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Bailout: the word on everyone’s lips

by in Finance
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Bailout: the word on everyone’s lips

Welcome to the first Academic Study Kit blog post.

Every month we will focus on a different topic and this month we will kick off with the Banker Blog. Each Banker blog will focus on a hot topic from the world of banking and finance and we will be giving you some ideas for activities that can be used as warmers, fillers or full-blown lessons. This month’s feature is bailout, which has been the word on everyone’s lips since news of the Greek banking crisis hit the news.

Back in 2008, when the first round of the financial crisis surfaced, bailout, defined in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, as "a rescue from financial distress," received the highest intensity of online lookups over the shortest period of time and became the Word of the Year. In recent weeks it has made a comeback with the news of the collapse of Greek banks.


Crisis has always been great fodder for discussions with bankers and this recent scenario in Greece provides teachers with plenty of opportunities for heated debate. Mervyn King, former Governor of the Bank of England once said: ‘The words “banking” and “crises” are natural bedfellows. If love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage, then banking and crisis go together like Oxford and the Isis, intertwined for as long as anyone can remember’.

So how can we initiate discussions on bailout? One good ‘lead in’ to discussions is to present your students with a few tricky questions such as ‘Should banks be bailed out by the government? What are the arguments for and against? How much has bailout cost governments in recent years? What precautions are banks obliged to take to safeguard themselves and their investors funds? How can these precautions be strengthened? Indeed there have always been bailouts in the history of banking and a good starting point to a lesson on bailout would be to set students some flipped learning tasks before coming to class.

One task would be to find out about three waves of crises and the bailout that followed: Latin America in the 1980s, the East Asian financial crisis in 1997, and the global financial crisis in 2008. In each case, although the players and the countries changed, the events leading up to the collapse were the same. Hot money flowed into an economy pushing asset prices up. This was followed by a race by investors (fearing the boom had gone too far), to get their money and countries were left with a bank run. The result; banks drowned as the economy, and asset prices crashed and international lenders like the IMF bailed out the banks. In recent weeks the discussion has turned to whether or not countries should be bailed out or left to drown.

A free download of classroom material on bailout is just a click away. Go to ‘Store’ and select ‘monthly downloads' or click here

If you have any requests or questions about any particular aspect of academic English, we'd love to hear from you, so please feel free to post them.

Next month’s feature: Critical Thinking Blog

Flipped learning links

Bailout in pictures

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