Resources For Economics Teachers

6 April 2007 at 12:06 am 3 comments

| Peter Klein |

Old fogies like myself who teach economics to undergraduates need help to make the subject come alive to Generation Z (or whatever we’re up to now). Here are links to multimedia, popular song lyrics, in-class exercises, and other useful resources.

1. Common Sense Economics — accompanies the text by the same name by Jim Gwartney, Rick Stroup, and Dwight Lee. Look under “Really Cool Stuff” for some, well, really cool stuff.

2. AmosWeb — lots of of electronic resources for economics courses. Say the producers: “we take economics seriously, but with a touch of whimsy.” Much like our attitude here at O&M, but with more substance. (HT: Jan Dauve)

3. From ABBA to Zeppelin, Led: using music to teach economics — excerpts from popular song lyrics along with economic interpretations and classroom exercises. I’ve actually heard of some of the groups! (HT: Marginal Revolution)

4. Mises.org fun page — Austrian economics cartoons, crossword puzzles, and more. Be sure to scroll down for the Monty Python money song and Roderick Long’s Kant song.

Also, remember, lecturing is out, “learner-centered instruction” is in. You’re supposed to be the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Teaching.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. srp  |  6 April 2007 at 5:29 pm

    Revealed preference when teaching by the case method is that undergraduates strongly prefer the sage on the stage to the guide on the side. Conducting a class discussion to uncover the lessons of a case requires lots of student preparation, tolerance for ambiguity, and willingness to expose themselves intellecually. I can almost see their sighs of relief when I go off on my own riffs during discussions or do a formal lecture class.

  • 2. Paolo MARITI  |  9 April 2007 at 2:11 am

    All I can say is that teaching contractual incompletnees via Shakespeare’s “The taming of the shrew” ( as suggested by Yuri Gorbaneff, JEE) in an introductory course to Economics of Organizations to no economics majors in an graduate curriculum revealed to be satisfactory to students (expecially females); using Gaechter and Koeningstein’s classroom experiment “Design a contract! ” didn’t turn out that well, though students admitted that they were able to catch details of the Principal-Agent model that were not perceived during formal presentation.
    All in all I somewhat agree with srp above.

  • 3. Chihmao Hsieh  |  24 April 2007 at 11:34 pm

    Let me add to this list the movie entitled “The Corporation.” In my opinion, it should be required viewing for all business-school students (well, undergrads at least) not because it is a complete documentary on the corporation (because it isn’t!) but because it has some important messages, it’s well-made, and is fun to watch.

    Just a few snippets: The film highlights the corporation’s legal standing as a ‘person’ and how that came to be (for a hint see this!). It touches on the pervasiveness of markets and transactions and IP, issues of marketing (e.g. creating vs. revealing desires), and even productive vs. destructive entrepreneurship (e.g. how ’bout compelling evidence that IBM machines extensively supported the organization of the Holocaust?). The only major criticism of the film is that it doesn’t explain why corporations (well, firms) are organizationally or socially valuable.

    Definitely a good pick if you’re having trouble finding a worthwhile movie to rent at Blockbuster. And I’d imagine the material would even interest high-school-aged children!

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