Business Studies Blog
Chapter 3: Household Expenditure
By happy coincidence the following article, was published just before I began my lessons on household expenditure.
As a result I was able to provide students with a very short introduction to the topic, before using the article as a scaffolding exercise. We read the article together in class and teased out the new vocabulary. We created a list of key words. I also asked students to make a list of the major categories of household spending. For homework the students created bar charts to represent the information.
All in all this proved to be a relatively straightforward chapter to teach, again because of the familiarity of the material to both teacher and students. The students seemed to grasp the key concepts pretty quickly and displayed good understanding when completing activities in class and for homework.
There is quite a lot of numeracy involved in this chapter and for the most part students were happy to engage with it. There are certainly plenty of opportunities for students to practice numeracy activities and most seemed to enjoy the challenge.
I felt that the section dealing with analysis of household spending patterns was very important and I made a special effort to connect the news article (used at the outset) to the material on pages 26 -28 of the textbook. This textbook material uses charts to illustrate and analyse household expenditure by category and also deals with solutions to overspending. It’s very much a personal view, but I perceive this material to be very relevant from an exam perspective. It also helps build understanding for the household budgeting chapters which follow.
Leaving aside the exam perspective for the moment, it’s important to bear in mind that an over-arching aim here is the promotion and development of ‘positive’ spending habits in our students. By this I mean providing them with the capacity to develop sustainable patterns of expenditure which are closely aligned to both their needs and their resources. Many financial difficulties experienced by households are the result of poor and unsustainable patterns of spending rather than once-off financial mishaps. Households are more likely to live beyond their means when they focus on wants over needs; prioritise discretionary expenditure over more important fixed expenditure or continuously make high value purchases on impulse. Changing or preventing these types of spending patterns is where the life-long learning occurs. This chapter is really about starting that discussion and raising awareness. Don’t forget that L.O. 1.2 makes clear reference to “best managing financial resources” and “making informed and responsible judgements”.
I focused a little on students own spending, but was reluctant to analyse it too much mainly because I was conscious of the different financial circumstances within the class. While the students did some homework on this, it was never openly discussed in class in order to avoid any potential embarrassment for students. Students personal spending was however useful for revisiting the issue of discretionary income and highlighting examples of discretionary expenditure.
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