisation, the core themes of the course are highly evident in this topic. Therefore, learners should be able to use concepts from Component 1 such as culture, social control and identity to discuss the role of education. As learners will be revisiting the theoretical perspectives as well, they will also be able to apply concepts such as value consensus, false consciousness and patriarchy when debating the role of education. However, there will be many new concepts that are specific to education that learners will explore. The following list contains some of these key concepts. Please note: this is not an exhaustive list and learners may encounter other concepts during this topic.
- Gender apartheid
- Consumer choice
- Hidden curriculum
- Correspondence principle
- Gendered subject choices
- Specialised skills
- Pupil subcultures e.g. anti-school subculture
- Self-fulfilling prophecy
- Equality of opportunity
- Cultural capital
- Educational capital
- Social capital
- Economic capital
- Feminisation of education
- Masculinity crisis
- Material deprivation
- Cultural deprivation
- Elaborated versus restricted speech codes
- Particularistic standards versus universalistic standards
- Compensatory education
- Differential educational attainment
- Institutional racism
- Immediate versus deferred gratification
- Parental interest
- Educational triage
- Present versus future time orientation
- Teacher labelling
Common misconceptions or difficulties students may have
Most learners will be very familiar with a rather narrow range of educational institutions, based on their own experiences, so will need to learn to use a sociological imagination to understand the diversity of educational provision and the way in which the current system is socially constructed rather than inevitable. This topic also requires an understanding of left and right wing political ideologies. The level of political literacy within a group of learners is often very varied, so an introduction to the principles of left versus right wing political parties is likely to be of benefit. Learners may not be knowledgeable about the wider historical changes that lead to educational reform, so it may be necessary to build in time to discuss economic and social changes in the twentieth century that influenced educational changes.
Conceptual links to other areas of the specification – useful ways to approach this topic to set students up for topics later in the course
As this topic is most likely to be the last that learners study in the A-level, it provides a prime opportunity to reinforce many concepts and theoretical perspectives that were studied earlier in the course. For example, in Component 1 learners will have studied socialisation, and should be able to recognise that the education system is a key agent of secondary socialisation. Additionally, it would be useful for learners to create a mind-map before exploring the views of each theoretical perspective on the role of education to summarise prior knowledge of that perspective. This will allow learners to consolidate their knowledge of the key beliefs of each theory, and give them the opportunity to practise the skill of application by predicting how each theory would view education. Furthermore, learners will be able to use their knowledge of social inequalities from Component 2 to develop their understanding of the effects of social class, gender and ethnicity on educational attainment.
This task requires learners to read statements printed onto cards, and to determine which theoretical perspective is most likely to hold that particular view about the role of education. It is likely to be used as a consolidation activity, for example a starter for the lesson that follows the one in which learners cover theoretical views of the role of education.
This task can be differentiated: more able learners could attempt the task without being told the categories (i.e. the names of the theoretical perspectives) that the cards can be sorted into. Alternatively, these learners could undertake the task prior to studying this part of the topic, using their existing knowledge of theoretical perspectives from other components to predict what each perspective would consider the role of education to be. Less able learners could be given the additional cards with the category headings.
The task can be followed with a class discussion in which learners justify their categorisation. This could develop into a discussion of the similarities and differences of the perspectives.
This interactive worksheet is designed to be completed on the computer, rather than printed off and completed by hand. Learners use the weblinks to find the data required to complete the worksheet. This will form a summary page of the patterns and trends of educational inequalities in the UK.
Learners will benefit from using the following sources for this task:
- Social trends - Published by the Office for National Statistics, this document covers social trends in education and training (see ‘Social Trends 41 – Education and training (Pdf 217Kb). Of particular use is page 15 which has a graph showing pupils achieving five or more GCSE grades A* to C or equivalent by sex.
- Highest levels of qualifications across England and Wales - Infographic published by the Office for National Statistics with information on qualifications by sex, local authority and age
- Education attainment at 16 - Data and graphs published by The Poverty Site showing educational attainment at age 16 by ethnicity, eligibility for free school meals and region of the UK.
This task requires learners to explore the Millennium Development Goals regarding global education, and then assess whether these have been achieved by looking at maps and data. There is also a suggested video clip that can help learners to determine the causes of the global ‘gender apartheid’ in education. This research can then be presented in the form of a presentation or as a written document. This makes it suitable for individual, pair or group work.
Learners will benefit from using the following sources for this task:
- UNESCO World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education: Data published to show global and gender disparities enrolment in education. Several chapters are available, but this specific chapter covers primary education.
- Video on the ‘Girls’ education project in Tanzania’ on the website of the charity ‘Send My Friend to School’: This video describes the work of the Transforming Education for Girls Project’ in Tanzania. It is supported by ActionAid and funded by Comic Relief, and aims to combat many of the common reasons that families use for not sending their daughters to school.
In this task, learners read the article 'Educational achievement' from the BBC that discusses the educational achievement of ethnic minority students.
Once learners have read the article they are given a list of ‘answers’. The learners must then formulate questions that could lead to such answers.
Learners are given a worksheet with a list of factors that can be used to explain why, on average, children from working class families are less likely to succeed in education than children from middle class families.
The task is to colour-code the concepts to show whether they relate to inside or outside school factors and then add ‘S’, ‘M’ or ‘C’ next to each to show whether the concept relates to structural, material or cultural factors. There are also some additional tasks at the bottom of this worksheet that could be used as extension or differentiation. For example, students could be allocated different starting points in the activity, with the ‘Checking Your Knowledge’ activities perhaps more challenging than the coding one.
This task requires learners to read the definition of each type of school/educational institution, and then work out which type is being described.
The ‘types’ to choose from are at the bottom of the worksheet. Extra blank rows have been provided to allow learners to add in any additional types of school/educational institutions that they come across during their studies.
In this task, learners will watch a video clip which introduces them to Conservative/New Right ideas about raising standards in education. In this case, Michael Gove explaining how he wishes to make GCSEs more academically rigorous. Learners will then write down questions to test the rest of the class on the clip, or questions about things from the clip they don’t understand or want to know more about. The teacher should then use these questions to form a class discussion. If there are any questions that cannot be answered, allocate them to small groups of learners to research.
This task requires the learners to watch the ‘Michael Gove outlines 'formidable' school reforms’ clip from The Telegraph.
Extension: learners search for videos showing either:
a. social democratic influences on education e.g. Labour policies such as Education Maintenance Allowance
b. other New Right policies e.g. The Education Reform Act, 1988 or expansion of academies/free schools.
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