Learning the concepts of Unemployment

I love teaching kids about new concepts. Concepts are one abstract idea that can be related to a variety of other situations. Today in class we did some conceptual learning about unemployment and the different forms of Unemployment that exist. Hopefully the following ideas and resources give you something to take away and work on.

Basic concepts:

We began our learning with an exploration of the simple concepts, Labour Force, employed, unemployed then gradually added more posters to the board thereby introduce the more detailed terminology. I made these definitions posters a few years ago and they are available here. Unemployment Definition Posters (6mb)

In the second lesson we looked at the basic model of the labour market in some depth with some traditional teacher centric learning. Here are the two models that I introduce. Both show the same concepts but in slightly different ways.

Analysis of the concepts:

Finally the students start looking at the different causes of unemployment. From the IB Economics Syllabus we focus on

  • Real Wage Unemployment
  • Equilibrium Unemployment
  • Demand Deficient Unemployment

As these concepts are all quite similar, use the same model and similar range of terminology. I used a simple teaching technique called expert jigsaw. Each group had a poster that explained the cause of unemployment in depth. They had to understand the model, read an extract from the textbook and then create a small summary for their notes using a template. Then the experts had the chance to teach the other experts the knowledge they had acquired in new circles of students. Here are the posters which can also download as a simple PDF, plus some photos from the student work

Application of the concepts:

Unemployment is a great macro economics topic as students tend to understand the issues a little easier. This blog post and videos about Unemployment in Spain is something that I go back to each year. My students completed it for homework this week and a nice way to reinforce the learning. You can read their comments to see what they learned.

Blog Post – When Spain’s unemployment problem gets ugly – Economics in Plain English

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