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Posts Tagged ‘Teaching Economics’

Rethinking Economics – Econocracy

August 2, 2017 Leave a comment

You might have come across the book ‘Econocracy’ written by students from the University of Manchester which makes three big arguments about the relevance of economics courses at Universities.

First, economics is part of all aspects of our public life. Second, the economics profession sees the economy “as a distinct system that follows a particular, often mechanical logic” and believes this “can be managed using a scientific criteria”. It would not be recognised by Keynes or Marx or Adam Smith. Thirdly, the authors criticised what economics students are being assessed on – models or theories which were being memorised for exams.

The interview below on Newsnight (BBC2) has author and student Joe Earle and Professor Diane Coyle (follow her excellent blog The Enlightened Economist) discussing the state of the discipline at University and what they don’t teach to economics students. More information can be found on the website Rethinking Economics.

Economics website for IGCSE AS A2 and IB courses

April 2, 2017 Leave a comment

Want to learn or need assistance with Economics? Are you studying or teaching A Level Economics, Advanced Placement, or International Baccalaureate (IB)?

Help is at hand, elearnEconomics assists individuals studying Economics. This site covers a wide range of courses and individuals have the ability to customise their course or do extension work. It’s simple, easy to use and very cost effective.

eLearnEconomics is a comprehensive online economics learning resource. It is for both students AND teachers. Students study the concepts of each topic with the key notes, then review those concepts with the audio/video and flash card sections and finally test themselves in the written answer and multi-choice sections. The multi-choice section records student scores enabling them to track their progress and build their confidence leading into exams.

Teachers have the ability to monitor students progess within the teachers’ administration section. Students can be arranged into class groups and full reports generated to quickly identify problem areas. These high quality PDF reports can also be presented at parent/teacher evenings. Click the link below to access the site.

elearneconomics

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Using UB40 to teach Unemployment

June 19, 2016 Leave a comment

I recently started teaching the Unemployment topic to my Year 11 IGCSE class and remembered that one of the first albums I bought was UB40 Signing Off – released in 1980 (see right). The front cover and reverse has been made to look like the UB40 unemployment benefit attendance card from which the band took their name. Their UK top-ten hit “One In Ten” was an attack on Thatcherism and is mistakenly cited as referring to the number of unemployed in the UK at that time. It is in fact a song about government statistics in general, and how politicians use them to de-humanise problems. Useful way to introduce the subject especially if the class like reggae. I found it useful to have two windows open and play the video along side the lyrics. Click here for the lyrics of the song and here to see UB40 perform on Top of the Pops in 1981.

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Relevance of Economics Teaching at University

February 20, 2016 Leave a comment

What is the use of EcoHere is a link to Peter Day’s Global Business programme from the BBC World Service – Economic Rebellion. In this episode he looks at the history of economics teaching and asks why some universities are changing their courses whilst others are staying put. Since the crash of 2008 students have been rebelling against the economics teaching. In an interview with John Kay, he quite rightly stresses the importance of teaching ‘Economic History’.

Arthur Marshall gave his advice to the economics profession.

* Are you covering different schools of economic thought in your teaching? Is your approach intellectually pluralistic enough?

* Are you teaching enough economic history, so that we can learn the lessons from the past?

* Do your students have enough time to absorb and reflect on the material they are learning? In fact, as the discipline expands, are your students taking enough economics?

* Are you encouraging your students to embrace and respect the perspectives that other disciplines bring to thinking about and solving economic problems? What, for example, have we learned about neuro, evolutionary and behavioural economics? And how can that learning be better incorporated into public policy-making?

* How can we better understand the trade-offs between policies that improve incomes and those that improve social inclusion or environmental sustainability or our resilience to economic shocks?

* And, perhaps most importantly, are you challenging yourselves, and your students, to think beyond the comfortable?

Having read ‘This Time is Different’ by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff you often wonder why economists and public officials didn’t pick the common patterns amongst so many previous financial crises

I can also recommend the book “What’s the use of Economics”, edited by Diane Coyle, which examines what economists need to bring to their jobs, and the way in which education in universities could be improved to fit graduates better for the real world.

The Relevance of Economics and Economics Teaching

November 10, 2014 2 comments

What is the use of EcoGabriel Makhlouf, Secretary to the Treasury (New Zealand), gave a very thoughtful presentation at the Government Economics Network Annual Conference in Wellington. The main focus of his talk was the relevance of economics and economics teaching. He recalled his early days studying economics at University when Lipsey was the textbook of the day and stagflation and the ascendency of Friedman over Keynes were the talking points.

He quite rightly criticises the reliance on mathematical models in decision-making and he suggests that problems arise when the straightforward models,designed to think in a structured way about the economic issues, are confused with the reality we are trying to address. That risks confusing a moral science for a natural one.

Although we can build economic models based on rational consumers with perfect knowledge there is a need to accommodate unintended events which are part of the imperfect market. As Paul Krugman put it, “economists, of all people, should have been on guard for the fallacy of misplaced concreteness” and “the economics profession went astray because economists, as a group, mistook beauty, clad in impressive-looking mathematics, for truth”.

He quotes Arthur Marshall

“I have a growing feeling that a mathematical theorem dealing with economic hypothesis is very unlikely to be good economics, and I go more and more on the rules:

1. Use mathematics as a shorthand language rather than as an engine of enquiry.
2. Keep to them until you have done.
3. Translate into English.
4. Then illustrate by examples that are important to real life.
5. Burn the mathematics.
6. If you can’t succeed in 4, burn 3. This last I do often.”

Also of note is his advice to the economics profession.

* Are you covering different schools of economic thought in your teaching? Is your approach intellectually pluralistic enough?

* Are you teaching enough economic history, so that we can learn the lessons from the past?

* Do your students have enough time to absorb and reflect on the material they are learning? In fact, as the discipline expands, are your students taking enough economics?

* Are you encouraging your students to embrace and respect the perspectives that other disciplines bring to thinking about and solving economic problems? What, for example, have we learned about neuro, evolutionary and behavioural economics? And how can that learning be better incorporated into public policy-making?

* How can we better understand the trade-offs between policies that improve incomes and those that improve social inclusion or environmental sustainability or our resilience to economic shocks?

* And, perhaps most importantly, are you challenging yourselves, and your students, to think beyond the comfortable?

Having read ‘This Time is Different’ by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff you often wonder why economists and public officials didn’t pick the common patterns amongst so many previous financial crises

Below is a link to the full article – a good read.

Economics: Teaching, Applying, Learning

I can also recommend the book “What’s the use of Economics”, edited by Diane Coyle, which examines what economists need to bring to their jobs, and the way in which education in universities could be improved to fit graduates better for the real world.

Economics of Crime

December 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Wayne Geerling of La Trobe University in Melbourne has produced some great resources using a variety of media. Here is a video showing “The Economics of Everyday life” and it relates it to marginal cost and marginal benefit analysis. Worth a look.

Still E.C.O.N.

December 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Last week I was at the University of Waikato Professional Development Day for secondary school economics teachers. As well as presentations they showed work done by undergraduate students. Starting in 2011, students in ECON100 Business Economics and the New Zealand Economy have been given the opportunity to complete a video project as part of the assessment for the paper. Below is the students’ Choice Award for Best Video:

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