Microfinance in Action
How can high school students learn about globalization in an economics course?
In an increasingly globalized world the standard skill set of a global citizen is rapidly shifting. While it would be impossible to give the students every bit of skill and knowledge they will need to be competitive in the global marketplace, one program is setting about to make a small change in how high school students approach economics that looks to be paying big dividends.
The teachers at Southwind High School in Memphis, TN have implemented a completely unique approach to teaching economics students about globalization and microfinance.
The project, currently in progress, involves the students in project-based learning to address multiple student skills including:
- critical thinking
- global citizenship, and
So how has this school approached this project and how successful have they been in its implementation? This ambitious endeavor is projected to take three years to implement.
Incorporating Problem Based Learning with Global Economic Issues
For economics students at Southwind High, things have changed. No longer the victims of textbooks and lectures, these students participate in an integrated curriculum on globalization.
What does an integrated curriculum exploring globalization and economics look like?
First, students work in groups to develop awareness of important concepts for the project. Research topics include:
- United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
- economic, political, and social issues of a particular developing nation
- use of microfinance to promote economic growth and sustainability
Next, using ‘future problem solving’ skills, the groups develop a solution to address those issues in their selected country.
Finally, students will present their findings to the Ambassador of their selected country. Presentations will also be shared in a guidebook entitled Microfinance in Action: A Guide for Teenagers that will be used to supplement other high school economics courses.
How are real world skills and field experiences incorporated into the project?
In addition to the web research conducted, student groups communicate via Skype to high schools in developing nations. Using social media, students promote awareness of global economic issues, publishing research to a global awareness blog and producing video documentary segments. The blog also invites other schools to get involved or start their own program.
Students also have the opportunity to travel to various locations in the United States and Central America to document individual stories of those most affected by economic issues. During that time students will produce presentations on research they have conducted on economic, political, and cultural issues on selected developing nations.
What is the impact of this project so far?
During year one, students created the project website where you can watch the project unfold. (http://shskivamemphis.weebly.com). Groups have completed their Global research and the first two chapters of the Guidebook have been drafted and are being revised. The students and participating faculty traveled both to the Global Youth Institute as well as to Mississippi to film their documentary projects. So far, the program served 150 students at Southwind as well as teachers from ten different schools.
How can this project inspire other educators?
By taking such a unique and global perspective on economics, teachers Biba S. Kavass and Landon Hawthorne are insuring their students will have a much easier time navigating the global market place due to the early exposure to real economic disparity issues and their subsequent research and involvement.
Project-based learning and integrated curriculum are powerful opportunities to engage students and build real world skills. Here are some resources to explore for developing similar projects for your students.
- Future Problem Solving Skills Program
- Integrating Globalization into the Curriculum
- Three Ideas for a 21st Century Global Currlculum
- Teaching Global
- New York Times Learning Network: Globalization
- Pbl (pcreadingposts.wordpress.com)
- The Joy of Project Based Learning (nsparks89.wordpress.com)
- Project Based Learning in a 1:1 School (karenmcvay.com)
- The PBL Super Highway… Over 45 Links To Great Project Based Learning (21centuryedtech.wordpress.com)
This entry was posted in Academic Enrichment, Student Engagement, Student Publishing, Technology and tagged authentic learning, economics, education, Globalization, High school, integrated curriculum, Louisiana, Memphis, microfinance, Millennium Development Goals, Project-based learning, social media, Southwind High School.