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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Pupil tectonics help teach development- moving countries ;-)

Categories: Development and Health

OK, last one for tonight, the eyes are still very sore and feeling a bit flu-ey. We started Development and Health today in the Higher. I gave 8 countries to 8 individuals and asked them to stand at the front of the room. The rest of the class had to organise these countries in order of development. We had Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Colombia, USA, Israel, Ireland and Russia. Our order as we organised it was USA, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Russia, Israel, Vietnam and Colombia. I was interested to know how the class had chosen these as I had given absolutely no data. Inevitably, economic reasons were prominent. Most people thought that the USA was the richest of the group, although there was quite a bit of debate about where Israel should be. Another major factor seemed to be conflict in deciding the order. Several of the class placed Israel low down the list because of continued problems re: Palestine, and others thought that places such as Colombia would have internal conflict due to a 'war on drugs'. Others in the class pointed out that the USA, despite topping our list, was presenly embroiled in two costly conflicts. I then used some indicators from te CIA world factbook, with each country being anonymous and the class having to match to the correct place. We used GDP per capita, life expectancy, adult literacy, military expenditure as % of GDP and public debt as % GDP. What was surprising was that if we had only used GDP as our measure, Ireland would have just edged the USA. In general, students were not too far away with their matches and from this we spoke briefly about the different indicator types before beginning a bit of work from the texts.

I'd like to continue this tomorrow by looking purely at economic indidcators, starting with a quick buzz round the class about careers-what jobs do people see themselves doing and what you'd be earning. I'd like to then look at where this would put you in terms of wealth, before looking at parts of this gapminder presentation relating to wealth. We'll then look at the problems of using economic data, with particular reference to GNP.


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