I have been an adjunct professor of economics
for Regis University for more than 15 years, primarily teaching microeconomics
. As such, I have extensive experience with several text books and a host of problem sets/exams. In my experience, I find the main impediments to understanding economics generally fall into the following areas:
(1) Conceptual understanding - Starting with supply and demand relationships, I strive to teach the fundamentals through illustration and examples from real life. This includes topics such as market equilibrium, shift factors, elasticity, price floors, price ceilings, etc. Further, production theory appears to be the next greatest challenge for the beginning microeconomics student. On the macroeconomics side, Keynesian economics, aggregate supply/aggregate demand, national income accounting
and classical economics often are the main challenges, but not the only ones. A one-on-one conversation on these topics, with different examples and exercises, usually results in student understanding of these concepts with improvement in performance on exams and homework.
(2) Rusty math
skills - I use algebra
in my tutoring and occasionally I find the student who has forgotten how to form and manipulate ratios, find the slope of a line, or perform other algebraic operations. Unless a student is comfortable with algebra, it becomes an impediment when trying to solve economic problems. I check to make sure the student knows these operations so s/he can use these tools to solve the problems presented in economics that require math skills.
(3) Graphaphobia - Some people just don't understand how graphs work. Normally, graphs are a pictorial version of a table of data values that are plotted and reveal relationships among the data; e.g., supply and demand. Graphs are easier to understand in contrast to working with mathematical equations to find answers. I also make sure that students understand the basics of how to construct and manipulate a graph.
I focus on economics instruction because that is what I know best. I have also taught accounting, statistics
planning; however, there are other tutors available for those topics. Economics is not a particularly easy subject, especially if you have never been exposed to it. However, realize you are constantly making economic decisions in your personal life, and it is helpful to link the theory with your personal world when trying to grasp the concepts. I teach, but I also spend a lot of time with back and forth on the topics and associated problem sets so that economic theory becomes embedded in your brain, and this difficult subject becomes understandable.
In addition to tutoring on college-level economics, I also am available for high school students who wish to pursue AP economics