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Globalisation – problems and solutions (Economics)

15 November 2010 by shartley by esagor

This morning I tweeted my lesson plan:
@shhartley Econ lesson plan: Write ‘Globalisation’ at top of board. Then write on one side ‘Problems’ and on the other ‘Solutions’. See what happens.

It almost went to plan.  There was a glitch in rooming at the last minute so I moved my class of 11 students to our school’s Boardroom where there were no computers and the white board was resting against the wall on the floor.

I told them to imagine I had written ‘Globalisation’ at the top of the board and ‘Problems’ on one side and ‘Solutions’ on the other and that the rest was up to them.  The blank faces encouraged me to talk a little more so I said they could imagine they were a committee for an organisation like the WTO.  They had the work we’d been doing for the last 5 weeks, use it and their brains.  I asked them to pretend I wasn’t there.

Straight away one student naturally assumed leadership responsibility (he is a school captain) but with some input from others.  He appointed a scribe and suggested they list the problems and then divide into groups of 2-3 to arrive at solutions.  The problems listed were:
•    Division between the rich and the poor
•    Loss of culture
•    Protectionism
•    Environmental consequences
•    Human rights abuse

They divided the topics up and spent 20-25 minutes in their groups discussing solutions.  Then they regrouped and went through their solutions together with the scribe taking notes.  After 45 minutes (out of a 75 minute lesson) they felt it was all over and looked at me expectantly.

I complimented them on the way they had worked but they needed to provide more specific solutions.  They then spent another 15 minutes nutting out some of these as a whole group.

It was a comprehensive list (scan of my rough Notes).  They like governments providing incentives to modify behaviour of TNCs such as to reduce pollution, resist exploiting labour and maintain local cultures.  Overall the solutions were still over-simplified and superficial but at a reasonably appropriate level for the HSC.

However, the most useful part of the lesson was the way they worked together without my input, without computers and little use of textbooks.  They used their heads.  I conducted a time of debriefing to show how useful the exercise was and how the content they arrived at would help to respond to an array of HSC questions.  We discussed how it would have been different if we had been in our normal classroom of computers and smaller tables and chairs.  The consensus was that being around a board room table in big and important chairs helped the atmosphere and Google would have just provided a distraction through too much information and temptation to go to other websites.

It was a great way to conclude our topic on The Global Economy.

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