Tried and tested - Persuasive powers

8th May 2009 at 01:00

Subject: Business studies

Lesson: How we feel about the EU

Ages: 14-18

Supplied by: Margaret Thomas, a business studies teacher in East Sussex

1. What is it?

A lesson to stimulate debate on the pros and cons of the European Union.

2. Who is it aimed at?

GCSE or A-level business studies pupils.

3. What do you want the lesson to achieve?

It gets pupils to articulate their views while introducing a competition element. It also ensures that pupils who don't find the topic interesting or engaging play an active role in deciding the winning case. Presentation skills are also important.

4. What happens in the lesson?

Ask pupils to indicate where they stand on the issue of the EU: pro, anti, no view. Organise them into three groups. The pro and anti groups set out the reasons behind their thinking. Meanwhile, the no-view group generates a list of questions to ask the other groups. The teams prepare a sales pitch for the no-view group. They are given five minutes to sell their viewpoints. The no-view group has five minutes to ask questions. Finally, they vote on which of the two groups were more persuasive.

5. How do you know it has been successful?

By how competitive the teams become.

6. Why would you recommend this to other teachers?

It takes a dry subject and injects some life into it and proves the relevance of these issues to the pupils.

7. Give us three top tips

- It works best when you have already introduced the subject matter.

- Don't let too many get away with having no view about the EU.

- Try to steer them away from xenophobic outbursts.

8. Useful resources

Visit pro and anti-EU websites such as the Young European Movement ( or the UK Independence Party (


Title: Business activity and the changing environment

Age group: 14-16

Subject: Business studies

What is it? A PowerPoint with more than 160 slides of questions, class activities and homework ideas exploring imports and exports; how businesses grow; introduction of the euro; and the importance and impact of EU on businesses within UK.

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5 star rating.

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