Teaching Tools

Creating a Productive Teaching Environment

How does a class setting influence student learning?  What actions create an environment that motivates and engages students?

Some of the factors that create a productive learning environment include:

  • Class begins promptly and in a well-organized way.
  • Learners are able to see the significance and importance of information they are learning.
  • The teacher provides clear explanations and holds attention and respect of students
  • Class time includes a variety of active, hands-on student learning
  • Clear, specific expectations for assignments are communicated.
  • Learners are provided with many concrete, real-life, practical examples.
  • The class environment is comfortable for students and allows them to speak freely.

For additional information on a productive learning environment, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students to describe learning environments that were most beneficial for them.
  • Have students describe an activity that would be beneficial for learning personal finance.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What are potential benefits and concerns for various actions that teachers might take?
  2. What actions make be taken to enhance the personal finance learning environment?
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What is Your Teaching Style?

Every teacher has a distinctive style that will hopefully engage students in the learning process and help them develop critical thinking skills.  As traditional teaching styles are adapted to meet the needs of varied students, consider these five main classroom strategies:

  1. Authority, or lecture style, is teacher-centered and may be appropriate for certain topics and settings. However, little or no interaction with the teacher may limit learning effectiveness.
  1. Demonstrator, or coach style, allows teachers show key concepts with the use of lectures, visuals, media, and exhibits. This approach may be difficult to implement in larger classrooms.
  1. Facilitator, or activity style, promotes self-learning and develops critical thinking skills, such as training students to ask questions and obtain skills to find answers.
  1. Delegator, or group style, provides opportunities for guided discovery and problem-based learning. The teacher serves as an observer role with students working toward a common goal.
  1. Hybrid, or blended style, offers an integrated approach to coordinate the personality of the teacher with the interests and needs of students.

Most important, is the engagement of students in the learning process along with a teaching style to address the needs of diverse students.

For additional information on teaching styles, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students to describe learning environments that were most effective for them.
  • Conduct a personal assessment to determine the teaching style that might best fit your situation.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What are potential benefits and concerns for various teaching styles in your class setting?
  2. How do the various teaching styles best fit your personality and your students?
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Personal Finance Quizzes

Need a lecture launcher to start your Personal Finance course?

Here a few links for resources:

Kiplingers Personal Finance Quizzes

LearnVest Quizzes

Financial Football Game

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the links in this blog post:

  • as a lecture launcher for the first day of your Personal Finance course.
  • to preview important personal finance topics that will be covered in the course.
  • stress why everyday decisions can make a “big” difference in the quality of a person’s life over a long period of time.

Discussion Questions

  1. How many of the questions did you get right?
  2. Do you understand why your incorrect answers are wrong and why there is a better answer?
  3. How can the questions in this quiz help you improve your ability to manage your personal finances and improve the quality of your life now and in the future?
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Critical Thinking in the Classroom

To prepare students for higher levels of analysis, faculty members must explicitly and

intentionally design courses to build critical thinking skills. General agreement exists that critical thinking involves interpretation or analysis, usually followed by evaluation or judgment. After students have mastered the subject matter, critical thinking can be developed with questions such as:

  • What are alternative points of view for this situation?
  • What are the costs and benefits of each alternative?
  • What assumptions are the basis for these alternatives?
  • What evidence exists for each alternative?
  • What additional information might be required in this situation?
  • What actions might be taken to identify the risks in this situation?
  • How might risks be reduced?

In this learning process, students should receive feedback so they can adapt and refine their thinking in future situations. Learning experiences that help to develop critical thinking include class discussions, debates, role playing, targeted journaling, case situations, and problem solving exercises. These instructional methods can encourage curiosity, encourage questions, and require that students explain and justify responses.

For additional information on critical thinking, click here:

Teaching Suggestions

  • Talk with students about their experiences with class assignments that have required them to think beyond just knowing basic facts.
  • Conduct online research to obtain additional information on how technology might be used to enhance critical thinking.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are potential benefits of critical thinking skills for students?
  2. What actions might be taken to improve critical thinking skills?
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Active Learning Strategies

To encourage student involvement and enhance long-term learning (more than memorization), consider the following:

  •  Case studies and simulation allow students to think and reflect, both individually and in groups. These real-world situations allow student to gain a broader view and increase understanding. An analysis of cases helps student develop higher levels of learning and enhances creative problem solving.
  • Concept maps, or frameworks, are visual representations for organizing knowledge and showing connections among various course topics.  Student-created concepts can be used to assess student understanding of relationships among various course concepts.
  • Short writing assignments can a valid gauge of student learning. Using open-ended questions can encourage reflection and feedback on the subject matter. Possible prompts for these short papers might include: (1) What was the most important learning from today’s class? (2) What topic needs to be further clarified? (3) How did you prepare for today’s class? (4) What was most beneficial about today’s class learning environment.:

For additional information on active learning strategies go to:

http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/three-active-learning-strategies-push-students-beyond-memorization/

 Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students to suggest ideas to enhance their involvement in class.
  • Conduct online research to obtain additional information on active learning strategies.

 Discussion Questions 

  1. What are potential benefits of active learning strategies?
  2. What concerns might be associated with active learning?
  3. What active learning techniques have you used?
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Mulligans aren’t just for golf.

How can you improve student engagement and participation?  Are there methods to reduce test anxiety?  The attached article uses a novel approach to address both of these issues through the use of gamification.  The game portion provides an avenue for students to earn small tokens for excellent work by mastering concepts, expanding classroom discussion, or demonstrating improvement in certain skills.  The costs are small: little stickers (which could even be made on a printer).  Here’s a link for free stickers:  http://www.stickersandcharts.com/smiley1.php.  The benefits are great: lively classrooms filled with more knowledgeable students.

For more information go to:
http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/using-mulligans-enhance-student-participation-reduce-text-anxiety/

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the difference between gamification and game-based learning?
  2. Why are “flow” and “fiero” important elements of the classroom environment?
  3. What ways will you use this idea in your classroom?

Teaching Suggestions

  • Use this article as a starting point to access how you can improve student participation and reduce test anxiety for your students.
  • Conduct online research to obtain additional information to see how other professors are motivating their students.
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Can You Pass a Personal Finance Test?

This quiz can be used as a lecture launcher to start your Personal Finance course.

Originally given to 5,000 high school seniors that participated in the JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, the 12 questions in the survey test students on their ability to manage financial resources such as

  • Credit cards
  • Insurance
  • Retirement planning and investments
  • Savings and spending options
  • Educational loans
  • Taxes

For more information go to  http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/pf/20060421c1.asp

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • As a lecture launcher for the first day of your Personal Finance course.
  • To preview important personal finance topics that will be covered in the course.
  • Stress why everyday decisions can make a “big” difference in the quality of a person’s life over a long period of time.

Discussion Questions

  1. How many of the 12 questions did you get right? (Note:  Correct answers are provided for all 12 questions.)
  2. Do you understand why your incorrect answers are wrong and why there is a better answer?
  3. How can the questions in this quiz help you improve your ability to manage your personal finances and improve the quality of your life now and in the future?
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The “Blended” Classroom.

Today, many students expect a more interactive learning experience involving technology. While not all students are best served by online classes, the use of blended (or hybrid) teaching can take advantage of both the face-to-face learning setting and technology-enhanced instruction.

In a blended class, part of the content delivery and instruction is through online delivery with students having some choice over time, place, path and pace. When planning and implementing a blended teaching approach, some suggested preliminary guidelines include:

  • Have a large vision but start small. Use selected elements of technology such as an online discussion board, student blog entries, or existing web-based videos.
  • Adapt your technology use based on your growing experiences. Ask students for their suggestions to enhance the interactive learning environment.
  • Use technology to enhance your existing learning goals. Make efficient use of online materials and other resources to improve what you already do.
  • Connect virtual instructional resources and experiences to the face-to-face learning environment. Keep students accountable for their online activities with application exercises and in-class assessment.
  • Move students from being consumers of information to producers of information with assignments that require comprehensive research reports, case study analyses, visual summaries (such as infographics), and student-created video productions.
  • Take advantage of resources not available to previous generations, such as online lectures of experts in the field and virtual tours.

For additional information on a blended teaching and flipped classrooms go to:

Discussion Questions

  1. What are potential benefits of using a blended teaching approach?
  2. What concerns might be associated with a blended teaching approach?
  3. What actions might you consider taking to move toward blended teaching.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Talk with students about their experiences with blended classrooms and the use of technology to enhance the learning process.
  • Conduct online research to obtain additional information on the experiences of people who make use of a blended learning environment.
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A New Chapter For the Kapoor Team…

Hello Everyone,

We are excited to bring you another resource that you can use as part of the Kapoor Personal Finance package.  We have started this blog to provide you with materials that you can use in your class each day.  Each of the posts will be linked based upon Chapter categories as well as Financial Planning topics.  We will work hard to continue to populate this site with new ideas and articles that you can bring to your classroom.

Best,
Jack Kapoor, Les Dlabay, Bob Hughes, and Melissa Hart

 

 

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