The course diagram illustrates the central concern of Society and Culture – how persons are shaped by their societies and culture, within different environments, across time.
Example – when discussing sociological theories of the family, students would be invited to relate these theories to their own family and the families they know about through personal experience
Common to link the cross-cultural study with the year 12 Core – Social and Cultural Continuity and Change
Narrow PIP topics allow students to really go into detail and be highly analytical. For example, a PIP that looked at how the internet is changing the way people interact is very broad. It could be narrowed down to looking at the effects of Second Life on ‘real world’ identity.
Excel – too hard most of the time Problem with text books – most teachers will want to create their own cross cultural studies, and develop their own focus studies for the Depth Study topics, so textbooks have limited utility
What is Society and Culture? Jodi Arrow, Vice PresidentSociety and Culture Association
What Is Society and Culture? 2 Unit Stage 6 Course, since 1983 HSC External Assessment – 2 hour exam (60%) and Personal Interest Project (40%) About 4000 students per year – 400 schools Multidisciplinary course drawing from sociology, anthropology, communication, cultural studies, media studies, philosophy, psychology and social ecology NOT General Studies!
The Nature of the Course The study of the interaction of persons, societies, cultures and environments across time Enables students to develop an understanding of: Themselves Their own society and culture The societies and cultures of others Conceptually based course that fosters skills of independent thinking and research to develop the qualities of effective citizenship
Objectives of the Course Knowledge and Understanding Identity, cultures, interaction of the concepts across time Continuity and change and research methodologies Skills Conduct social and cultural research Communication Values and Attitudes Social justice, intercultural understanding Informed and active citizenship Ethical research practices Lifelong learning
The Role of the Concepts Tools for organising and understanding the content Fundamental course concepts are persons, society, culture, environment and time Four other basic concepts: gender, power, authority and technology Concepts are the metalanguage of Society and Culture Highly abstract and conceptual course – challenging for less able students
Micro/Macro Central concern of the course Synthesis of personal experience and public knowledge of the micro and macro worlds Important that students can relate the reading they do in class to their own personal experience Validates and values students’ own personal experiences, and everyone has something to contribute However, important that students don’t just ‘tell stories’ about their own lives, and reach a synthesis of the two
Social and Cultural Literacy Another central aim of the course, the development of Social and Cultural Literacy Reflection of the values and attitudes objectives Not directly assessed, but essential for achievement of the aims of the course and underpin the content Central premise: the demonstration of cultural relativism and overcoming ethnocentrism Making better citizens!
Research Methodologies Key component of the course; separates Society and Culture from most other Stage 6 subjects Students not only learn the theory of conducting research, they become field researchers themselves Research methodologies employed in all sections of the course, most notably in the Personal Interest Project Develop skills in planning, applying and analysing primary research instruments
Ethical Research Students are expected to conduct research ethically – applies to primary and secondary research Gaining participant consent and maintaining confidentiality Critical awareness of the students’ own bias/perspective Not conducting research that poses a threat to the participant or student, or school or wider community Not conducting research that places the student at risk Main ethical concern in recent years – proliferation of uncritical online research (eg, surveys on facebook!)
Preliminary Course – Year 11 120 indicative hours The Social and Cultural World – 20% of course time Personal and Social Identity – 40% of course time Intercultural Communication – 40% of course time
The Social and Cultural World Introduction to the course Interaction between the concepts of persons, societies, cultures, environments and time; and gender, power, authority and technology Introduction to the process of research Cross-cultural study – compare Australian culture with an overseas culture Amish, Maasai – popular cross cultural studies
Personal and Social Identity Socialisation, development and coming of age of individuals in a variety of social and cultural settings The process of socialisation, growing up and coming of age Theories of development – Maslow, Piaget, Erikson, Kohlberg Adolescent development and influences on development Rites of passage and coming of age in different cultures Cross-cultural study within Australia – Yolgnu popular, using the films Yolgnu Boy and/or Ten Canoes
Intercultural Communication How to facilitate better communication across cultures in different parts of the world Communication – effectiveness, role of gender, class and status, verbal and non-verbal communication Role of communication in maintaining social control Intercultural Understanding – using a comparison with another country How to recognise and deal with intercultural misunderstanding Popular cross-cultural studies include Bali, Japan, Vietnam, India, China
HSC Course – Year 12 Core Personal Interest Project – 30% of course time Social and Cultural Continuity and Change – 30% of course time Depth Studies – TWO of the following – 20% of course time EACH Popular Culture Belief Systems Equality and Difference Work and Leisure
Social and Cultural Continuity and Change 20 of the 60 marks in the HSC exam Process of research and research methodologies The Nature of Social and Cultural continuity and change Detailed country study of continuity and change Applying theories of social change – usually Functionalism, Conflict Theory and/or Evolutionary Theory Applying methodologies for hypothesising about the future Popular country studies – Japan, India, Vietnam, China Examined using objective response & short-answer questions
Depth Studies Two sections in the exam – either answer a question in parts OR an extended response If answer Question in parts for Depth Study A, must attempt extended response for Depth Study B Each to the value of 20 marks, spend approximately 40-45 minutes on each section Expected length of response of approximately 800 words Changes to the exam after 2008 consultation on the role of the PIP in assessment
Depth Studies Can appear deceptively simple, especially Popular Culture and Belief Systems For students to achieve, they must ensure that they are combining personal experience with public knowledge It is not sufficient to just ‘tell stories’ about their own belief system etc Importance of valid and credible secondary research Emphasis is on specific examples, evidence to support and application of course concepts
Personal Interest Project Often the most challenging but also rewarding part of the course for students Develops independent research skills Students become experts in their field Excellent preparation for university Externally assessed – marked by the Board of Studies corporate marking process out of 30 Best PIPs from each year collected in the State Library
What is the PIP? Approximately 5500 word project, externally marked Must be personal – a topic of a student’s own choice (within reason) Must be related to the Society and Culture course Must demonstrate the synthesis of personal experience with public knowledge Based predominately on primary research methodologies Must include a perspective different to the student’s own – a cross-cultural component, and a continuity and change component
Topic Choice Students must choose their topic in conference with their teacher Must avoid topics that are unethical or have the potential to be too controversial – must discuss with Principal Something they are interested in (or personally affected by) which has a clear relation to the course Should be original in either topic choice, execution or analysis Narrow is better – allows for more depth Students should seek to explain why a phenomena occurs rather than simply describing it
Examples of Topics Some of the prize-winning PIPs from 2011 HSC: ‘Rise of the Tiger Cubs’ ‘Gaga vs Gillard: the Rise of Raunch Culture and the Demise of Female Political Identity’ ‘Sikh Gender Roles’ Quality over Quantity: ‘Only Children’ in Society List of all prizewinners at www.scansw.com.au Popular topics often come from: issues of identity, belief system, forms of popular culture, subcultures, racial issues & multiculturalism, body image
Components of the PIP Must demonstrate consistent application of course concepts Must be clearly communicated Methodologies must be applied ethically and consistently, and should be appropriate to the topic Students need to demonstrate awareness of the limitations of their work and analyse their own process All subject matter should be clearly relevant
Research for the PIP Secondary research crucial for fulfilling the ‘public knowledge’ component Trend towards students using the internet (including Wikipedia!) as their main source of information Should be relying upon books & academic journals (Sociology, Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Media Studies) Students still plagiarise, especially from the internet, in spite of the All My Own Work requirements
Primary Research Students must conduct a range of primary research methodologies Generally, 4-5 is a good number of methodologies – must be manageable, but demonstrate their skills Questionnaires are popular – should be conducted in paper form or in a controlled online environment (eg, Survey Monkey), sample size of at least 50 Interviews and focus groups – libraries can be useful sites to conduct these All methodologies must be reliably recorded
Issues with Research Content Analysis – confused with secondary research Observation – not adequately recorded or implemented correctly Use of the Internet Interviews over email or on MSN Surveys conducted on online forums like www.boredofstudies.com Focus groups – as above
How Can Libraries Help? Access to online databases and journals Provision of basic sociology books, like Sociology Australia by Bessant & Watts (1st year University level is perfect) Wide range of books/journals on contemporary social issues, especially regarding Australia Wide range of periodicals – Guardian, New Internationalist Gently steer students towards genuine, face-to-face primary research and away from online focus groups or questionnaires!
How Can the Association Help? Our journal, Culturescope – 3 editions per year, resources, articles and teaching strategies The ‘Best of’ Culturescope series – $20-$30 each, one for each Preliminary and HSC topic (although these will be updated soon) Our website – www.scansw.com.au Details for membership, Culturescope resources, extracts from past Prize-winning PIPs Dear Pippa – firstname.lastname@example.org - Advice line for students and teachers
Other Helpful Resources Heinemann Society and Culture (2nd Edn), by Bernie Howitt & Robin Julian, Heinemann, 2009 Society and Culture Preliminary and HSC, by Leaver et al, Thomson, 2007 Society and Culture, by Fleming & Fleming, Excel