Our vision is to foster engaged students who have a passion for learning about the individual, social and political spheres of our social world. I want students to develop into informed global citizens who are able to demonstrate respect and compassion for the diverse and changing society that they are members of. In turn I hope this will boost their feelings of self-worth and establish a deeper sense of purpose in the world.
The aim of the curriculum is to provide a knowledge rich curriculum but also to develop critical thinking in learners at Key Stage 4. Both subjects require collaborative debate and discussion in young people, as well as an appreciation for the diversity that exists within society. Therefore, a core intent is to develop in young people, the ability to present a well-articulated and reasoned judgement/argument on the many facets of social life. Purposely encouraging students to talk their ideas out loud grounds their internal dialogue and understanding of the social, psychological and political world.
Both subjects help to broaden students’ understanding of career prospects because they offer a unique and new route to learning at key stage 4 and beyond. Both subjects lend themselves to a transdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning due to the explicit links that the curriculum topics have to other national curriculum subjects. Sociological concepts often directly relate to history and citizenship and psychology has close ties to the sciences, in particularly biology. Research methods, a common theme in both subjects, requires analytical and scientific thinking and skills which are developed through practical research projects.
Application of the research methods and concepts delivered in sociology and psychology are further enhanced in students through a curriculum that places a large emphasis on demonstrating the understanding of their knowledge to real life scenarios and topical issues that exist within society at both a group and individual level.
The use of work booklets are being embedded for each unit of work and knowledge organisers are being utilised to inform half termly knowledge organiser tests. This helps to secure the vast wealth of specialist terminology that is crucial to successful outcomes at the end of key stage 4. The workbook contains a wide range of teaching and learning techniques. Do now tasks are based on recapping previous knowledge to secure the retrieval strength of memory and deliberate practise further enhances the storage strength of students’ memory. Frequent use of modelled answers and use of a visualizer helps learners of all abilities by sharing with them, exemplar examples that highlight appropriate use of language, clear and concise written structures and responses that are tailored to the requirements of the exam. Past exam questions are a regular feature of the planning cycle, and are used to enhance the examination skills in psychology and sociology from the beginning of year 10.
There is a clear focus on specifically planned speaking and discussion activities, which use the ‘habits of discussion’ framework to encourage students to use academic speech. The aim is for student discussion to act as a precursor for the follow up written tasks. However, writing frames may also be provided, especially for the lower starting point students, on extended written tasks. This helps to ensure students of all abilities are able to access the curriculum and make outstanding progress from their own individual starting point.
Secure knowledge and understanding will be demonstrated by students through the deliberate use of spaced practice which is planned for during the do now and plenary tasks. Termly summative assessments from knowledge organiser tests and past exam questions help to check the progress being made by student taking sociology and psychology. Evidence of improvement tasks, occurring every three weeks further highlight areas of the curriculum that may/may not have been secured by the students and enables teacher intervention for students who continue to have misconceptions on previous learning.
The carefully planned use of questioning at all points, during every lesson, helps to provide teacher confidence that individual students are ready to take the next step in their learning. Furthermore, mini whiteboard tasks are an integral part of the lessons in psychology and sociology and helps to ensure AFL remains a constant, strong and embedded part of every lesson.