In his previous blog post, co-author of Time for Business Joe Stafford reflects on his experience of teaching Learning Outcome 1.1 for the first time. In this post, Joe shares how students are engaging with the new material, how they are already linking to material from Strand 3 and how many students didn't realise that they get a free e-book with the hard copy of the textbook.
Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!
The last section of Chapter 1 deals with financial resources and the fact that “money doesn’t grow on trees”. Students offered great explanations of what that expression means and the discussions which followed gave rise to interesting questions, such as “Why doesn't the government just print lots of extra money?” I encouraged students to offer suggestions for this and some excellent answers were offered which related to money losing its value, etc. One student said that prices would probably rise, but she didn’t have the vocabulary to use the term ‘inflation’. I introduced the term and provided a very brief and simple explanation. Hopefully this will serve us well in Strand 3. The concepts of supply and demand also originated from students, although again they didn’t all have the understanding or vocabulary to deal with it in anything more than a very simple way. We used an example of concert tickets or the upcoming All Ireland Final to illustrate what happened when something we want is in strong demand but supply is strictly limited. This is also Strand 3 material and highlights how it’s almost impossible to avoid a blended approach to this new specification. I certainly had no intention when planning the lesson of introducing the concepts of supply and demand, but this accidental blending was unavoidable as the issue was raised by students. This will provide more opportunities for layering as we progress through the learning outcomes.
When addressing the question of where future income may come from, students managed to list all of the familiar sources including wages, income from benefits, pension and student grants. One student expressed strong views on the receipt of benefits as an ongoing source of income. We steered clear of a full blown debate on this issue, but it will surely be revisited in subsequent chapters dealing with household income and the purpose of taxation. Again, it was interesting to see how students engaged with the material and how it impacted on their thought processes.
Textbooks, Homework…and Abba!
I should mention that students didn’t have textbooks for the first couple of lessons. I therefore posed a series of questions to kick start the discussion and to scaffold student learning. I used the whiteboard and the Edco Digital site to display some segments of the textbook to the whole class, particularly the definitions, images and textbook activities, but we didn’t read through the chapter in its entirety. The benefit of this was that there was a lot of discussion and debate amongst the class group and I really think this helped with student engagement. I also used the whiteboard to record the key points made by students during discussions.
I tended to set a research task for homework to set the scene for the following lesson. Over the course of a week, the vast majority of students managed to get copies of text and activity books. At this stage I then assigned reading homework to ensure students had to engage with the text and revise material covered in class in previous lessons, for example, I asked the students to find some songs or quotations related to money. They really enjoyed this and found some very interesting quotations dealing with money, wealth and value, etc. Students were more than happy to read them out in class and we discussed what some of them really meant. For example, “nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing” and “we buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like”. Students are now in the process of making small posters using some of the quotations and these will be displayed in the classroom.
On the music side we had contributions from Jessie J (Price Tag) and Abba (Money, Money, Money). We had a bit of fun with this!
As the students did not have activity books from the outset, we had to tackle the activities in a large chunk at the end of the chapter. This was useful from the point of view of revision, but in future I will definitely have students use the activity book on an ongoing basis. Having said that, I was very happy that the textbook activities kept the students engaged and provided many opportunities for individual and group work. These activities were completed in their copies or comments were added to the white board.
E-books and PowerPoints.
I demonstrated to students how to access the free e-version of their textbook. This meant they could leave the textbook in their locker in school and could rely on the digital version for revision and homework. Some of the students hadn’t realised that this was possible and I was glad I’d brought it to their attention - as were they!
Although I had a PowerPoint presentation prepared to support the textbook material (and our PowerPoint’s will be available as a digital resource soon) I didn’t actually make use of it. The student discussions and group work seemed to me to be more in line with the spirit of the new specification. Due to the high level of student engagement I felt the PowerPoints were not required for my lessons on this topic. If using them in future I would be inclined to use them in the background or as a way of revising and summing up a topic.
Co-author of Time for Business Joe Stafford teaches Junior Cycle Business Studies in a mixed ability setting in a co-educational school with four 40 minute classes per week.
The video on this page on the Irish Times website looks at spending alternatives for the €110million which Manchester United paid to Juventus for the footballer. It's light-hearted and uses 'currency' which the students are familiar with, e.g. Tayto Crisps, cars, etc.
It would be a great ice-breaker and introduction to the topic of opportunity cost and should certainly help students to think of alternative uses for money.
If you wish to take it to a deeper level and explore some economic theory, there is scope to look at the impact of supply and demand on price (transfer fees) and perhaps also the purchasing power of a player who reportedly earns €220,000 per week. That would buy an awful lot of Taytos, but might be subject to diminishing marginal utility!
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