Sociology

The difficulty, in sociology, is to manage to think in a completely astonished and disconcerted way

about things you thought you had always understood.”

Pierre Bourdieu

 

Sociology at Kings Langley School

Ever wondered about the world around you? Ever questioned why we live as we live or why we organise our society as we do? Ever thought about how other people see you or how you see other people?

Sociology is the study of social relationships and institutions. It is a diverse subject, ranging from crime to religion, from the family to the state, from the divisions of race and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture, and from social stability to radical change in whole societies. Sociology can help us to make sense of the society we live in and understand the cultural and identity issues which affect us all. Its study involves developing skills including the use of evidence to support our arguments, how to investigate facts, and critical thinking. It is relevant to the society we live in and we aim to make its study exciting and illuminating to our students, encouraging both their curiosity and social responsibility.

Students develop knowledge and understanding about society and how sociologists study. The specification helps students understand society's structures, processes, and issues. Sociology is exciting, interesting and relevant to students' lives.

At Kings Langley School we study the AQA Sociology A Level specification which is very well respected and known for keeping up to date with sociological developments allowing students to develop a clear and valid understanding of Sociology. This helps many of our students as they progress on to further study and employment. Sociology A Level is an engaging and effective introduction to Sociology. Students will learn the fundamentals of the subject and develop skills valued by Higher Education (HE) and employers, including critical analysis, independent thinking, and research skills.

Assessment is in the form of written examinations which include a variety of types of question. Students are taught to develop the skills needed to be able to answer both short answer and extended writing/essay questions effectively, targeting the skills of knowledge and understanding, application and evaluation. Sociology appeals to a cross-section of students, regardless of whether they have prior knowledge of the subject. It builds on skills developed in the sciences and humanities, and enables progression into a wide range of other subjects and career paths in the criminal justice system, the police, social services, media or management.

Staff:

Mrs F O’Hanlon (Year 12 and 13)

Mrs H Pocklington (Year 12 and 13)

Curriculum Intent Objectives:

  • To build a Sociology curriculum which develops learning and results in the acquisition of rich sociological knowledge and skills.
  • To increase students' understanding of a range of attractive topic options, allowing them to experience an interesting, diverse, and coherent course of study.
  • To increase students' skills and understanding of approaches and methods related to the core areas of Sociology to enable students to engage in theoretical debate and to encourage an active involvement with an understanding of society and the research process.
  • To develop students' knowledge and skills of research methods to enable them to study social behaviour effectively in society.
  • To help students develop their sense of identity and social responsibility through learning about the world around them and the sociological approaches to understanding that world.

Implementation:

  • Students have full access to a knowledge rich Sociology curriculum which is differentiated to meet learning needs and styles.
  • Knowledge organisers are used to help students learn key syllabus content and re-call the meaning of subject specific vocabulary.
  • Informal and formal assessments providing opportunities for repetition to embed knowledge, increasing the chance of information recall and to integrate new knowledge into larger ideas. Regular class based tests and the two yearly formal examinations will require students to recall more knowledge.
  • Variety of teaching approaches so that students are engaged in the content of the curriculum and are encouraged to learn more.

Impact:

Key Stage Five

By the end of Key Stage 5 students will demonstrate a complex understanding of sociological theories for analysing society such as conflict theory (Marxism, feminism), functionalism, interpretivism and research methods. They will be able to analyse and evaluate theories of, and approaches to, the study of behaviour in society, including their practical application to examples of service provision, legislation or the functioning of institutions in society such as the family, the media, the criminal justice system and education. Students will be taught how to communicate their ideas effectively, learning exam techniques which will enable them to maximise their outcomes. They will be introduced to sociological terminology and vocabulary and taught how to develop their written responses to meet the expectations of the syllabus and its examinations.

Students should be able to identify and discuss different sociological perspectives and be able to apply their knowledge and understanding to the topic areas covered. They should evaluate ideas presented to them by identifying links and evidencing their ideas creating relevant, well-structured, and evidentially supported evaluations. They should understand how to use the viewpoints of different sociological perspectives critically and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the world have been arrived at. They should also be able to show their skills at sociological research and be able to apply these skills to potential research scenarios successfully.

Content Topics

Sociology is a consistently popular A Level option. Students successfully study the subject before frequently moving on to continue their studies in Sociology or related subjects such as Criminology, in Higher Education. We have opted to follow the AQA syllabus as it is both academically rigorous and accessible for our students. It also offers the study of a wide variety of interesting topic areas as well as developing the students’ understanding of sociological theory and methods.

Year 12

The first year is divided into the study of 3 main topic areas:

  • Education and Methods in Context.
  • Research Methods.
  • Families and Households.

The first year of the Sociology course covers areas familiar to the students. In studying Education and Families and Households they are challenged to examine aspects of the world around them whilst learning the skills of the Sociologist.

Families and Households forms a good introduction to the sociology course with students being expected to examine topics such as marriage, divorce, childhood, and the domestic division of labour from a new perspective. They are taught to be critical and evaluative in their analysis of the family and its construction. In studying Education, they are asked to question its role and function and examine what factors impact on educational achievement. Government policy and globalisation are examined so that students develop an understanding of the impact of education on wider society and to understand its importance in the construction of society.

Year 13

The second year of study is divided in to 3 main topic areas:

  • Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods.
  • Theory and Methods.
  • Optional topic: either the Media or Beliefs in Society.

The second year of the course expects students to apply their knowledge and skills as a sociologist to areas they may find less familiar. Crime and Deviance examines social order and control in society, looking at the patterns of crime and the different sociological explanations for these patterns. Surveillance, crime prevention, punishment, and the impact of globalisation on crime are all examined along with students developing an understanding of the role of the criminal justice system. Students will then move onto the study of either the Media or Beliefs in Society. Both topics help to widen the students understanding of factors which may influence the world around them. Both are dynamic and often controversial topics which helps students further develop their skills of critical evaluation.

Theory and Methods are revisited as part of the second year of study with students being expected to expand on their knowledge and understanding of sociological theory and research methods. The issues of investigating society in a scientific way will be examined and questions posed such as: ‘Is Sociology a science?’ and ‘Can sociology be value free?’

Key Stage 5 Sociology

AQA A Level Sociology – Linear course over 2 years.

Specification Code: 7191 (AS Level), 7192 (A Level)  AQA Sociology

University standard journal articles referred to will be available via the School Library’s subscription to JSTOR. Also AQA approved textbooks, detailed lesson content via power point and appropriate video material will be used to help students familiarize themselves with the major theories and concepts of psychology so that they can build a strong foundation from which they can excel in their undergraduate studies.

Students will sit three written papers, each 2 hours long.

Paper 1: Education with Theory and Methods (80 marks)

Paper 2: Topics in Sociology: Families and Households, The Media or Beliefs in Society (80 marks)

Paper 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods. (80 marks)

A Level Assessment Objectives

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Useful website links for parents:

AQA - Sociology

Sociology Study in the UK

What can I do with a Sociology Degree