The first activity suggested here is called ‘Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy’ – it’s a good starting point for an induction session because as well as getting everyone talking, it gets them to think about the important idea in Sociology of social change. You begin by asking the students. “How would a child born today experience the world differently than you have?” Working in pairs and then feeding back to the whole class, you’ll probably find that there are lots of comments about technology (and you might even want to tell them about your own pre-internet A-level days!). To dig a little deeper, as them to consider non-technological aspects too, e.g. family life, climate change, the economy and jobs.
There is a helpful template students can complete here:
Discover More Social Change Handout.pdf
or you could use this template as a starting point to create your own, possibly adding some changes in experience between your childhood and the students in your class. The aim of this activity is for students to appreciate that, as Sociology is looking at the study of society, society itself is ever-changing and so in terms of an academic discipline it’s pretty dynamic!
To look at little more deeply into what students will be learning about in Sociology, take a look at this 5 minute video:
As well as digging deeper into what Sociology is, it also references key thinkers including Auguste Comte and Emile Durkheim. It’s a good idea to pause the video every minute or so to try and draw out one or two key points from that section of the video as it’s surprisingly detailed for such a short clip. You could ask learners to bullet point one, two or three ‘learning points’ from what they have just seen – at the end using these learning points to write a short report on ‘What is Sociology?’.
In a further session, students could be shown Sam Richards’ ‘The wisdom of Sociology’ TedxLacador talk. In this talk, Richards talks about how the study of Sociology can be a life-changing experience as it teaches us to rethink our own problems as well as ourselves. We eventually come to realise that even in our loneliest moments, we are more connected that we realise:
Watching this talk could produce a useful springboard for the rest of the year as students and fellow teaching colleagues can be invited to give a Tedx talk of their own.