The Sociology Department at Dene Magna aims to educate students about various perspectives on society with a focus on education, families, crime and media. Sociology highlights the value of having knowledge about society and the interactions that happen within it. By the end of year 13, our sociologists have the knowledge and skills to reflect on society from the perspectives of others whilst also developing their own personal ideas about the world. The subject facilitates the development of skills in analysis and evaluation. As a social science, the subject is designed to teach students critical evaluative skills when undertaking their own research and when considering the research of others.
Studying the sociology of education allows students to reflect on their own experiences whilst learning to develop arguments based on evidence. As the students embark on the topic they begin to apply the perspectives of different sociologists whilst exploring identity, culture, socialisation and differentiation: the key threads which then run throughout the A level course. The media and families topics are popular with our students because they are able to apply the knowledge to their own lives, this, in turn, enables them to critically evaluate. This ability to apply the A-Level course to the student experience is what makes the course so engaging.
Students are very interested in the Crime and Deviance topic in year 13 as it provides an excellent foundation of knowledge and skills for students to pursue further academic studies in Sociology, Psychology and/or Criminology. The skills our Sociologists learn are not just for the final assessment grade; they are learning to explore and understand the society they live in, learning about people from different cultures and backgrounds as well as deepening their understanding of the institutions that regulate and influence our society and our behaviour.
Students are encouraged to trial different ways of note-taking to discover the most effective method for learning and knowledge retrieval.
Sociology supports students in undertaking independent research which provides a foundation for further academic study. The teaching and learning strategies used by the Sociology department allow students to be supported in their learning whilst developing independence and initiative. From the start of year, 12 students are encouraged to find a learning routine that suits them. Sociology students are guided in what to complete during iStudy sessions so that they can develop their knowledge and understanding in a well-organised routine. This also supports students in developing their time management and organisational skills.
The department ensures that the Google Classroom is updated regularly. This allows students to access resources during iStudy and also means that any absent students can easily access any missed learning.
The topics explored and the teaching and learning strategies implemented by the department allow Dene Magna sixth formers to reach their full potential and enjoy the process.
As a department, we know that our teaching and learning strategies are making a difference. This was evident in our 2021 centre assessed grades. There were two A* grades awarded within the cohort. Whilst collating evidence for centre assessed grades it was clear to see that the class had made progress over the 18 months. The progress of our sociologists in all year groups can be attributed to a combination of factors; teaching and learning strategies and the attitude to learning of our sociologists. Firstly, the teaching and learning strategies of the Sociology Department. All three teachers have at least two subject specialisms which means that we bring a variety of pedagogical approaches to our teaching. This combination of approaches leads to a rich curriculum delivery that engages and motivates our sociologists to have an excellent attitude to learning and achievement. Our students’ positive attitudes to learning are further expressed by the choice of sociology or related disciplines such as criminology and education as University degrees, with a number of recent leavers choosing to take their learning further. This is echoed in some emerging choices from the current Year 13.