– October 17, 2016

Photo by Natalia V. Smirnova

Last week I attended the Council for Economic Education’s 55th Annual Financial Literacy and Economic Education Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Every year this conference gathers K–12 educators, council affiliates from across the country, Federal Reserve partners, and other educators. AIER collaborates with the council’s regional affiliates, as well as other partners, on the Teach-the-Teachers Initiative  program.

In addition to clinics and professional presentations, there were four research sessions at the conference. These sessions showcased many research projects that either evaluate the state standards in K-12 education or evaluate a program’s impact. I was fortunate to be selected to present the results of our Teach-the-Teachers Initiative’s novel approach, Economics Across the Curriculum.

The Economics-Across-the-Curriculum approach encourages the integration of economic concepts into various disciplines. This helps teachers and students experience the beauty of interdisciplinary connections among topics, and engage in intellectual inquiry beyond the impermeable walls of a single-subject area. The participants’ diversity in subject matter generates cross-pollination of ideas, dynamism, and an interdisciplinary approach to teaching.

AIER has run this program for three years so far. The first two cycles (2014 and 2015) were held at our campus in the beautiful Berkshires. In 2016, we branched out and held this program at the locations of the Federal Reserve Banks in Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago. I was proud to present the impact of our program through the three cycles. We worked directly with 122 teachers and 483 students. But each teacher will continue to bring their expertise to more and more students through the years. If, on average, each teacher educates 75 students every year, we have indirectly had an impact on more than 9,000 students so far.

I also shared several lessons that were field-tested by our alumni teachers in their classrooms after the completion of the program. I hope that those lessons serve as catalysts for other innovative ideas to integrate economics across the high school curriculum.

In the summer of 2017 we are planning Economics Across the Curriculum workshops in St. Louis, Miami, and Omaha.

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Natalia Smirnova, PhD

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