Economics for Special Ed and ESL Students
Co-authored with Michelle Ryan, Education Programs Coordinator
Everyone should have the benefit of a high school education in economics, but for students with learning disabilities, or students who use English as a second language, this is especially challenging.
We were pleased to work with Kelinda Young (shown left) from Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey. Kelinda teaches both types of students, in a single classroom. For help planning her economics lessons, she turned to AIER and participated in the last summer’s Teach-the-Teachers Initiative. Our program provided her with a deeper understanding of economic concepts, which helped her reach special education and ESL students, who require individualized instruction and highly organized planning.
We were pleased to recently receive a video of Kelinda putting this knowledge to work in the classroom. She taught her students how to calculate the unemployment rate, but before that, they had to learn the vocabulary of economics.
Kelinda employed a strategy called “Quiz-Quiz-Trade.” This approach provides each student with the vocabulary and definitions on a sheet of paper. The students move around the room and meet in pairs. They quiz each other, giving praise for correct responses and identifying the appropriate term if the response is inaccurate. They then trade their lists and seek out a different student to quiz.
Since this procedure provides lots of interactions with classmates, repetition, and no negative repercussions for incorrect responses, it proved to be an extremely useful tool for her students to learn vocabulary. After this preparation to understand the vocabulary, the students were ready to engage in the interviewing activity for the unemployment rate calculation.
The use of this lesson for students with learning disabilities, and students who use English as a second language, emphasizes the importance of AIER’s Teach-the-Teachers Initiative in providing economic knowledge to everyone.