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AIER’s Educational Programs Applauded

IMG_0540Two of AIER’s economic education programs received enthusiastic interest at the American Economic Association’s Conference on Teaching and Research in Economic Education that was held on May 27-29 in Minneapolis.

We presented two papers, the first of which showcased AIER’s Money School program. This program supports survivors of domestic and sexual violence, giving them the knowledge, confidence, and connections to handle their own finances.

The feedback for this paper, presented by AIER Senior Research Analyst Nicole Kreisberg, was quite positive. People who attended this session said that they were impressed with the scope of the work, and its unique nature, including serving rural residents. They suggested various ways to improve the program, and encouraged expanding it to a wider, even national audience.

The second paper reported on the results of the first class of the Teach-the-Teachers Initiative. This AIER program gives high school teachers the tools to improve the way they teach economics.

I reported that the program is unique in two ways. First, we encourage the use of economic concepts across various disciplines, such as Spanish, algebra and history, as well as in special education, to name just a few. This approach serves teachers well, because Common Core standards stipulate the development of critical thinking and analytical skills in students in all fields of study. The discipline of economics is well suited for developing those critical thinking and analytical skills.

Second, we ask teachers to field test the lesson idea generated during their stay at AIER in their home classrooms. We then follow up and visit their schools to observe the effectiveness of the lessons. The follow-up process is special and is rarely being done by other programs.

During the academic year we collected feedback from the participating teachers and their students after the lesson was taught. Both the students and the teachers reported that the goals for the lessons were identified clearly, and were achieved. The teachers reported that their understanding of the concepts improved, and the students responded that their teachers were knowledgeable about the topics introduced in class, and the class materials were interesting and easy to follow.

We are excited to get ready for the second class of Teach-the-Teachers on June 22-26, 2015. We also keep in touch with the 2014 alumni, several of whom will be coming back on June 27 to learn one additional topic and to exchange stories from the classroom.

Photo: Nicole Kreisberg of AIER presents her paper at the session “Measuring Impact of Various Approaches to Teaching Economics” on May 28, 2015.

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