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Developed nations - Developing nations. Un'attività CLIL di economia in inglese

red - In allegato viene condivisa una lezione CLIL di economia in lingua inglese sullo sviluppo economico, tenuta dal professor Enrico Tombini, docente di Economia Politica presso il LES di Bergamo ISIS Mamoli.

Name of the activity: developed nations/developing nations.

Aim of activity: understand the main macroeconomic factors that cause the economic growth of a nation.

Total hours: 1

Age of students: 16 (Italia)


  • Main factors that promote the economic growth
  • Reading skills (select various types chunks and lexical sets in order to analyse a text)
  • To be set
  • Recognize the main chunks that regard economic (see annexe 2 for a short list)
  • Manufactured capital
  • Select appropriate key visuals to explain the main ideas of a complex text
  • Summarize a complex argument by rewriting a concepts chain
  • Human Capital (education and health)
  • Explain phenomena by using cause-effect relations
  • Production of new ideas
  • Identify key sentences

Task 1 – start from the students

(individual reflection, L2) “have you any ideas about the reasons for which in the contemporary world there are rich and poor nations?”
(in groups, L2) “thinking of what you already know, write down 3 sentences that explain why there are rich and poor nations in the contemporary world”

Task 2 – find out

(on the dashboard, L2) each group shares its sentences with the whole class, then the teacher asks the class to find similarities and classify them. The teacher writes on the dashboard the classes.

Task 3 – sorting out

(in group, L2), look at the text “Proximate causes behind differences between Becky’s and Desta’s worlds” (see Annexe 1).
Analyse the text and then find in it all the chunks that refers to the word “capital”. Then find in the text all the chunks that mark the beginning of a new argument.

Then find in the text all the chunks that drive a conclusion (e.g.: So, as a conclusion, we can say that, etc..). Then underline all these last sentences and reflect on them.
Last task: “using the sentences you found, can you fulfil the key visual in the annexe 3?”. Students work in groups, then share with the whole class.

Task 4 – reflection and evaluation

(discuss in group in L1)
Did your group find correctly the three types of factors? What has been wrong? What words didn't you know? Are their meaning clear now?
How did you feel during the lesson?
Was it difficult for you to use English language for economics or not?

Annexe 1

Proximate causes behind differences between Becky’s and Desta’s worlds (Becky is a young girl living in USA, while Desta is a young girl living in Ethiopia)

What enables people in Becky’s world to be so much richer than people in Desta’s world? Several features suggest themselves.
People in rich countries have better equipment to work with (electric drills are more powerful than pickaxes; tractors are superior to ploughs; and modern medicine is vastly more effective than traditional cures). So, one argument goes that the accumulation of physical capital (more accurately, manufactured capital) in Becky’s world has been a significant contributor to the high standard of living people enjoy there. ....

Others have noted that people in rich countries are far better educated, implying that they are able to make use of ideas to produce goods that are out of reach for people in countries where large numbers are illiterate. A crude index of education is the proportion of adults (people aged 15 and above) who are literate, the figure for which today is over 95% in the rich world, but only 58% in the poor world. Gender inequalities are considerably greater in the poor than in the rich world. The proportion of adult women who are literate in poor countries is 48%, whereas in the rich world the corresponding proportion is pretty much the same as that for men, namely, over 95%.

Allied to education is health. Life expectancy at birth in rich countries is now 78 years, whereas it is about 58 years in poor countries. Some 120 children among every 1,000 of those under 5 years of age die each year in the poor world; the corresponding figure for rich countries is 7.
Relatedly, clean water and good hygiene have reduced morbidity in rich countries greatly. About one-quarter of the population in the poor world suffer from undernourishment, whereas the corresponding figure in rich countries is negligible. As undernutrition and vulnerability to infections reinforce each other, poor nourishment and morbidity go together. There is evidence that undernourishment in early childhood affects the development of cognitive faculties. Taken together, the average person in the rich world is capable of supplying work of far higher quality and for many more years than his counterpart in a poor country. Education and health go by the name human capital. A literature pioneered by the economists Theodore Schultz and Gary Becker reveals that the accumulation of human capital has been a significant factor behind the high standard of living people in Becky’s world enjoy today.
Many economists, however, regard the production of new ideas as the prime factor behind economic progress. They say that rich countries have become rich because people there have been successful in producing ideas not only for new products (printing press, steam engine, electricity, chemical products,
the electronic computer), but also for cheaper ways of producing old products (transportation, mining).

Of course, education and advances in science and technology combine as an economic force. Primary and secondary education alone can’t take a society that far today. A country where tertiary education is low would not have a population capable of working with the most advanced technology. Nor are scientific and technological advances capable of being achieved today by people with no advanced education.

Annexe 2 – economic chunks to be found in the text

chunks that regard the term capital

Manufactured capital Human capital

Chunks or lexical sets that introduce a new idea:

Others have noted
Allied to education
Many economists, however, regard As ....... go together

Chunks or lexical sets that drive a conclusion

So, one argument goes that Education and health go by the name A literature ...... reveals that ..... They say that 

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