Monday, March 26, 2012
Monday, November 7, 2011
I started the term with an HBR article on "The end of the rational consumer." This article provokes the student to challenge the basic premise on which economic principles are built - rationality of the consumer and his ability to further his self interest. The article questions the invisible hand, the revenge motive of customers and the questions the premises of behavioral economics. I followed this up with two other HBR articles when discussing consumer behavior - Understanding the post recession consumer and how to market in a downturn. Again in these articles we questioned the basic comparison between a post growth society and an emerging one.
Economics Education has to be contemporary especially in a business school context. As much as we need to focus on the framework of the theory, we also need to tap the world around us and connect the classroom to these experiences. Considering the changing economic paradigm, as teachers in this profession, we need to be able to create a motivating environment; one which questions the basic theory and also updates the research in the field with the stories from the business world.
Shiller's article talks of the challenges in teaching macroeconomics. Teaching the course for about 6 years now, I have realised that the business students need a more general understanding of the concepts and their usability and not necessarily the theoretical rigor that economics graduates go through. To make the sessions more connected to the real world, I used debates and book readings as part of the course. Student teams were allotted one of the Economics Bestsellers (Freakonomics, The World is Flat, Rogue Economics, Undercover Economist... to name a few). They came up with a presentation (in the form of cartoon strips, poems, crosswords, puzzles, treasure hunt etc..) of the book assigned to them, which were then put up in a showcase.
We also had a series of student debates on issues of current relevance in the course. These were structured to help the students deliberate and consolidate their understanding of the big picture of the world economy. This would also help them relate to the learning of concepts in the class with the real world situation.
Teaching Economics in the downturn is a greater challenge because in the process of evaluating the current situation, students also have to come to terms with questions of their career choices. It is important to make classroom learning environment vibrant with extensive student participation in times like these, as they get to question, challenge and critique the world around them, create opinions, appreciate diverse viewpoints and also emotionally connect to the changing economic paradigm.
My Economics classes this term were more exciting than ever. It has always been a challenge to engage a bunch of young minds especially an inquisitive one. Considering the dynamically evolving economic scenario, economics teaching is a lot of fun, challenge and hard work.
I hope I have done justice thus far!!!
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Attending the session on "why we give" was stimulating. In the last so many years, I have never looked at social service as a career option, but sitting through the sessions in Resource Mobilization and seeing the very motivated participants was indeed an eye-opener. One of the questions being discussed was "why do people give". The first answer that came to my mind is that I have been more fortunate than so many others and good fortune must be shared. As I see young girls going to the school opposite my house, I am reminded of the days I sat behind on my dad's bicycle as he took me to school. It is not just the opportunity of education, but the faith, affection and the freedom to be myself.
I wish I could give that back to someone. Not just the money to help educate a girl child, but help give her the courage to take on life and inspire others. The other reason why we give (as in the discussion was) - that we feel guilty. Most participants at the meet felt that money was one form of giving, but more important was the time and the effort of being involved.
As we went through the ten days, I realised how much privileged I have been and that the work I was doing in an elitist environment was not really helping transformation. It has only strengthened my resolve to do more for the not so fortunate children. I hope I will muster the courage to make the decision sooner than later......