How to Teach Economics

How to Teach Economics


Teaching, whether at school or university level, is generally and  rightly considered a worthy occupation. As supported by some Professor Ratings, however, unfortunately not every high school, college or university can boast perfect ratings for their academic staff, and many individual lecturers and professors have room for improvement, at least in the views of the students.

In economics, as in any other discipline, the impact of a professor on students and their future choices is enormous: in many cases it is the professor who inspires you to dig dipper into the subject, to question existing models, to do your own research, and later on to push yourself to gain recognition in the field, or to make a career as a successful economic policy-maker in government. As a teacher, to achieve this type of inspiration can be challenging, especially among students who grew up in a digital age: simple lecturing with a series of slides may no longer be enough to involve students and keep them attentive throughout the class. This post aims to provide you, as a teacher of economics, interesting resources to consider when planning your course.

1) The short article Teaching Methods in Economics gives an introduction to new formats of teaching: debates, learning games and writing assignments.

2) The resource Games Economists Play: Non-Computerized Classroom-Games for College Economics provides a collection of 180 games on Micro- and Macroeconomics to include in lectures.

3) Teaching with the Case Method gives a brief introduction on how to teach with cases and provides some useful examples.

4) Integrating music videos and clips from movies into lectures can be a good idea too, as it gives students a comprehensive explanation of difficult economic concepts. This database from Econ Stories with its amusing Keynes vs Hayek videos is a good starting point.

5) In today’s world it is difficult to avoid social media, even in teaching. Hence the Must-Have Facebook Guidelines For Educators is a helpful resource to browse through.

6) Education 2.0: Teaching Economics Using Digital Tools shares some insights about general use of digital tools available and how professors and lecturers can make the most out of them.

7) An exploration of Robert Frank’s ‘The Economic Naturalist’ in the classroom describes a pedagogical method in which students pose an interesting question based on an event they have personally observed, then use economic principles to solve the question in no more than 500 words—free of algebra, graphs and complex jargon.

8) The paper The Art of Teaching Economics by David Colander considers the ‘new paradigm of teaching’ for those doing their research on economics education.

Image Credit: cybrarian77