Sam.281
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Hi, I'm new here, and I'm a year 11 student studying the new 9-1 Sociology GCSE course. I have a few concerns with how the course is being taught, and I'd be very grateful if current/former GCSE sociology students could help me understanding this.

My main concerns are as follows:

- We seem to be covering the course slowly (it's almost January of year 11 and we still have parts of two units to finish. I'm not as worried about this as my next point since I can self-study at home with the revision guide.

- My teacher seems to be spending long amounts of time on very small sections of the syllabus, and in particular teaching us a lot of things we don't need to know. When I looked at some of the practice questions in the revision guide, there were some I just couldn't answer since we hadn't covered the topic, even though it was part of a unit we'd supposedly completed.

For example, my teacher tells us about at least 20 or so different key sociologists for each unit and tells us to learn them and what they did so we can use them in our exam. Specifically, in the Education unit, I made a flashcard set of about 27 sociologists (all the ones we talked about in lesson) because I assumed I'd need to know them.

However, when I looked in the revision guide for the unit, there were only around 6-7 sociologists/studies that were mentioned. I found this the same for each unit, with there only being a small proportion of the sociologists we were taught in lesson being mentioned in the revision guide.

At this point my suspicion grew and I looked at the specification for the subject (something I should have done a long time ago). Lo and behold, the only sociologists mentioned were the ones in the revision guide. This leads me to believe I don't need to know about these tens of excess sociologists our teacher has taught us, and that I wouldn't be credited in the exam for using them since they're outside the specification.

I have yet to talk to my teacher about these concerns, but I will probably do that when I return to school. I'm very concerned on behalf of the whole class since we're learning so many seeminly off-spec things like these sociologists, which will probably hold us all back in terms of revision and ultimately grades. Sociology isn't a subject I'm considering taking any further than GCSE, but I'd still like to get a good grade in it.

I'd be extremely grateful if anyone could shine some light on this and tell me if it's definitely a thing I need to talk to the teacher about, or if anyone else has been taught in a similar way regarding the sociologists covered. This is the first time my school has offered GCSE sociology (previously they only offered it at A-level) and also the first year the new course will be examined, so maybe my teacher is teaching the old specification or adding in A-level things unknowingly?

Thank you.
Last edited by Sam.281; 2 years ago
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elenasabu2003
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I think that isn't happening for everyone we only have one more topic to go through which is social stratification and then we have completed the whole course in time for our februrary mocks. Also heir aren't may sociologists hat you need to know off.It's probably a good idea to talk to your teacher about this
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bwilliams
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(Original post by Sam.281)
Hi, I'm new here, and I'm a year 11 student studying the new 9-1 Sociology GCSE course. I have a few concerns with how the course is being taught, and I'd be very grateful if current/former GCSE sociology students could help me understanding this.

My main concerns are as follows:

- We seem to be covering the course slowly (it's almost January of year 11 and we still have parts of two units to finish. I'm not as worried about this as my next point since I can self-study at home with the revision guide.

- My teacher seems to be spending long amounts of time on very small sections of the syllabus, and in particular teaching us a lot of things we don't need to know. When I looked at some of the practice questions in the revision guide, there were some I just couldn't answer since we hadn't covered the topic, even though it was part of a unit we'd supposedly completed.

For example, my teacher tells us about at least 20 or so different key sociologists for each unit and tells us to learn them and what they did so we can use them in our exam. Specifically, in the Education unit, I made a flashcard set of about 27 sociologists (all the ones we talked about in lesson) because I assumed I'd need to know them.

However, when I looked in the revision guide for the unit, there were only around 6-7 sociologists/studies that were mentioned. I found this the same for each unit, with there only being a small proportion of the sociologists we were taught in lesson being mentioned in the revision guide.

At this point my suspicion grew and I looked at the specification for the subject (something I should have done a long time ago). Lo and behold, the only sociologists mentioned were the ones in the revision guide. This leads me to believe I don't need to know about these tens of excess sociologists our teacher has taught us, and that I wouldn't be credited in the exam for using them since they're outside the specification.

I have yet to talk to my teacher about these concerns, but I will probably do that when I return to school. I'm very concerned on behalf of the whole class since we're learning so many seeminly off-spec things like these sociologists, which will probably hold us all back in terms of revision and ultimately grades. Sociology isn't a subject I'm considering taking any further than GCSE, but I'd still like to get a good grade in it.

I'd be extremely grateful if anyone could shine some light on this and tell me if it's definitely a thing I need to talk to the teacher about, or if anyone else has been taught in a similar way regarding the sociologists covered. This is the first time my school has offered GCSE sociology (previously they only offered it at A-level) and also the first year the new course will be examined, so maybe my teacher is teaching the old specification or adding in A-level things unknowingly?

Thank you.
Hi Sam

To address your first point - I wouldn't be worrying about course content just yet. Every teacher will teach differently and remember your teacher isn't a sociology God (I am assuming) and as you've already said, it is the first year for your school's GCSE Sociology and the exam itself. However, I don't know what two parts you have left to do so I can't say whether you should be at panic stations or not.

Your second point - It does sound like your teacher is putting A-Level stuff into the GCSE but I wouldn't argue that this is necessarily a bad thing to do. You certainly do not need to know 27 sociologists for the Education unit at GCSE. Is your teacher suggesting this? If so, definitely speak to them. However, what I think they may be doing is giving you extra information and although this isn't in your spec if you link other sociologists to your writing in the exam it will definitely award you credit.
Another thing, you do not need to know off by heart every sociologist your teacher has said. Your teacher’s job is to provide you with good quality sociology content, it sounds like they have. I would speak to them about which are the best to remember or perhaps ask them to do a lesson on the essential few. Your teacher won't know you're feeling like this unless you tell them.

To your point about the exam questions that you don't know the answer to - take these questions to your teacher or ask for help on the forum. It is likely that perhaps the wording of the question has thrown you off, but if it is missed content, showing your teacher will make them realise what they have missed.

If you need help cutting down your massive list of 27 sociologists, let me know and I'll try to help whittle them down for you.

Hope that helps and good luck with your GCSE.
Last edited by bwilliams; 2 years ago
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tehreem123
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Does anyone know what the grade boundaries are going to be like as it's a new spec, are they going to be relatively higher or lower than the last spec?
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Sam.281
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(Original post by tehreem123)
Does anyone know what the grade boundaries are going to be like as it's a new spec, are they going to be relatively higher or lower than the last spec?
No one can really say for sure, but usually when a new course/specification is introduced the boundaries are low to start with (since teachers have less experience teaching the course, less resources are available, etc.) and get higher as time goes on. I wouldn't try to make any comparisons to the previous course's boundaries though.
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tehreem123
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I really hope they're low, all the people in my class don't take sociology seriously so I guess they're lowering the grade boundaries for us all. But yeah, my teacher uses the old grade boundaries but makes them higher and grades our papers against them.

Also, you briefly need to know most the case studies but there are some that you need to know in detail. You can find those on the aqa website.
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