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Economics teaching and learning through the arts: the contribution of cinema and literature Gherardo Girardi, Guglielmo Volpe and John Segwick Project.

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Presentation on theme: "Economics teaching and learning through the arts: the contribution of cinema and literature Gherardo Girardi, Guglielmo Volpe and John Segwick Project."— Presentation transcript:

1 Economics teaching and learning through the arts: the contribution of cinema and literature Gherardo Girardi, Guglielmo Volpe and John Segwick Project sponsored by the Economics Network of the Higher Education Authority Developments in Economics Education, Cambridge 6 September 2007

2 Overview 1. Introduction 2. Interactive session with Death of a Salesman 3. Results from pilot studies 4. Conclusion

3 Introduction Aim: To set up a module that teaches economics by means of cinema and/or works of literature

4 Introduction What motivates this project? Draw in non-mathematically inclined students Relate economics to students lives Show beauty in economics Multidisciplinary Material set in historical context Multicultural

5 Introduction So far, I have experimented with cinema. Advantages of cinema: Effective and popular Time saving

6 Introduction Comparison with trials in US: Leet and Houser, Economics Goes to Hollywood: Using Classical Films and Documentaries to Create an Undergraduate Economics Course. Journal of Economic Education (Fall)

7 Examples of films Grapes of Wrath Balkanizateur City of Joy Death of a Salesman

8 Examples of films Grapes of Wrath Balkanizatuer City of Joy Death of a Salesman Workshop: Death of a Salesman

9 Pilot study - introduction The module was piloted in 4 existing modules at LMU: 1. Introduction to Macroeconomics, 1st year, mostly economists (13): Balkanizateur 2. Economics of Cinema, 3rd year, mostly non-economists (9): Grapes of Wrath 3. Economics of Industry, 3rd year, all economists (16): Death of a Salesman 4. International Business Studies, Masters, mixture of economists and non-economists (7): Death of a Salesman

10 Pilot study - Summary of data 45 responses, of which 25 complete/non self-contradictory See distributed questionnaire (Economics of Cinema questionnaire simpler)

11 Pilot study – Students comments It is good to visualize real life examples and to chain them to theory I found the material that was shown relevant to my life situation The movie is quite old so the relevance is minimal It uses a media which young people grow up with One picture says a thousand words people can discuss the matter in relation to their experience

12 Pilot study – Students comments (contd) It bring the very relevant aspect of behavioural economics [psychology, sociology] into the picture Its the best session I have ever had The module would be good before uni It gives economics students an opportunity to relate to the arts and approach things from a different perspective Seeing a film and relating it to real life is fascinating

13 Pilot study – overall evaluation Overall session rating (average score: 7 highest, 1 lowest) % of students who think module should be introduced If you think module should be introduced, how useful would it be? (average score: 3 = hugely, 2 = a lot, 1 = a little) Introduction to Macroeconomics 5.692%2.1 Economics of Cinema5.781%2.1 Industrial Economics5.677%2.4 International Business Studies 5.983%2.4

14 Pilot study – averages of determinants of evaluation Average Film quality5.60Relevance to your life 5.39 Discussion quality 5.33Economic content 5.15 Total time4.67Will you remember? 5.47 Distribution of time 5.09Male55% Academic material 5.53Econ or business degree 82% Structure5.47Scores from 1 to 7, 7 highest (except for male and econ degree)

15 Pilot study – significance of determinants of evaluation coefficientp valuecoefficientp value Intercept Will you remember? Film quality Male Discussion quality Age Total time Film title Distribution of time Year of degree Academic material Econ or business Structure All values from 1 to 7, where 7 highest Relevance to your life Adjusted R Economic content Overall F (p value)0.021

16 Conclusions Students responses show that project aims were achieved Students respond very well to project regardless of their year of study Student evaluations seems to be linked to (a) relevance of session to students lives and (b) clear structure of sessions Hence the message is clear: CONTINUE DEVELOPING THE MODULE, paying attention to personal relevance and clarity of structure

17 Future work Make link with the academic literature stronger Increase cultural diversity of the film portfolio


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