Get Summer 2014 Right First Time with tutor2u Exam Coaching & Revision Workshops
Our Wow Economics teacher CPD event is continuing its tour of the country with events planned for Edinburgh (7th January) and Cardiff (10th January) in the New Year.
If you've never attended a Wow Economics event before you are missing out on a day of high-quality teaching resources and a chance to network with other passionate teachers.read more...»
The Tutor2u slideshare channel has just notched up over a million hits and we continue to add new resources each week. Here is the link to the site.
Update: new dates added for Edinburgh (7 Jan 2014) and Cardiff 10 Jan 2014)
WOW! Economics has quickly become the leading CPD course for teachers of A Level Economics, IB Economics and equivalent qualifications. Over 350 Economics teachers attended WOW! Economics 2013 taking away with them over 40 teaching resources and the feedback was that they wanted more WOW! Econ!
WOW! Economics 2014 returns with another resource-packed day with all-new teaching & learning resources. Our team of Economics contributors simply love their subject and they've excelled themselves yet again! There are 51 brand-new teaching activities for delegates attending each of the WOW Economics days. A full listing of the materials is provided below together with a few screen shots!
The hyped-up birth of the new Royal baby, Prince George, has brought the fashionista mums and mums-to-be out in force as they try to emulate the clothes and accessories accompanying the nation’s favourite baby and his trend-setting mother. According to a recent study by babycentre.com UK’s branch, just under half of all new mothers said they had bought more luxury items for their babies than themselves, and that on average, one third of parents had already spent over £6000 on their little bundles before they were 6 months old.read more...»
Ed Miliband’s promise at the Labour Party conference to cap energy prices for 20 months if Labour were to win the next election, has raised many questions about what we pay for domestic energy, how it compares with other countries, and what the energy companies do with their profits. Pondering those points has led me to an over-riding question, which is whether the price paid by consumers is really the most important issue for government intervention in the energy market.read more...»
The Edinburgh Fringe is widely regarded as one of the world’s biggest launchpads for new creative arts talent. Artists whose careers have taken off at the Fringe have commented recently, however, that up-andcoming performers are being priced out of the market as oligopoly power has started to bite.read more...»
It is a normal rule of thumb that the volume of world trade tends to grow at double the rate of growth of world GDP. Between 1990 and 2008 global real GDP expanded at an average annual rate of growth of 3.2% while world trade volume grew at an average of growth of 6%. However, in the last two years world trade volume has risen by 4.8 per cent while real GDP has risen by only 4.0 percent. If the normal 2:1 ratio had applied, trade growth would have been about 3.2 per cent higher. The slowdown in the growth of world trade can be partly explained by the economic difficulties in the euro zone in 2012 and more latterly in the BRIC economies. In addition there has been a growth in protectionism since the start of the economic crisis in 2008.read more...»
Although A level specifications have not changed for some years the introduction of quantitative easing (QE) programmes by central banks such as the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve in the US has meant that A level students have had to become familiar with it as an instrument of monetary policy. With short term interest rates almost at zero and banks still very risk averse, the monetary authorities have in recent years embarked on QE in an attempt to inject liquidity into the financial system to boost lending in recession hit economies.read more...»
In early August this year fast-food workers across the US staged a walkout in protest about their levels of pay – they were demanding an increase from $7.25 (Federal Minimum Wage) to $15 an hour. Under the current minimum wage a worker’s income is $15,000 per annum which is below poverty level pay. Although the minimum wage has increased it is still below its peak in 1968 when it was worth approximately $10.70 an hour in today’s dollars. As well as the low pay, workers in the fast food industry get few benefits and also prospects for full-time work are limited. Add to that a weak job market and ultimately bargaining position, the prospects for these workers look bleak. Although this low pay has been prevalent for many years why is it that is has become such a political issue?read more...»
There have been many more headlines suggesting the UK’s economic recovery has begun to ‘take hold’, with recent quarterly GDP statistics showing a 0.8% increase, that heralds a full three quarters of positive growth! However, it is difficult for the ordinary hard-working household to get too excited, as the purchasing power of their income continues to be well and truly squeezed.read more...»
The summer of 2013 saw strong reviews for the Bristol Old Vic’s theatre company’s production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, in which an actor called David Ricardo Pearce played Oberon.read more...»
China’s government wants its economy to grow more sustainably. Currently, the Chinese economy is growing at a rate of 7.8% in the period July to September, compared to 7.5% in the previous quarter. However, this is significantly lower than the high and unsustainable rates of growth that the Chinese economy experienced over the last decade. The Chinese government have set a target growth rate of 7.5% over the next year and analysts believe that this will be achieved.read more...»
The Selfish Giant is a contemporary fable about two teenage boys who get caught up in the world of copper theft - powerful performances, set in West Yorkshire and an unforgettable story about growing up. Reviewed here in the Guardian.
"They don't go to secondary school – they go out scrapping with horses and carts, and make a living from collecting metal. It may seem like a whimsical idea, but it's fact. And it's very important that people understand that the landscape of the film is really there, is really happening."read more...»
The dates and locations for our popular programme of exam technique coaching & revision workshops to prepare AS & A2 Economics students for exams in May & June 2014. The details are listed below together with important information about changes in way that bookings are processed.
Please note that for summer 2014 we are taking confirmed bookings only. Places are allocated on a strictly first-confirmed basis. Once each screen capacity is filled, the event is full and no further bookings can be accepted. Our overall capacity is lower than in previous years and we fully expect each workshop to be fully booked before the Christmas break - so please contact us early to ensure that your students can attend!read more...»
Robert Nutter examines the use of "forward guidance" as a relatively new part of monetary policy in this recent article from econoMAX:read more...»
In this recent econoMAX article, Ruth Tarrant explains that there may be light at the end of gloomy economic tunnel that the UK has been trapped in for the past 5 years thanks to tentatively rising consumer confidence.read more...»
In this recent econoMAX article, Ruth Tarrant wonders what Adam Smith would make of Greggs and discount retailers in his home city...read more...»
Here are some recent articles focusing on economic and management issues connected to a world of change - be it revolutionary or incremental. Do keep reading the analysis and comment sections of quality newspapers to deepen your understanding and contextual awareness.read more...»
China’s track record on using its currency as a tool for manipulating its international competitiveness has been well documented, especially during the period of 1995-2005, where it was pegged at 8.28 RMB to the USD.
However, adopting such strict policies on the exchange rate, leads to the Impossible Trinity / Trilemma - that is, that it is not possible for a country to have all three of the following at the same time:
- A fixed exchange rate
- Free movement of capital
- An independent monetary policy
One of my AS economists, Hordern Farr writes in this blog about his experiences at the Brown Summer School in the United States - a course taken after the GCSE exams had finished.read more...»
I've noticed recently that quite a few colleagues are using the free software program TARSIA to create engaging classroom activities for their economics students. indeed TARSIA-inspired resources are likely to feature in the autumn series of WOW Economics events that are fast filling up - details here.
TARSIA is quick to download and intuitive to use, you will be up and running in just a few minutes. Here is one that I have put together for my AS macro group covering some of the concepts covered in the first two weeks of the course. One colleague at another school tweeted to me "Just done my own version - looks great. Prints off on A4 but I've photocopied up to A3 and laminate - it looks ace!"
If you have a chance, download TARSIA and give it a go!
Here is another ready-to-use edition of Focus Circle which provides an engaging way to teach factor inputs.
We've provided a selection of factor inputs for students to consider - which of the four categories do they belong to - and why?
The four categories to consider are:
Natural resources | Labour | Capital | Intermediate products
Which category of factor inputs would the following go?
Deposits of shale gas | Apps on an iPad | A water treatment plant | Cash (notes and coins)
Can students identify some other examples to go into the chosen Focus Circle?read more...»
The Focus Circle is quickly becoming one of our most popular teaching & learning activities and here is a version that comes ready-made for a lesson macroeconomic policy.
In the Focus Circle, students are shown up to 4 topic areas (categories) inside. Around the Focus Circle are up to 18 words/ phrases which belong to one or more of the different categories. Students select 1 of the topic areas and decide which of the key words/ phrases belong inside the Focus Circle (words that are specifically related to that topic area).
So, is currency intervention a supply-side policy? Is "forward guidance" part of fiscal or monetary policy? Can your students define the words or phrases they select? Can they provide an example to back-up their selection.
The possibilities for an engaging and effective lesson are endless...read more...»
Here is a great starter activity created by WOW Economics Team member Ruth Tarrant that gets students thinking about what can happen at each stage of the economic cycle.read more...»
Here is a selection of enrichment reading published in recent days and selected for student economists who want to deepen their understanding of the subject
Is technological progress a thing of the past? (Joel Mokyr) - click here
Scarcity - It Captures Your Mind (Cass Sunstein) - click here
How a 1930s theory explains the economics of the internet (John Naughton, The Guardian) - click here
Raghuram Rajan: the challenge facing India's Ben Bernanke (Heidi Moore, Observer) - click here
The BRICs party is over (Anders Åslund) - click here
Why Keynes wouldn’t have too rosy a view of our economic future (Mike Konczal) - click here
Here are some examples of iPad/smartphone apps that I have seen working well in different schools in recent months – all are free, some have paid-for “professional versions” as is the way in our Freemium world! Please suggest / recommend some more by leaving a comment below and I will add them to this blog entry with an appropriate hat-tip!read more...»
A date for your diaries as we enter the new academic year. Our popular Economics Teacher National Conference takes place on Monday 23 June 2014 at the superb Wellcome Collection Auditorium on Euston Road in Central London.
This is the leading enrichment CPD event for Economics teachers in the UK and always attracts a good number of teaching colleagues from further afield too!read more...»
Over the last five years an independent record shop has closed in the UK every three days. Sound It Out is the very last surviving vinyl record shop in North East England. A cultural haven in one of the poorest areas in the UK, the film documents a place that is thriving against the odds and the local community that keeps it alive.read more...»
A few weeks ago, I was relaxing in the departure lounge of Auckland airport waiting for a delayed flight when I overheard a robust conversation between two fellow travellers dissecting the recent books of Tim Harford. One of them wondered when Tim's writing would next hit the airport bookshelves? In my holdall I was carrying a pre-publication version of The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run or Ruin an Economy and, after several minutes, I could contain myself no longer. "Don't worry" I interrupted "a new book from Tim is out soon and it is all about macroeconomics."read more...»
InRealLife is a new UK documentary from DogWoof productions that takes us on a journey from the bedrooms of British teenagers to the world of Silicon Valley, to find out what internet technology is doing to our children.read more...»
Here is a lesson activity that you could use when teaching economic development. In this version of Trapdoor, students are presented with 16 countries. Their challenge is to identify those countries that have a mean life expectancy of 80 years and over. Get the answer wrong and the student falls through the Trapdoor...
Download Economics Trapdoor - Life Expectancy [8MB download]
In a world dominated by hyper-productive (but often loss-marking) industrial milk farming here is a heart-warming, touching and rewarding documentary that has swept critics off their feet at film festivals during 2013. The Moo Man is a remarkable story of a maverick farmer and his unruly cows, filmed over four years on the marshes of the Pevensey Levels. In an attempt to save his family farm, Stephen Hook decides to turn his back on the cost cutting dairies and supermarkets, and instead stay small and keep his close relationship with the herd. How can a milk farmer operating on such a small scale compete and survive in today's world? The Moo Man provides some revealing answers!read more...»
Here is an idea for a starter activity for a new economics group. I have selected twelve front page headlines from the news during July and August - each of which has been chosen for their current relevance and as a prompt for discussion. Students are asked to identify the missing word(s) and see how many of the dozen headlines they get right. As a follow up activity, I will ask them to do some background research and choose three headlines and write a 200 word summary explaining an economic issue associated with each.
The headline quiz exercise can be downloaded below as a pdf file - one page has the headlines with the gaps and a second page has the right answers for teachers!read more...»
Lots of coverage in the media over the last few days following the publication of A Level results for Summer 2013 and much of it has focused on the increasing take-up of so-called "harder" A Level subjects.
Economics has been singled out for particular attention, even meriting a special article in the FT! However, as we've noted before on the Economics blog, the strong growth in candidate numbers for A Level Economics is nothing new. The subject has been on the rise for 7-8 years now. However that growth has accelerated in the last year or two and in 2013 Economics was the fastest growing A Level option.read more...»
I have updated my UCAS guide for students interested in reading Economics at university.
To obtain the guide for free, please complete the following form and the download link will be sent to you straightaway.
The 2013 Young Economist of the Year had a record breaking 1150 entries from nearly 300 schools. The final judging panel of Charles Bean (RES President and Bank of England), Professor Tim Besley (London School of Economics) and Stephanie Flanders (BBC) have now selected the final four winnersread more...»
The design or architecture of auctions can have a huge bearing on their final outcomes be it the auctioning off of 4G spectrum licences or the need for an efficient system for when the Bank of England is lending to commercial banks. This super short video from the Guardian reflects on the work of Paul Klemperer from Oxford University. The specific example covered in the video is the "product mix auction" - a system devised for when the Bank of England uses auctions to determine how to inject liquidity into the banking system.
Hammering LIBOR (The Economist)
The Devil is in the Detail (Tim Harford)
If you're reading this blog then you'll probably notice the adverts on our website regarding the new version of our Wow economics events for the new academic year. If you attended the event this year, you'll be pleased to know that the upcoming version will bring you another 40 superb economics resources created by our select group of economics teachers and enhanced by the design team here at Tutor2u.
We've now secured the services of seven superb economics teachers who are putting their best resources together. These resources will be buffed up by our graphic designer and we'll throw in a sprinkle of our engaging and interactive Powerpoint resources as well. During the event, the resources will be showcased and delegates get the chance to use a selection and discuss the activities with fellow teachers.
As an example follow this link to see a resource currently being developed by a new member of the Wow Economics team (and former delegate himself!), Phil Hensman. Phil is an Economics teacher based at Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College in Leicester.read more...»
This video brings together a set of short animations on economics topics produced by the Open University and narrated by comedian David Mitchell - enjoy!
- The Invisible Hand
- The Paradox of Thrift
- The Phillips Curve
- The Principle of Comparative Advantage
- The Impossible Trinity
- Rational Choice Theory
A panel of judges drawn from schools and colleges across the country met last week to read, review and select essays from a record entry for the 2013 RES essay competition. Over 1,150 essays were entered this year!
As expected, the quality of essays among the 100 plus entries that made it into the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounds of judging was really high and many were a delight to read. It was clear to the judges that hundreds of students had made a tremendous effort to research their answers and craft answers with a clear argument running through their final piece.
The best essays combined a natural fluency with a level of economics that extended well beyond the comfort zones of the AS and A2 syllabus. All of the top answers were referenced properly and worthy of making it into the group for final assessment.
The RES competition tries to encourage students to avoid the straight-jacketed techniques best suited to exam-style questions. It was a delight to see in 2013 that many economists were happy to choose this route and we offer warm thanks to their teachers for support and encouragement.
Top essays challenged assumptions, embraced the need for wider research, and had a unity and coherence that made them a pleasure to read.
Congratulations to everyone that took part. Here are the shortlisted and highly commended entrants:read more...»
Here are some of the slides I used in a presentation given at a talk at the RGS Guildford yesterday as part of their Speaker Day. It was a delight to head over to meet their team and talk to over 250 students from 15 schools. I looked at areas where the mainstream economics syllabus and textbooks barely give house room to emerging areas. Businesses have responded rapidly to the challenges and opportunities of the financial crisis but the bulk of the economics profession has been sluggish at best. That said there are plenty of economists out there who are challenging the orthodoxy and offering fresh perspectives on how consumers and businesses actually behave in markets in a world of complexity and uncertainty. I will be developing the presentation further over the coming weeks and will link to some of the economists mentioned in the presentation.read more...»
If you have already started to think about delivery of your economics classes next academic year you might be interested to know that there are a raft of ready-made resources available from Tutor2u aimed at engaging learners and promoting understanding of key concepts. Whilst the specifications are remaining unchanged for just a little while longer, the key change for teachers is the removal of January exams and the new challenges and opportunities this will bring.
Some of the resources recently developed and available from our online store includes some great introductory activities such as Special Cars and The Island. We have resources aimed at testing student understanding of diagrams such as Diagrams in a Bag, S & D Situation cards and Market Failure Mix and Match. If you want to extend analysis and evaluation skills then take a look at Bees Hate Cod, and the Econocards activities.
And finally.... if you are keen on promoting learning and revision through team-based games then try out the fully-editable Powerpoint games. There is a large and growing selection of games but the latest includes Stay-A-Head (teams attempt to stay ahead of one another on the board by correctly answering questions), Saboteur (a saboteur is secretly chosen in a team to convince them of incorrect answers - a truly wonderful exercise in 'thinking skills'), Face It (teams gamble points based upon how confident they are of knowing their answers) and Pass the Buck (your in-class 'pass-the-parcel' activity).
This week I was delighted to travel down to Stratford upon Avon to join the annual gathering of the BASS group of schools. BASS stands for Boys Academically Selective Schools and draws schools from a large range of schools across the UK. The setting at King Edward VI School, Stratford upon Avon was stunning - our conference venue is reputed to have been Shakespeare's classroom!
There are lots of these cluster meetings held at this time of year. As the exam season reaches a conclusion, many teachers are preparing schemes of work, crafting new lesson ideas and drawing up plans for supporting their students as they bid for university places.
My talk focused on some of the strategies that I have used in recent years to aid the many students in my own school who are ambitious to win places to read Economics and related disciplines on hugely competitive courses. Here is the essence of what I covered - I am pleased to say that we have used all twelve of them in the last year - offering a large number of students an opportunity to invest some of their hard-pressed time in some enrichment and extension projects.
The vast majority of our students apply for university courses. At a time when a given set of grades are almost taken as a given by admissions tutors, finding a competitive edge in the application process is given added currency with every passing year. But most of all, these added activities are fun to do and enrich our own teaching.
The overall challenge ........ 12 suggestions for academic challenge and enrichment....................
I'm introducing my year 12 classes to poverty and income inequality next week, and this worksheet should test out their ability to draw a Lorenz curve from data.
Stats guru and political forecaster Nate Silver reveals in a talk at the RSA why most predictions fail, and shows how we can isolate a true "signal" from a universe of increasingly big and noisy data
Exclusive (to tutor2u) details of a great HOD vacancy here.read more...»
In this engaging PowerPoint game called Memory Blast, students have the duel task of identifying the definitions of key phrases whilst remembering where those definitions are placed on the screen. The 10 key phrases are hidden behind a number on the screen. Students must work out where each definition is placed and connect it with the definition shown. Teams score points as they match the key phrase with the definition. We provide you with a master, editable PowerPoint file which you can use to add your own content.
Street crime in multi-storey car parks is wrong on so many levels! But this game works well on lots of different levels - the example on the screen grab above and below is designed for students revising their A2 development economics.
Flip the activity by giving the students their own copy of the game and get them to create their own quizzes for you and/or other students to take!
You can purchase a network licence for Memory Blast for just £20 from our online store - here is the link to click
I really like the Trap Door lesson activity that is now available for purchase from the Tutor2u Online Store. Trap Door is spooky, scary version of the popular Wipeout game format. Students have 16 possible answers presented. 11 are correct; 5 are wrong. Can they avoid falling through the Trapdoor?
I am posting this blog from Hong Kong airport en route back to the UK after a hectic few weeks in Dubai, New Zealand and Australia. It was a great joy to spend over a week in Auckland and meet up with some fantastic teachers from a range of different schools and colleges in the Auckland area. Here are the slides from my main presentation at one of the events.read more...»
I am delighted that one of my radio 4 heroes Peter Day is starting a new page on the BBC news website. Peter has always had a happy nap for understanding the dynamics of change in business and markets, expect plenty of revealing and thoughtful insights linking to his radio 4 work including World of Business. Click here to access his new page