Sociology prepares one for a lifetime of change, developing one's appreciation of diversity, love of learning, writing and study skills, as well as a knowledge base about human behaviour, social organisation, and culture. The lessons are structured to enhance deep thinking and learning skills: applying, building and securing knowledge and understanding, application and explanation and evaluation. The course is designed to enable candidates to focus on their own experience of the social world, whilst encouraging them to build on this framework in order to analyse different aspects of contemporary society in a reflective, creative and innovative way. Sociology has proven to be a popular option subject and is reported to be excellent grounding for advanced study from our post 16 partners.
In year 9 & 10 candidates will study the AQA GCSE Sociology course
THE SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACH
Students must know and understand:
- debates within sociology including conflict versus consensus
- the contextualised work (a sense of time and place) of key classical sociologists Durkheim, Marx and Weber and different sociological perspectives on social structures, social processes and social issues, including those informed by: feminism, functionalism, interactionism, Marxism
- how to use sociological research methods as outlined in the topics and how they apply in the specified contexts ie families, education, crime and deviance, social stratification, socialisation, norms, values, roles, labelling, discrimination, power and authority
They should be able to critically analyse and evaluate how the issues have been interpreted by these sociologists. For each topic area students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of relevant methods and methodological issues, for example the use of official statistics, qualitative and quantitative approaches and the use of mixed methods. They will explore and debate contemporary social issues in order to be able to challenge everyday understandings of social phenomena from a sociological perspective. The knowledge, understanding and skills they develop will provide a basis for further study and career choices.
FUNCTIONS OF FAMILIES
Students will be able to compare and contrast a variety of sociological perspectives on the functions of families (functionalist, feminist, Marxist and New Right).
Students should aim to identify, describe and explain the functions of families (sexual, reproductive, economic and educational).
Students should be able to identify, describe and explain various family forms (nuclear, extended, reconstituted, lone parent, single sex).
Students will be able to describe and explain the domestic division of labour in both traditional and contemporary families, and demonstrate their understanding of issues that impact on conjugal role relationships within the contemporary family including decision making, money management, dual career families, child rearing and leisure activities.
ROLES AND FUNCTIONS OF EDUCATION
The functionalist perspective of Durkheim on education as the transmission of norms and values and Parsons on achieved status and the operation of schools on meritocratic principles. Students will be able to explained and analyse different views of the correspondence principle on the relationship between education and capitalism as developed from a Marxist perspective. Students will evaluate the work of Halsey on class-based inequalities and Ball on parental choice and competition between schools. Students will identify, describe and explain various processes within schools affecting educational achievement including, streaming, setting, mixed ability teaching, labelling and the self-fulfilling prophecy. Students will describe, compare and contrast a variety of sociological perspectives on these issues (interactionist, functionalist, feminist, Marxist and New Right).
CRIME AND DEVIANCE
Students will explore social construction of concepts of crime and deviance and explanations of crime and deviance. Students will focus on the work of Merton on the causes of crime from a functionalist perspective and Becker from an interactionist perspective. Students will identify, describe and explain various sociological explanations of crime and deviance including anomie, labelling, structural theories, subcultural theories and interactionist theory and explain the social construction of concepts of crime and deviance. Students will look into formal and informal methods of social control and the work of Heidensohn on female conformity in male dominated patriarchal societies. Students will describe, compare and contrast a variety of sociological perspectives on the use of data on crime (functionalist, feminist, Marxist and New Right).
Students will explore different views of the functionalist theory of social stratification. Students will explore the work of Davis and Moore on social stratification from a functionalist perspective. Students will identify, describe and explain factors affecting life chances including social class, gender, race and ethnicity, sexuality, age, disability, religion and belief. Students should be able to identify, describe and explain different interpretations of poverty as a social issue including, the culture of poverty, material deprivation, the way in which governments have attempted to alleviate poverty and unemployment, the impact of globalisation and describe, compare and contrast a variety of sociological perspectives on poverty (functionalist, feminist, Marxist and New Right).
SMSC IN SOCIOLOGY
Sociology provides students with an invaluable insight into the development of contemporary spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues. This specification offers opportunities which can contribute to an understanding of these issues in the following topics:
- spiritual issues are prevalent in the specification, although not applicable to any particular unit
- cultural issues are a central concern of Sociology and underpin the GCSE subject criteria for Sociology, which forms the basis of this specification. They arise, therefore, throughout the specification
- moral and social issues are also a central concern of Sociology and should be considered throughout courses based on the specification
- the ethical dimension of social research should be considered in the Investigating society subsection in AQA Sociology. Ethics are at the forefront of sociological enquiry and ethical issues arise whenever social research is carried out. The importance of adhering to ethical guidelines is emphasised in Unit B672: Socialisation, Culture and Identity
SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT IN SOCIOLOGY
Sociology promotes students Spiritual development and understanding by:
- Helping students develop self-knowledge including an awareness and understanding of their own beliefs, values and emotions.
- Developing a sense of empathy with others and understanding that human feelings and emotions affect people in different ways.
- Encouraging students to reflect e.g. through self-evaluation and target setting. Allowing students to express how they feel about a topic, piece of research, contemporary issue.
- Developing a respect for others beliefs, emotions and feelings.
- Enabling students to make connections between different aspects of their learning e.g. creating synoptic links in order to gain a holistic view of the subject.
- Encouraging students to develop their own thoughts, ideas and concerns and relate their learning to wider issues in society by asking key questions e.g Why? How? Where? What?
MORAL DEVELOPMENT IN SOCIOLOGY
Sociology promotes students’ Moral Development and understanding by:
- Developing students’ own decision making skills and encouraging them to think through the consequences of their own actions as well as analysing the decision making and consequences of others actions e.g. individuals and governments.
- Promoting students’ understanding of basic moral philosophy and skills of analysis, debate, judgment and application of contemporary issues.
- Highlighting measures to prevent discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and other criteria.
- Giving students opportunities to explore and develop moral concepts and values - for example fairness and respect.
- Encouraging respect for others and their views.
- Encouraging students to take responsibility for their actions e.g. respect for property, care of environment and develop a sense of ownership, including a sense of ownership and respect for the classroom, displays and departmental resources.
- Challenging students’ assumptions, stereotypes and prejudices.
- Considering the moral and ethical impact of Sociological research on participants and wider society.
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT IN SOCIOLOGY
Sociology promotes students’ Social Development and understanding by:
- Encouraging students to relate positively to one another and work effectively through collaborative learning tasks including group work, discussions, class presentations, sharing findings from research. These tasks develop inter-personal skills and encourage students to work cooperatively whilst sharing their views and opinions.
- Creating opportunities for students to take responsibility for their own learning which helps to develop enquiring minds e.g. through independent learning and extended reading tasks.
- Providing opportunities for students to exercise leadership and responsibility
- Creating a sense of community within the classroom with common inclusive values which ensure everyone irrespective of ethnic origin, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and religion; can flourish.
- Creating a classroom climate that stimulates excitement about learning e.g displays, Sociology in the news board.
- Celebrating success of good work through written and oral feedback and the wider school rewards system/celebration assemblies.
- Discussing the skills and personal qualities necessary for living and working together in society e.g. established norms and values, roles and responsibilities and what it means to be a citizen.
CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN SOCIOLOGY
Sociology promotes students’ Cultural Development and understanding by:
- Providing opportunities for students to acquire knowledge and insight into the values, influences and beliefs which shape their own culture.
- Providing opportunities for students to appreciate the diversity and richness of other cultures and respect other peoples’ values and beliefs.
- Addressing issues of discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and other criteria and promoting racial and other forms of equality.
- Encouraging personal cultural enrichment through wider reading of literature, newspapers and academic research as well as watching news broadcasts, documentaries and film.
- Studying cross cultural research and understanding differing values and beliefs.
- Studying our own society from different theoretical perspectives.
- Having awareness that students come from a range of cultural and social backgrounds and being sensitive to this when teaching and explaining material.
- Developing an informed awareness of and sensitivity of the ways of life, needs and problems of others e.g. through analysis of research into ethnicity, disability, ageing population etc.