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Teaching activity

Starter activity on analysis skills - "This is because"

Ben Cahill

11th December 2016

The graphic below shows information on the amount of people being hired, laid-off and quitting in US manufacturing over the past 15 years. Significantly, it highlights when the economy was in recession (2008 - 2010) and this can be used to remind students of the difference between describing and explaining something.

I would start off by making sure they know what each of the terms mean (and perhaps use alternative terms such as redundancy and resignation). Then we could discuss the trends shown - this should be relatively easy - "hires" and "quits" down and "layoffs" up. Then it may be a idea to get them into groups and each come up with a reason why each of these trends might be expected in a recession. The key words "This is because" means that analysis is starting. Once this is done, "This leads to" can be used to further develop the points.

As an example - The number of "quits" decreases in a recession. This is because workers are less likely to have another better paying job opening to go to, and / or less likely to risk starting their own business. This leads to businesses having more experienced workers and lower recruiting and training costs.

The original blog post from which the image is found can be found here.

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