Thursday, December 31, 2009

Teaching Economics in Light of the Financial Crisis

John Taylor (of "the Taylor Rule") poses a very intriguing question in this post on Economics One from last Saturday. And while the formal implication for many of us (especially at the high school level) is probably some time off, his argument is sound.

He proposes dropping the traditional micro/macro division when teaching introductory economics courses. His case rests on the assertion (and I agree) that for students to really understand the current crisis takes a mixture of some micro and some macro principles. I believe the best way to help students understand economics is to put in context. But very few real life examples are strictly micro issues or strictly macro issues. They can be stripped down to one or the other, but doing so often forces us to omit something.

To what extent do you "mix" micro and macro, especially if you're teaching an AP or IB econ course and your students' focus is "the test"? I would welcome your thoughts on this. I think Taylor's case is very good.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Love the "stone age" resistant to change video clip! I put it on my class facebook page this morning.
I had read Taylor's post on micro/macro and whether they should be combined rather than taught separately. Interestingly I've found I do this although not quite to the extent he suggests. I teach macro first because of Fed Challenge, but of course the first part of the macro course then needs to be micro. I have always been unwilling to end talking about the current economy and what they studied in macro when I teach micro second semester.Thus my students continue to study macro and its applications in micro. I would like to try a course that combines both instead of the separation. Perhaps we should require a yearlong AP Econ course instead of allowing some students to opt out of micro second semester. Mostly it is a scheduling issue rather than whether they want to take micro. Things to think about as we head into the second semester.
Thanks Tim for the valuable resources and insight. Happy New Year to you and your family.