September 14, 2017 Reading Time: 2 minutes

One of the operating principles of AIER is to produce useful, practical, and actionable information. Therefore, the main goal of the Teach-the-Teachers Initiative is to educate K-12 teachers about the essence and application to everyday life of the concepts of money, inflation, business cycles, unemployment, and property rights. The second goal of the TTI is to provide teachers with useful pedagogical approaches to effectively transmit this information to students. Students then can understand the practical application of economic concepts, such as protected property rights and the role of government to protect individual freedom. With this knowledge, both teachers and students are empowered to be responsible for their own well-being, to have increased control over their own lives, and to achieve their potential.

The value added of the program is twofold: the impact, and the reach to new audiences.

The Impact

The Teach-the-Teachers program’s impact is measured by the number of students we reach by training the teachers. The education industry estimates the impact of one teacher to be 75 students per year. Since the initial workshop four years ago we have trained 173 teachers and impacted around 14,000 students to date. Our model of “teach one, reach many” seems to be a highly efficient mechanism for growing our impact.

Another measure of the impact is the students’ learning. We have hard evidence from more than 700 students who were instructed by their AIER-trained teachers, and exhibited increased knowledge of the economics topic they were taught. Several of my blogs describe this evidence.

The Reach

The second value-added proposition of the Teach-the Teachers program is our economics-across-the-curriculum approach. The national and regional Councils for Economic Education usually reach only economics teachers and social studies teachers. We are recruiting from additional disciplines such as math, science, foreign languages, and English language arts. This provides us with an opportunity to reach a broader audience and grow the program’s impact. I summarized the diversity of 2017 TTI participants in this blog.

We now await the results of the 2017 field tests. These are the ideas teachers generated at the workshops this summer to implement in their classrooms. We are confident that an increasing number of students will be beneficiaries of our efforts to bring economics to life and to enable them to make informed decisions.


Picture: participants of the Teach-the-Teachers workshop in Omaha, NE, July 11-13, 2017.


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Natalia Smirnova, PhD

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