An Introductory Session for A-Level Sociology

A brief outline of how I introduce A-level sociology to students unfamiliar with the subject…

Last Updated on July 4, 2018 by Karl Thompson

A-level sociology is a new subject for most students as the vast majority have not studied it as a GCSE option. This means that most colleges and schools offering the subject will need to run some kind of ‘information session’ covering what A-level sociology is all about.

Below is an outline of the 25-30 minute ‘information session’ which I’ve used to introduce sociology to students for the last several years.

NB despite the fact that there’s a little ‘warm up quiz’ at the beginning, this isn’t a ‘teaching session’, or a ‘taster session’, these come before and after, this is more of a ‘here’s the information about the subject to get it clear in your head whether you’re choosing the right course for you’ session. 

  1. Intro Quiz

The questions have been selected to cover some of the topics we teach, I simply hand out a sheet with a few ‘pop questions’ – and it gets students talking to each other, and allows time for late-comers (if your ‘intro day’ is anything like my college’s quite a few students’ previous sessions overrun, or they get lost en route, so there’s lateness.

Sociology quiz.png

A section of the ‘pop questions’ I use…

  1. What is the current population of the United Kingdom?
  2. What percentages of marriages end in divorce in the UK?
  3. What percentage of children achieved 5 GCSEs grades A-C last year?
  4. Is the crime rate in Britain going up or down?
  5. In 1993 there were roughly 45 000 people in jail, what is the prison population today?

There’s actually eight questions in total, see the Word doc below for the full, and modifiable version!

2. Answers to intro quiz – on ppt

I Q and A through the answers, sometimes doing the old ‘hands up if you think crime is going down’ technique – which works great for that particular question when you get to congratulate the one or two people who got the ‘right answer’.

intro sociology quiz answers.png

This can actually take up to 15 minutes, as there’s plenty of scope to use Q and A to tease out most of the main themes in the A level sociology specification…. E.G. how do we actually know how many people are in the UK, where does the data come from? (At which point you get to smugly say ‘OK and where does Google get the information from’)

3. Lightening speed run through of the options we do 

A-level sociology content.png

NB – I’ve actually got further slides covering some of the main questions under most of the above headings, except methods, I’m supposed to be selling the subject at this stage!

4. Lip service mention of the skills required for A-level sociology

Skills for A-level sociology.png

NB – I could add on a slide about ‘careers’, but frankly, I was never worried about this when I chose my degree let alone my A-levels (although in my state grammar school as a non-science students I was pretty much limited to English Literature, Economics and History), and so I say give the kids a break!

And that, my friends is that!

Resources (gift to teachers, modify as you wish!)


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