(Chapter 8 of Time for Business)
This topic has strong links to LO 1.8 and is also relevant for LO’s 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1 and 2.6. The material dealt with in the chapter provides students with knowledge and understanding of the role and importance of financial institutions. It outlines the array of financial services on offer to households and individuals and should provide students with a strong foundation for further study of related topics including savings and borrowing.
Yet again this is a familiar topic for those of us who have been teaching the ‘old’ Junior Cert Business Studies syllabus and I don’t think I changed my teaching approach too much from what I’d done in the past. I did however make a lot more use of the activities in the textbook and student activity book and felt this helped to dilute what can be an ‘information heavy’ topic. As ever students enjoyed the ‘doing’ aspects associated with filling forms and foreign exchange calculations, though a small number of students found the numeracy element challenging. It was a big advantage that so many of my students already had personal experience of financial institutions. The vast majority had at least one account in at least one financial institution.
I made a particular point of examining the impact of digital technology on personal banking (links with LO 2.6 and TFB chapter 21). Students undertook some research and prepared posters and infographics outlining the how to use an ATM and the importance of PIN security. This was the first time that we made a concerted effort to develop infographics and the standard of the work varied widely. I think it was partly my fault and in future I will make sure to discuss and agree the success criteria with students in advance of the activity. I hope this will provide them with greater clarity and will lead to better quality infographics.
I also made use of the following link (a UK website) in order to enable students to practice using an ATM:
This worked really well on the interactive white board and students were able to explore a range of services on offer.
Finally I focused quite a bit of attention on the bank statement. I think the ability to analyse this document is a very important skill for students to acquire.
Having studied Household Budgeting (Learning Outcome 1.12) and Analysed Cash Books I deviated a little from the scheme of work outlined in the Teacher Resource Book.
I had always felt that the ‘personal financial lifecycle’ (see Time for Business Chapter 4 and LO 1.3) represented something of a capstone element for Strand 1. To me at least, it seemed more appropriate to provide students with a detailed insight into to each of the individual elements (budgeting, taxation, pensions, insurance etc.) before finally connecting all of them at the end through the creation of a realistic and comprehensive personal financial life cycle.
During most of the writing process for the textbook, this had been my intention and approach but I later decided to reorder the chapters so as to follow the Learning Outcomes’s (LO's) more sequentially. It should be pointed out that there is absolutely no requirement to follow the chapters, or indeed the LO’s, in any specific order. Having said that, there are clearly some concepts that are more fundamental than others and also some related chapters that make up distinct ‘units of learning’.
As I reviewed the material again in preparation for my class, I began to feel that my initial instincts had been valid and in some sense this LO was misplaced. It strengthened my conviction to deal with each element in turn before tying the whole lot up with the life cycle later in the year. At the same time I still wanted to reinforce the idea of making plans to suit changing personal circumstances and aspirations (see household budgeting), so I spent just one class outlining the concept of a personal financial life cycle to students.
I really just used the infographic on page 30 of TFB textbook to start a discussion on changing financial needs. I put the diagram on the whiteboard and we had a ‘chat’ about what it meant. We also looked at the case studies for Emily and Priyal on page 33 of TFB textbook. The students contributed really well to this discussion although their knowledge and understanding was superficial in some areas. Overall though they really seemed to grasp the basic premise that financial needs change over time and planning should reflect those changes. We did not however get into any detailed discussion of issues like taxation, insurance or pension planning.
If the intention of the new specification is to “meet the students where they are”, it was clear to me that some of them at least were not quite at a stage where pension planning or taxation was on their radar. I only spent a single 40 minute class on this topic. I will return to it at a later date, having completed the chapters on household finance, insurance and taxation. I feel students will have a better understanding of the issues at that point and should be in a better position to prepare a realistic personal financial life cycle.
Click below to return to the 'Time for Business' website