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Sociology’s Four Theoretical Perspectives: Structural-Functional, Social Conflict, Feminism & Symbolic Interactionism. Una lezione CLIL di Sociologia.

Di seguito viene proposta una lezione di Sociologia sulle quattro prospettive teoriche, utile per le classi in cui sono stati attivati dei percorsi CLIL in lingua inglese di Sociologia o di Scienze dell’Educazione.

Theories are an essential part of the framework used to organize specific social phenomena within the social sciences. This lesson introduces the four major theoretical perspectives in sociology, including structural-functional, social conflict, feminism, and symbolic interactionism.

The Importance Of Theory

When you were in junior high or high school and you ate lunch, did certain types of people sit at certain tables every day? Why do you think people tend to sort themselves into groups and stay with people they see as similar to themselves? If you have a guess as to why this happens, you could say that you have a theory regarding how social groups function. This lesson focuses on the importance of theory in the social sciences and the four main theoretical perspectives within sociology.

Let’s start with a definition. A theory is a statement of how and why processes work or the world operates. Within sociology, theories attempt to explain why groups of people choose to perform certain actions and how societies function or change in a certain way.

It’s important for social sciences, like psychology, economics, and sociology, to follow theoretical perspectives as a framework for understanding phenomena, such as the ways people form groups. Without theories, we’d just have a huge list of individual tendencies, or decisions people make, or types of people, but we wouldn’t have any way of organizing the field. Theories help us see overall themes across many specific types of behaviors or decisions in the social world.

This lesson will briefly cover the four major theories in sociology, which are structural-functional theory, social conflict theory, feminism, and symbolic interactionism theory.

Structural-Functional Theory

Our first theory is called structural-functional theory. This approach views society as a complex, but interconnected system, where each part works together as a functional whole. A metaphor for the structural-functional approach is the human body. You have arms, legs, a heart, a brain, and so on. Each individual body part has its own neurons and system for working, but each part has to work together for a fully-functioning structure, or system. What are the different structures, or systems, in society? You can probably think of the government, businesses, schools, and families. We need all of these systems to work together for a fully-functioning society.

To make each of our four theories more memorable, let’s think about each theory from the perspective of an example. We’ll use sports. How would you apply the structural-functional approach or theory to sports? Well, for any given team to be successful, it needs to have a bunch of working parts, each functional independently and cooperatively. I played soccer in high school, so think about soccer for a second. Of course you’ll have different positions on the team, such as the forwards, the fullbacks for defense, and the goalkeeper. But you also need the coach, the referees, and someone to pay for the equipment; and it wouldn’t be very fun to play without an audience. Each part has its own rules and systems. For example, the audience has to know when to cheer, how to purchase concessions, and where to sit. For the entire system to work, all of the individual parts need to work together. Structural-functional theory studies how each part of the larger social world works together.

Social Conflict

The second major theoretical perspective in sociology is called social conflict theory. This theory views society as a system of groups that are not equal, and therefore consistently generate conflict and change. Think back to that example from the beginning of the lesson with the different groups of students in school.

In my high school, the athletes might have conflicts with the people in band or the people who were in the math club. There was a popular group of kids who were sometimes mean to the less popular kids. When you think about this type of social conflict on a large scale, it explains unfortunate social trends such as racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, and so on, but the theory also predicts change. For example, in the 1960s, the United States saw a huge change in civil rights awarded to African Americans due to the political protests that highlighted the conflict between racial groups. While racism is still a problem in the United States, this social change helped the country make a lot of progress toward equality.

Hopefully, it’s easy to see how social conflict theory might be seen in our example of sports. Different teams will certainly conflict with each other as they compete for points, runs, or touchdowns. Actually, sports wouldn’t make any sense without some form of conflict or competition. Fans of the different teams will display their loyalty using things like hats or jerseys, and they might conflict with each other.

Going back to my favorite sport of soccer, the fans are famous for causing trouble when they’re upset. We even have the phrase ‘soccer hooligan’ or ‘football hooligan’ because of this tendency! Social conflict theory emphasizes how social conflict motivates people and societies to evolve over time.


Theory three out of four is feminism. Feminism is often misunderstood as coming from a group of angry women who are trying to dominate men. That is not what feminism is! Understood correctly, feminism is a perspective that views society as traditionally unequal between men and women and strives for equality between the sexes.

For example, you might have heard the fact that men and women, on average, are not paid equally in the United States. Studies show that even with the same education and job demands, women are only paid $0.77 for the same job where a man would be paid $1.00. Women are less represented in the government, women are less likely to be business owners, and women are less likely to be college professors.

Of course, there are also examples of places in society where men are disadvantaged. Men are less likely to be given custody of children after a divorce, and men are less likely to be hired for certain jobs such as elementary school teachers or flight attendants. Feminism, as a theory in sociology, tries to point out these inequalities and find solutions so that every situation is fair to everyone.

Again, think about how sports can be an example of the theory. What inequalities between men and women can you see in the athletic world? There are not very many professional sports available for women, unless you go to the Olympics. Many colleges don’t offer equal sports for men and women, even though the U.S. government declared inequalities to be unconstitutional many years ago. Even when there are teams for both sports, such as basketball, the women’s team usually doesn’t get very much attention or economic support from the college compared to the men’s team.

Symbolic Interactionism

The fourth and final theory in this lesson is symbolic interactionism. Symbolic interactionism views larger society as a byproduct of the interactions among millions of individuals. In other words, this theory focuses more on tiny groups of two or three people, talking to each other and interacting, and says that society is really just millions of these tiny groups occurring over time. So, why is it called ‘symbolic’ interactionism? Part of this theory is that through these interactions, people create symbols as ways to understand the world and shape our identities.

What’s an example of one of these symbols? Well, think about language. In English, the sound ‘kitchen’ symbolizes an area of a living space where food is stored and prepared for eating. Every language has a sound that symbolizes this space. That symbol had to be created for the first time at some point in history.

Another example is religious symbols. Think about a cross symbolizing Christianity, or a Star of David symbolizing Judaism. People often wear such symbols, such as necklaces, as a way of honoring their beliefs and projecting these beliefs to other people. Each time one person shows a symbol to another person in an interaction, we’ve established both steps in the symbolic interactionism theory of sociology.Let’s finish the lesson by going back to our example of sports one more time. What symbols are important in the world of sports? Well, every team in every sport will have some kind of symbol on their uniform, representing either their institution (such as a college or city) or possibly some kind of mascot, like an animal. These symbols are supposed to represent something about the team. A tiger mascot might represent the symbolic ferocity of a team, or an alligator might represent Florida because there are alligators in that state. Either way, the symbols you see in the world of sports become very meaningful to the people who follow the teams.

Lesson Summary

Theories are needed in social sciences to help us understand and organize ideas and findings. There are four main theories in sociology:

  1. Structural-functional theory – This theory is based on the idea that society is a large system that is dependent on its individual parts working together.
  2. Social conflict theory – This theory implies that society is based on small groups that have conflicts that help society to evolve or change.
  3. Feminism – This theory is based on the idea that there are inequalities based on gender and the practice of trying to fix those inequalities.
  4. Symbolic interactionism – This theory implies that society is really about the smaller groups within it and the symbols that these small groups use to communicate.

As we went through each theory, which one seemed like the most useful or interesting? If you were a sociologist, which theory would you study?


Modern Chalkboard: lezioni interattive per LIM SMART

Modern Chalkboard è un ricco archivio di risorse didattiche per LIM SMART.

In questa piattaforma potete trovare lezioni interattive dedicate a diverse discipline: matematica, grammatica inglese, scienze e studi sociali.


All’interno, inoltre, potrete reperire altre risorse come link e file di aiuto, sempre utilizzabili con lavagne interattive SMART. Con tutta probabilità a breve saranno inserite anche risorse per LIM Promethean.

Per poter utilizzare le lezioni su questo sito, è necessario disporre di una SMART Board ed un pc con installato il software Notebook (versione 9.5 o successiva).

I materiali presenti sono utilizzabili nella scuola primaria.

da http://www.robertosconocchini.it/

Mathematical Sets: Elements, Intersections & Unions. Una lezione di Matematica in inglese

Di seguito viene proposta una lezione di Matematica, utile per le classi in cui sono stati attivati dei percorsi CLIL di Matematica in lingua inglese.

Today we’re going to explore mathematical sets, which are surprisingly simple! Sets are just collections of any objects or concepts, also known as elements, that can be related to each other through union or intersection.

Understanding Sets

set is a collection of objects, and it doesn’t need to be a number!

This is the set of the clothes in my closet: C = {pants, t-shirt, skirt and dress}. The capital C represents the set. So, if I said set C, we know I’m talking about clothes in my closet. The braces, { }, denote the elements, or members of the set. The elements of set C are pants, t-shirt, skirt and dress.

You’re probably familiar with a set of real numbers: R = {…-3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3…}. The three dots indicate that the pattern continues. The elements of this group are all real numbers. So, R equals the set of real numbers.


To collect sets together, we use the term union. We unite the sets into one.

Let’s say I have two sets. Set A is green, blue and pink. Set B is orange, yellow and black. A u Brepresents the union of sets A and B. Yes, that u symbol represents union! It’s kind of handy! A u Brepresents all the elements that are listed in set A or in set B or in both. How would that look in using mathematical symbols? A u B = {green, blue, pink, orange, yellow, black}.


To find elements in common with sets, we use the term intersection. Think of the sets as two roads that meet at an intersection. What do the two roads, or sets, have in common?

Let’s say I have two sets. Set A is 4, 6 and 9. Set B is 7, 8 and 9. A intersect B represents the intersection of sets A and B. Yes, that upside down u represents intersection! This represents all the elements that are the same in A and B. How would that look in using mathematical symbols? A intersect B = {9}.

Lesson Review

Let’s review what we just talked about. A set is a bunch of objects. It could be numbers, letters, anything. To show a set, we always use a capital letter. To show the numbers, or the elements, of a set, they always go between theses braces, { }, or these curly-q parentheses. Union is when we unite things – when we’re going to put things together. So, A u B means that we’re going to put everything in A together with everything in B. Remember, intersection is where things are the same – where they intersect at. So, if I say A intersect B, what I’m looking for is any element, or number, that are common in A and B.



Vmarker: una lim economica a 150 euro

Using the Vmarker™ you transform your computer with projector into a interactive digital whiteboard. Using an IR-pen you can interact with software programs on the whiteboard.

With a Vmarker™ you are able to write with an IR pen on the whiteboard without actually writing with ink, thus virtual. Hence the name Vmarker™[vimarker], a shortening of virtual marker.

When you combine the Vmarker IR-sensor USB with the new Vmarker pen, thanks to the built in GYRO, you can actually control your IWB from a distance, from the back of the classroom.


Un mondo di città alla LIM

La scorsa settimana nella mia 3° stavo spiegando il capitolo di Geografia relativo agli insediamenti urbani del mondo e in particolare di megalopoli.
Così mi capita opportuno segnalare questo interessante servizio di Internazionale su “Un mondo di città”

Inoltre la sezione Atlante da cui è tratto “Un mondo di città” è ricca di stimolanti articoli corredati di cartine su vari aspetti di geografia mondiale e rappresenta un valido aiuto per lo studio dei vari aspetti della Geografia.

Le dieci regole d’oro per il laboratorio d’informatica

I laboratori d’informatica sono, spesso e volentieri, il selvaggio west della scuola italiana. Se non avete la fortuna di avere tra le vostre fila un responsabile molto presente o un tecnico vero e proprio che gestisca in maniera oculata il tutto, sicuramente vi sarete imbattuti in PC malfunzionanti, zeppi di files obsoleti che infestano il desktop, pieni di software (spesso anche dannoso) con tastiere e mouse sgangherati. Mi sembra già di vedervi annuire davanti allo schermo.

Per occuparsi di un laboratorio, anche di piccole dimensioni, serve tempo e molta pazienza, anche solo per annotare quello che non funziona e segnalarlo a chi di dovere (se poi siete come il sottoscritto e provate direttamente ad aggiustare le cose, allora probabilmente avreste bisogno di una giornata di 48 ore). Inutile scrivere regolamenti lunghi pagine, tanto né i colleghi, né soprattutto i ragazzi si fermeranno mai a leggerlo. Forse dovremmo stampare un solo foglio, con qualche immagine e delle brevissime istruzioni. Come questo qui sotto che ho preso da edudemic.com e che mi sono permesso di tradurre. Stampatelo ed appendetelo in bella vista: sono le dieci regole d’oro per rendere quantomeno vivibile il laboratorio d’informatica a scuola.


Cliccate, salvate e stampate!

In sostanza si chiede agli utenti di salvare spesso il loro lavoro e di farlo all’interno di cartelle che seguano un ordine logico (es. anno scolastico > classe > materia > alunno). Minacciate di cancellare tutto ciò che  giace abbandonato sul desktop e vedrete che pulizia! Assolutamente niente cibo e bevande per motivi di sicurezza, ma anche ordine nelle postazioni alla fine delle lezioni. Ed in Rete? Si naviga solo su siti sicuri, supervisionati dall’insegnante; si rispettano le opinioni degli altri; se ci si collega ad un qualche servizio (tipo l’email) ci si scollega sempre. Importantissimo: non si cambiano le impostazioni! Mettere una password amministratore evita un sacco di grane;  ma soprattuto spiegate ai ragazzi che lo sfondo del desktop non è un qualcosa che si cambia ogni cinque minuti e che possono metterne quanti vogliono, ma sul computer di casa. La carta poi costa, quindi si stampa solo se necessario ed in modalità risparmio. Ed infine la regola d’oro che sicuramente sarà apprezzata da tutti i colleghi: si lavora in silenzio. Dico bene oppure no?



Risorse didattiche per la lim nella primaria: Scienze


  • NOI E L’AMBIENTE – le attività degli alunni e degli insegnanti della scuola primaria statale Via Conforti di Rimini ( acqua, energia, luce, colori, animali….)
  • SCIENZE – per la scuola primaria
  • SCIENZE – l’origine della vita e molto altro
  • ENISCUOLA – video didattici, esperimenti in video, giochi, quiz

Rino Nella Storia, da Pianeta Scuola materiali interattivi

Rino nella storia – Pianeta Scuola

Rino nella storia è una risorsa interattiva per l’apprendimento della storia  per i bambini della scuola primaria.
Cinque personaggi rappresentano le grandi civiltà del passato : egizi, fenici, greci, romani, etruschi.
I bambini cliccando su ciascuno di essi viaggeranno nel tempo insieme a  Rino che , dopo una breve introduzione, li condurrà nell’ambiente storico da esplorare. Ogni argomento è arricchito da link che conducono alla linea del tempo, a giochi ed attività di laboratorio, a  schede da stampare e al glossario.

Trasformare un PC ed un proiettore in una LIM economica

Chi di noi si è occupato di acquisti tecnologici sa benissimo che le LIM, quelle all-in-onepronte all’uso, non sono sicuramente economiche. Generalmente è difficile scendere sotto i 1’000€ + IVA, a meno che non si vogliano fare grandi ordinazioni, o non si riceva un trattamento di favore.
Molte scuole, a questo punto, si sono trovate davanti alla scelta: rinunciare ed attendere momenti più favorevoli, oppure cercare un’alternativa?
Oggi mi voglio occupare di chi ha cercato un’altra via per avere la LIM in classe, spendendo poco, ma ottenendo (quasi) gli stessi risultati.

Nel 2007, grazie a Johnny Chung Lee, nacque la WiiLD (acronimo di Wiimote Lavagna Digitale), uno strumento tecnologico a basso costo in grado di emulare una LIM usando unWiimote, il controller della Wii, il famoso sistema di videogioco Nintendo. Quello di cui c’era bisogno per far funzionare la WiiLD erano:

  • PC
  • proiettore
  • wiimote remote controller
  • treppiede
  • chiavetta bluetooth, se non integrato nel computer
  • penna ad infrarossi
  • WiildOs installato su chiavetta USB

In sostanza il controller della Wii era in grado di captare i movimenti della penna ad infrarossi sulla lavagna, ovvero quello che generalmente fa una normalissima LIM.
Ecco qui due esempi di configurazione di una WiiLD:



Esaltante, non c’è che dire. Tuttavia il sistema WiiLD non era esente da problemi, legati più che altro all’ombraproiettata sulla superficie interattiva. Anche su http://wiildos.wikispaces.com, sito di riferimento italiano se volete documentarvi sull’argomento, riguardo alle criticità si legge:

Affinché il WiiMote rilevi la posizione della penna, è necessario che la “veda”, ovvero che sulla linea ideale che connette il sensore IR del WiiMote e la sorgente di luce IR (la penna) non si frappongano ostacoli. L’ostacolo primario è tipicamente il corpo della persona che usa la penna alla lavagna, soprattutto se è mancina.

Ora, tutti sappiamo che il cono d’ombra è un problema che affligge tutte le LIM che non montano proiettori a focale ultracorta, i quali invece sono molto vicini alla superficie dove proiettano. Nelle LIM commerciali però ci sono anche altri sistemi di rilevamento (sulla penna o sulla lavagna) che permettono comunque di scrivere, anche se ci mettiamo col corpo tra penna e proiettore, e questo aspetto non è da sottovalutare.

vmarker_production2Un passo in avanti è stato fatto conVmarker. Si tratta infatti di un sensore ad infrarossi che si collega al PC tramiteUSB. Se avete un PC ed un proiettore non vi servirà altro. Posto sopra al proiettore e grazie alla sue dimensioni ridotte, potrete anche creare una LIM  portatile, come nel video d’esempio che troverete qui di seguito. Funziona con tutti i principali software per lavagna interattiva e non necessita di nessun driver o programma dedicato (come la WiiLD). Corredato di una penna ad infrarossi funzionante con delle banalissime pile, Vmarker si è dimostrato molto reattivo (anche più di qualche LIM commerciale) e semplice da calibrare. Con un prezzo di circa 150€ diventa a tutti gli effetti la soluzione più economica e semplice per avere una LIM a basso costo in classe.
Anche in questo caso è bene ricordare il problema dei coni d’ombra, risolvibile con la retro-proiezione (a patto che si abbia molto spazio a disposizione).



Concludendo, suggerirei Vmarker nel caso in cui abbiate già un proiettore ed un PC da poter sfruttare, mentre nel caso in cui dobbiate comprare tutto il materiale hardware, probabilmente sarebbe opportuno orientarsi verso altre scelte, come i videoproiettori di ultima generazione che rendono interattiva qualsiasi superficie sulla quale proiettino, ed il cui costo si aggira intorno ai 900€ iva compresa, ma che presentano meno criticità e si avviano a diventare la soluzione più utilizzata nei prossimi anni.


QuizBean – Quickly Create and Distribute Online Quizzes

QuizBean (formerly known as QuizPoo) is nice platform for creating simple image-based quizzes that your students can complete online. The service recently received some updates that teachers will appreciate. First, you can now add more than two answer choices to each question. Second, you can now assign quizzes to students on a class-by-class or individual basis. Third, quiz results are automatically sent to your teacher dashboard when students have completed a quiz.

Try my sample QuizBean quiz to get a better sense of how students will see a quiz that you distribute to them. .

Applications for Education
One of the things that I like about QuizBean is that students get immediate feedback on each question that they answer. Before moving to the next question students are told if they got the previous question right or wrong. The new option of having your students’ results sent directly to your dashboard will save you a lot of time grading quizzes. The option to include pictures makes QuizBean a good platform for asking questions that include diagrams and equations.