Secondary Secondary Sociology

Secondary Sociology – Independent Learning: Student Choices

On the occasion when time from getting through the exam specifications allows, I like to give the students a lesson where they can do what they want. Well, not quite what they want, but instead a list of options to choose from. The students respond well from having choices even when their first choice (watch a video and leave early) are not on the list. A couple of years ago, I was concerned that in an attempt to meet assessment targets and with time constraints, my lessons were becoming too teacher led. I tried the lesson below and found that my students manage quite well without me!

This type of lesson works best when you have finished teaching a topic to review the content before moving on to something new. Students can work either independently or in small groups, they just have to show some evidence at the end of the lesson of their work. While I do not have computers in my classroom, I do have the benefit of teaching sixth formers who, at least legally, are old enough to leave the classroom and work unsupervised, but you could adapt the lesson for younger students. As students who are not working hard enough are restricted to the first three tasks on the list, it should motivate them in the future to get work completed to a good standard when they see others presented with more appealing options.

I give the students a handout with a list of activities as follows:

  1. Complete any outstanding homework.
  • Catch up on any missed class work due to absence.
  • Redo an unsatisfactory essay.(The above three tasks are compulsory, if none of them apply to you, or when you have finished them, choose one or two activities from the following. You will be required to show evidence of your work.)
  •  Go to the library, take out any book related to the topic which captures your interest, have a good read and be prepared to give a review of the book to the class in a future lesson.
  • Create a revision PowerPoint or web page for the topic. (E-mail me the work by the end of the lesson.)
  • Create a revision quiz using Zondle to test the class with next lesson.
  • Create some Wordles about the topic and stick them up on the wall. Wordle – Create
  • Make a mind map about the topic.
  • Write an essay plan from a list of exam questions relating to the topic.
  • Working in pairs, write a test for your partner about the topic then mark each other’s work.

Emily Painter
Sociology Teacher, Cadbury Sixth Form College

Collins Secondary

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