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Adventures of an Economics Teacher: Some Reflections.

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1 Adventures of an Economics Teacher: Some Reflections

2 Why? May be as important as HOW Passion & excitement –Enthusiasm is contagious –Awesome responsibility of educating next generation Challenging: –we learn as much from our students as they do from us Rewarding (even though physically exhausting!)

3 Where? Good teaching requires location and direction. –Students need to know why you’ve chosen this destination, and why they should come along for the ride –Link concepts through ongoing story (fill in the blanks logic) –Constant reminder of what we’ve done, why we did it, and how that’s important for the next stage Quantitative methods: link to research tools and importance of theory Micro theory – link to real world applied problems (OPEC, Microsoft, Blood Diamonds, generic drugs, BIG, Discrimination etc) Locating work in student’s real world (real, applied, interdisciplinary yet simple enough) But search out new destinations! (3 yr rotation rule?)

4 How? Three great teachers (and many bad ones!) Need right gear Appropriate textbook and good support materials –Quants: practice questions with answers; support notes that explain logic of problem (since most texts go from A to D in one step, or A to B with no explanation) –Why? Why? Why? (clear logical arguments) –In-class surveys to generate data to inform later class lectures (e.g. cognitive limitations and choice; spending at the movies vs poverty; games….) –Building technical graphs up one frame at a time –Case studies, applied material, touch on ethics, politics etc (conversations as equals with their parents) –Guest lecture series & own research Technology – DVDs, videos, Powerpoint & more? Tutorials (graded difficulty) & Hotseats (specialised) –Pair strong students with weak

5 Picking the right route You can climb most (all?) mountains if you pick the right route! Every student has the potential to be a successful learner –Mix of easy to difficult material – building blocks + logic of problem solving –Ask provocative questions….. about things we take for granted Although flexibility is good – slow down if students are battling Be prepared to make mistakes

6 Inspiring confidence in your team A team is as strong as its weakest link …….a teacher is as good as their weakest student? Warm, open approach based on fairness, respect and belief that everyone has the ability to master difficult concepts (it might just take time) –Slow things down when needed but don’t compromise on high standards –Create space and time for discussion –Student presentations & research papers (graduate level) –Early warning system: Blank faces; informal feedback early on –Smile! Empower and Inspire

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