John Sloman, Jon Guest and Dean Garratt led a workshop for economics lecturers wishing to maximise engagement and employability in first year modules. Catherine Connolly reports back on the event.
Pearson held its first Economics Workshop in late February from the 10th floor of their Strand office in London. The view across the Thames from such a location is always impressive. But on this occasion it was a rare day of snow in London and we were treated to a spectacular view of a snow-covered Southbank along with intermittent snow flurries.
The workshop was run by the authors of the textbook Economics 10/E: John Sloman, a visiting fellow at the University of Bristol, Jon Guest, a senior teaching fellow at Aston Business School, and Dean Garratt, a course leader at Nottingham Business School, and senior HEA fellow. Participants included economics lecturers and teachers from across the UK.
Making economics teaching relevant, engaging and interactive
The workshop focused on how to teach undergraduate economics in ways that make it relevant, engaging and interactive. This included considering how to present economic content, and building the foundation for understanding ‘threshold concepts’ in economics e.g. opportunity cost, elasticity, allocative efficiency.
The authors emphasised the importance of encouraging students to apply concepts to real world situations. The latest edition of Economics includes a series of ‘exploring economics’ and ‘case studies and applications’ boxes that do just that.
A highlight of the day for me was the session about how to make economics lectures interactive with students. This included conducting polls within lectures, playing games and getting students to ask questions and offer challenge using mobile apps.
The idea of a mid-lecture break specifically to allow everyone to check their mobiles was a useful tip to help ensure focus was on the lecture at all other times!
Building skills for employability
The workshop benefited from plenty of time for open group discussion where participants offered their own ideas and thoughts based on their experience. My own background is in the UK civil service as an applied economist, where I worked with many new economics graduates.
We had a productive discussion about ensuring that students were building skills for the workplace during their study of economics, including the need to apply economic concepts to new problems and the communication skills needed to make analysis impactful.
- the textbook Economics 10/E in print, eBook or enhanced eBook format
- an open access website for students discussing economic issues in the news
- MyLab Economics, a homework and assessment system for quizzes and tests, and
- instructor resources such as PowerPoint slides for lecturers.
Catch the next event
Pearson plan to hold another Economics Workshop this year at a different location. I would thoroughly recommend joining. It is an excellent opportunity to learn a lot and share your knowledge with others.
Contact Pearson to receive updates on future events.
About the author
Catherine Connolly runs economicsense, a specialist economics training provider focused on training for non-economists.