Teaching students of this generation is certainly a challenge. They are smarter, more knowledgeable, and have the skills to process facts faster. While challenge it may be, teaching a subject like economics to these students is surely a pleasure.
Teaching and learning is a two-way process and they cannot be compartmentalized into watertight chambers. The teacher and the taught should ensure that a friendly learning environment is created, where a free exchange of ideas takes place. As a subject, economics has always been very interesting and useful. Of late it has gained a lot of prominence, given the ever changing regional and global economies.
With decision-making getting complicated, economics is a subject that enhances one’s analytical skills and helps one apply oneself practically. If I am to suggest ways to make teaching this subject more satisfying and learning more enjoyable we should ensure that we have no pre-conceived notions of any sort. One should be open to examining the various complex and static assumptions that we base our economic theories on.
The manner in which we introduce a subject is key to generating interest in the student’s mind. It could entail analyzing situations or incidents the students have faced–for example, asking them about the effect of a 50 percent flat discount on the demand of Nike or Adidas shoes. They surely would be able to recognize that demand will increase as price has been reduced. Once you get their attention and interest, start with the basic concepts. Emphasize the key words, concepts, and language of the lesson. Reinforce the economic terms as you progress further with the lesson.
Develop the lesson using anecdotes or articles from newspapers such as Mint or Economic Times. Reference to news articles should be incorporated as this allows students to learn to relate the matter taught to the real world. A day in a week could be dedicated to brainstorming or debating over economic policies and programmes at the regional or global level. Class participation must be encouraged. This creates a conducive environment for learning. Pupil participation can be enhanced by introducing group projects, where every child gets a chance to present a part of the presentation prepared by the group. It helps the child to speak his mind on issues related to economics. This enables a teacher to gauge the child’s knowledge and understanding of the subject.
Last but not the least, we teachers have always had a very important role to play in a child’s formative years, let us enjoy transforming the young minds into human capital that will be productive for our economy.
The author teaches economics at Bombay Scottish School, Mahim. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.