“Can we watch a video miss?” A fairly common request in my lessons that really means “I want to get out of doing any work today”. The students have a point. Sometimes. We all need the occasional break in the lesson, especially they teachers. Short video clips can provide very useful examples for illustrating more abstract sociological concepts.
As you are reading this blog, you have probably been using YouTube in your lessons for years; surely schools will have lifted their blanket ban on YouTube by now? (If not, referring to the views of an e learning “guru”/ expensive consultant might help convince people of the educational benefits).
I have hundreds of YouTube clips saved in my favourites. (What did we do before YouTube? Teach probably.) Sift through the finger biting babies and hippo regurgitating snakes (a must see) and you will find some Sociological gems. There is also a lot of rubbish too, (not the snake, you need to watch it) my students can testify this as they have, on occasion, included a video clip in their presentations that they clearly had not previously watched. They then stand at the front of the class, shame faced, while trying to explain the significance of a clip which is at best irrelevant, or at worst, entirely inappropriate. A YouTube warning there.
What follows is a list of my favourite Sociology clips at the moment in no particular order:
- Poor Kids – YouTube – An excellent BBC documentary that opens with the line that the gap between the rich and poor is wider now than at any time since the end of World War Two. The documentary follows the lives of four British children growing up below the poverty line. Very useful for social class inequality and a refreshing anecdote to the “benefit scroungers” rhetoric.
- 7 Up Series Documentary 1964 Part 1 – YouTube – A classic documentary. The 7 Up series is the longest running documentary still on television. Every seven years Apted and his team revisit the same group of children to see how their lives have changed. The ‘children’ are now in their fifties. Excellent for social class and research methods (Longitudinal research)
- WHS – sociology video one, ‘Unequal opportunities’ – YouTube – This 2011 documentary with John Humphreys shows how wide the class gap still is in education today. Very useful for recent trends in education and social class.
- The Family – 4oD – Channel 4 – A funny and insightful documentary highlighting changes between the first and second generation South Asian in Britain. Useful for family and cultural diversity.
- Going For An English – YouTube – Goodness Gracious Me was a brilliant comedy sketch show which parodied stereotypes about British Asians. Excellent for teaching Ethnicity.
- Who gets the best jobs part 1 – YouTube – An interesting documentary which illustrates the lack of social mobility our generation of students are potentially facing. Excellent for an education module, but also wider inequalities.
- Enoch Powell: British Hero Part 1 – YouTube – A fascinating analysis of one of the most controversial speeches in recent British history: Rivers of Blood. Very useful for ethnicity. (I would recommend discussing the questionable source of this YouTube video with your students).
- Race and Intelligence: Science’s Last Taboo – Part 6 – YouTube – An excellent Channel 4 documentary which busts myths about race and intelligence. Useful for an education module.
- David Starkey On Newsnight – YouTube – An interesting and very controversial debate about last summer’s riots. Useful for crime and deviance, racism and youth culture.
- Dove evolution – YouTube – Reveals the realities of Photoshop. Useful for social constructions of beauty within the topic of gender and the media.