Economist for hire!

During the recent mutual observation week, I had the opportunity to observe a variety of lessons, including one particular geography lesson that was based around financial flows, and the links to economic development. As an economist, I was in my element! It was particularly interesting to think about how much of my course’s specification was potentially being taught outside of the economics classroom and just how many of our courses overlap in content.

Much has been written on the benefits of curriculum mapping, yet the practice seems far more common at primary, not secondary level. At Oakham, the Lower school makes a concerted effort to drive an inter-disciplinary approach, but by Upper school, subjects (and the way I have approached teaching) can be seen to be discrete in nature. And whilst there are certainly reasons for this separation, some kind of collaboration between different subject specialists must be beneficial to learning outcomes.

Below is a quote taken from Mehrenberg on the benefits of team teaching across departments;

“The interaction of two teachers—both the intellectual interaction involved
in the design of the course, and the pedagogical interaction in the teaching of the
course—creates a dynamic environment that reflects the way scholars make
meaning of the world. The process naturally breaks down the teacher-centered
classroom by creating a scholarly community in which teachers and students work
together to understand important ideas, and where students don’t just learn
content, but begin to understand how knowledge is constructed, grasp the
connections between disciplines as well as their different perspectives, see greater
coherence in the curriculum, and appreciate how having more than one teacher in
the classroom leads naturally to dialogue and active learning” Mehrenberg 2012

So here is my offer. I am making myself available as an Economist to any colleague who can think of a use for me! Any age, any subject, any time, I will come and deliver content that you would like to be taught. Whether it is the impact of Thatcherite policies for thespians studying Billy Elliot, an accountancy game for F1 mathematicians or an in depth look into the Wall Street crash for historians, just contact me and let’s see what we can do!

SJJ 17/11/17

2 thoughts on “Economist for hire!

  1. sjjoakham

    If anyone is interested in using me please do email me at sjj@oakham.rutland.sch.uk

    Likewise if you would like to have a go at teaching some of the economics course, I am more than happy to accommodate! Off the top of my head the following subjects could be covered;

    Maths – Statistical analysis of economic data/Advanced Calculus for aspiring undergraduate economists
    Geography/Biologist – Understanding of economic and social impacts of pollution
    History – History of the UK and various financial crises
    Business/Design – How to market/design a product for non-price competition
    Politics/Philosopher – The issues and difficulties of Economic policy making

    This list is by no means exhaustive, so please do make suggestions!

    Like

  2. Jenny Toerien

    Thank you for such an inspiring and refreshing post. As you say, there has been work going on for some time encouraging conversations about an interdisciplinary approach in the Lower School. Primary schools are brilliant at blurring subject boundaries and studying the world through a series of lenses rather than trying to divide it into neat little boxes. In secondary school there is a real danger of retreating into our subject specialisms and losing those vital connections. In the Library we have been working for some time on producing a dynamic, searchable map of the whole School curriculum (beginning in the Lower School and working upwards) in order to make the kinds of links you are talking about visible and to actively promote interdisciplinary collaboration. We are also mapping the teaching of various academic skills that most subjects will draw upon at some point (known within the School as FOSIL skills). There is already some amazing work going on across the School and we are always looking for people to join that conversation, in terms of how we go about mapping what is already taught, how the curriculum might be rearranged and reshaped to fit together more coherently and how individual teachers or whole departments might work together to use their specialist knowledge to teach linked topics more effectively.

    Students walk freely between classrooms and subjects all day, every day, while teachers mostly stay within one or two closely connected subjects. It can be a humbling experience to shadow a student for a day and remember how disconnected the student experience can be. How can it not be in our interests to make their experience of education as coherent and “joined up” as possible?

    “A “coherent” curriculum is one that holds together, that makes sense as a whole; and its parts, whatever they are, are unified and connected by that sense of the whole. The idea of coherence begins with a view of the curriculum as a broadly conceived concept – as the curriculum – that is about “something.” It is not simply a collection of disparate parts or pieces that accumulate in student experiences and on transcripts. A coherent curriculum has a sense of the forest as well as the trees, a sense of unity and connectedness, of relevance and pertinence. Parts or pieces are connected or integrated in ways that are visible and explicit. There is a sense of a larger, compelling purpose and actions are tied to that purpose.”
    – Beane, J. A. (1995). Introduction: What is a Coherent Curriculum? In ASCD, Toward a Coherent Curriculum (pp. 1-14). Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

    If anyone would like to join the conversation about how to map our curriculum most effectively (particularly in the Middle and Upper School) and how to use that map to develop the coherent curriculum that our students both need and deserve, or even just to see the work we have done so far, please contact Darryl Toerien at dt@oakham.rutland.sch.uk.

    Liked by 1 person

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