The Trials and Tribulations of teaching GCSE Sociology

This academic year I have been given the unenviable task of teaching GCSE Sociology. If it was GCSE Psychology no problem. With Psychology I know the exact studies to use to keep them hooked and wanting more. My experience of Sociology is somewhat limited. Teaching GCSE is also like teaching a different species. Imagine a classroom of critical misbehaving OFSTED inspectors and you’re just about there. So it has been with great trepidation that I enter the classroom once a week to teach ‘the Family’ of all strange topics. I don’t know if it is made worse by the fact that I teach A2 Philosophy just beforehand that seems to accentuate the problem. I go from in depth arguments about Plato’s view of justice to arguments such as ‘cos it is in’it?’ How do you respond to that? This week I resigned myself to yet another battle of wits. What did I have in store? A documentary about children in Victorian Britain. A overly long powerpoint, which I use for control purposes, (though I ended up giving them a copy) and a series of pieces of paper with squares on so they could make a comic strip of the changes in children’s role over time. I debated whether to question them about last week’s lesson, fearing my depression if they hadn’t retained a word. To my surprise they could tell me all about Kibbutz and the cultural variations of single parent families. Stunned I knew that this success could only be short lived. However, the documentary was well received. They actually listened. For fifteen minutes they seemed vaguely interested and it took me all my will power not to leave it on for the full one hour and fifteen minutes. Now, for the overly long informative powerpoint. I read out key points and some actually took notes. I asked them what they thought of the Education Act and a set curriculum. A healthy debate ensued. They talked of the need for boundaries, the concept of adolescence. I actually began to enjoy myself. Ten minutes before the end of a series of debates I handed out the treat. The chance to design a comic strip. Five enthusiastically began to fill in the square, the rest of them looked at me blankly. I would not be defeated. This was surely an enjoyable exercise. ‘Come on then.’ I said to one lad who had enthusiastically debated throughout the lesson. He shook his head, as a father might shake his head at a child who had sorely disappointed him. ‘I don’t do drawing Miss.’ Oh well you can’t win them all!


~ by envisioningutopia on November 24, 2011.

One Response to “The Trials and Tribulations of teaching GCSE Sociology”

  1. Great post thanks. I really enjoyed it very much. You have a great blog here. Thanks again for sharing.

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