In his textbook, Microeconomics, Robert H. Frank writes in the introduction that after a semester ends, students rapidly forget the concepts they were taught in economics?
When I think of the skills and learning in my life, I think of a dependable set of behavior that I can reliably use in any environment. Thus, I say I have learned how to drive when I can get into a car and drive it anytime. Learning isn't a reaction such as blinking your eye. You don't learn how to grow tall--that's maturation.
Is learning making connections between two seemingly unrelated activities? Say that I have $100 and I trade it for food. Have I learned how to use money?
In Super Freakonomics, monkeys learned how to use money to buy grapes. One monkey traded money for sex. Is intuition learning?
In AP Microeconomics, if a student can reliably explain supply and demand concepts as those concepts apply to factor markets, product markets, public goods, and externalities, has that student learned supply and demand? Or does that student have to be able to apply those concepts to real-world situations?
Say that the goal of my AP Microeconomics class is a permanent change in behavior. For example, Tim Schilling, sees economics in everything. This is higher order thinking skills with real world application. I can attest that he is indeed an economist. Should this be my goal for every student?
Malcolm Gladwell writes in Outliers that it takes 10,000 hours of sedulous study to become an expert in a subject. For most learners, that would be about 10 years of work. An economics class is 90 hours plus whatever study a student completes outside of class.
In public education, is our goal to teach economics so students can "learn" or to teach economics so that students "appreciate" or "get a feel for" economics? Learning would require a career track. Most high school students aren't ready for a life major. It's no wonder they forget everything six weeks after the class ends.
Reformer, Willard Daggett, claims that using his rigor-relevance model will teach students how to compete in a global economy. He combine higher order thinking skills with real world activities. I have given extensive thought to this model, but I am unconvinced that applying this model to education results in learning. Many teachers misapply the model too. For example, many teachers at my high school think that any hands-on activity is Quad D. I point out that sweeping a floor with a broom is hands on but does not require synthesis, analysis, and evaluation.
What activities to you use in the classroom to teach economics at a high level, using hands-on activities that require higher order thinking skills?
Your comments are welcome.