Unfortunately, the way economics is typically taught today is extremely confusing for many students. The frustration that results even in introductory level classes is often palpable. If that describes your experience, don't beat yourself up. The primary problem is not with your understanding: the problem is that academic economics is completely divorced from common sense! Let's reason together:
Economics is based on several core assumptions that are in place so that the math works out smoothly.
A. People are always rational (okay...)
B. People always maximize utility (what's utility?... well, money I guess)
C. People are essentially the same (whatever...)
Please note that the real wold, if anything, tells us that the exact opposite of these assumptions is true. No wonder it is difficult to get an understanding of economics: it's modeling a fictional world! The good news is that if we get underneath all the formal jargon of the subject, there are...
Teaching, Poverty and Society
By Ricardo Giraldo C, MA Education, MBA Business Economics
Teaching and learning are an essential part of life; however not everyone is willing to teach sharing their knowledge. We can hear many excuses to avoid teaching to someone like "you have to love children to be a teacher, teachers are special people, to be a teacher you must have a lot of patience and motivation, too much work and low gratification, teaching someone is bringing competition into your workplace, threatens your job stability and more. The list of excuses go on and on, but at the end they are only dramatic excuses that accomplishes nothing because they do not help to reduce the gaps of poverty and the development of a society.
Learning about life and basic education begins in the home, the schools and finished in the streets; all these experiences...
Economics is a tough subject. It can be difficult to explain the more esoteric concepts, especially marginal cost. As I was working with a student today, he had some difficulty understanding how I had arrived at an answer to a problem. He seemed to have an easier time understanding the concept of average total cost of production, perhaps because of the fact that it is linked to a math concept that is highly familiar to him. On the other hand, a strategy that worked well with this student was giving an example of what might happen to a specific business if specific things happened in a market. This helped him to understand the concept of a decreasing cost market.
My next steps in tutoring economics will include providing visual aids for the concept of marginal cost, and possibly the concept of average total cost.
Lately I've realized just how stressful economics can be, particularly for students with English as a second or third language. Trying to explain utility and utils to someone a few days ago, all I could think about was my own AP Econ professor, with his southern drawl, and a look he reserved for confused students.
Someone would ask a question. There'd be a pause. Wearing his varsity football coach jacket, he'd sigh, and make eye contact with whoever had asked the question. Then, it was more like he was looking at you for something in particular - did you really not understand the concept, or were you confused by how the word was being used? Different questions would require very different answers.
As a student who was frequently confused with the use of terms in a different context than I was used to, I hated that look. For the first month of classes, I was convinced he hated me, and that I was going to fail miserably. Every time we got a test or quiz...
I've tutored and taught at the college level for years now, and one fact continues to strike me, no matter how long I do.
Tutoring is hard.
Okay, lots of things are hard. Neurosurgery, rocket science, teaching economics. Those are hard.
But tutoring at the college level is surprisingly hard. Even harder than teaching university courses, from my perspective.
"Teaching", of course, is a broad term. It encompasses everything from curriculum design to student assessment to tutoring students during office hours. What I'm talking about here is the core teaching task of lecturing – standing in front of a class and explaining stuff.
Lecturing well is no walk in the park, naturally. You have to know the material, organize it well, explain things clearly, give good examples, answer questions, and even be a bit of an entertainer. And these days be something of an expert with technology.
But all things considered, that's easy next to tutoring.
Congratulations to MADISON for her dedication and good grades in her challenging business classes. Madison, we're proud of you for doing a great job--it looks like you're going to get A's and B's in all of your classes. Since you are taking some very challenging subjects, passing them all and getting good grades is a praiseworthy accomplishment on your part!
My recommended strategy to Students at all academic levels for learning and successfully passing the course at all modalities (on-line, on-ground) is the culmination of at least ten years of teaching and tutoring statistics at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels in business, management, sciences, social studies, and psychology. It consists of the following:
1. The first is to learn how to overcome fear and anxiety from the unknown and look at tutoring as a prudent investment to your immediate future and success. Engage the tutor from the start of the course and don't prolong the decision because of the complexity and quantitative nature of the subject area. This component of the overall strategy is to keep the weekly normal pace and retain basic real life knowledge for ongoing participation in the political and economic process of the National affairs and State-of-the-Union.
2. Academic Reading Materials and Study Guides encompass three distinct sections without...
Math is all around us! Recently, math was used to calculate the predicted winner of the upcoming Presidential election! Every four years a predicted outcome is calculated based on numerous factors(some including the current economic situation of each state and previous election results(blue or red state)); all of these factors go into a prediction/forecasting equation with usually around a 75% chance of being accurate. 75% chance!! What sort of subjects go into this type of equation?? Well for starters, basic algebra. Next, a LOT of statistics. Lastly, equal amounts of economics!
Another instance-how do they come up with the price of a cup of coffee? Why isn't coffee just 25 cents? Well, if you calculated how much each cup of coffee you get out of a Folger's tin, its probably close to 25 cents or a lot less. Why? Its all about FACTORS. What is the difference between a Folger's cup of coffee and a Direct Trade cup of coffee bought at your local coffee shop? Just to name a few: Cost...
The new school year beckons - be it middle or high school, college or post graduate study. Fall college visits, applications and essays are also just around the corner.
Get a jump on what you or your child may need in terms of support for specific academic subjects, computer skills, standardized tests (SSAT, ISEE, PSAT, SAT, ACT, ASVAB, GRE, etc.). I look forward to continuing my track record of success with students to assist them in maximizing their potential and achievements.
The worst thing for a student can be summer vacations. The last thing on their minds is to keep up on what they learned throughout the previous school year. They want fun, freedom, excitement. None of these are often used by students to describe learning or school. However, it is important to their continued mental development that they maintain their level of understanding from school year to school year. Too much time is lost at the beginning of each school year trying to catch back up. This slipping backward can be avoided by doing simple skills every day during summer vacation.
Math students should continue to work on math problems throughout the summer. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division can be done easily without pen or paper. A trip to the store or gas station can be a quick quiz for most elementary math students if a motivated parent or sibling is willing to ask them questions. Fun and entertaining math problems can be found online as well that can engage a...
It is often examples that make ideas understandable to students and current events can be a good source of examples. Case in point. Today in Wisconsin, the issue of the day is the outcome of the recall elections and problems with the exit polling. As a tutor, the outcome isn’t interesting, but exit polling like all surveys is key to the usefulness of statistics! In fact, it gives a great opportunity to illustrate some of the basic (and non-mathematical) ideas and concepts of statistics — usually the ideas presented at the beginning of most introduction-to-statistics courses.
Statistical inferences are grounded in some basic definitions and assumptions (in bold). A
population is a defined collection of individuals that we want to know some data about and a
sample is a group taken from the population that we are going to actually collect data from (Sullivan, 2010, p. 5; Triola, 2010, p. 4). If we wanted to know the actual data about a population, which is called a
A study techniques can be utilized to tackle any subject, especially when you are required to retain information on multiple subjects. There are many techniques that can be used and some of which I found helped me survive both undergraduate school and graduate school. I've listed some of them below for you and provide an explanation of each.
1. Mnemonics or mnemonic device - is a learning technique that aids memory. To improve long term memory, mnemonic systems are used to make memorization easier. They do so by increasing efficiency of the process of consolidation of facts and information. This process involves the conversion of short term memory to long term memory.
2. Outlining - This should be a two step process. You should begin outlining at the beginning of the course and continually updating the outline as the course proceeds. During your finals week, you should then take your long course outline and condense it down to a two page key word memory jogger or concept jogger...
Each year we turn a calendar over to January 1st and remarkably feel like it is a new beginning. For many it is just one more day in the count down to January final exams. For others it is decision time - do I stay in school another semester and take a break?
Education is never a gamble. It will always be a benefit to those who put forth the effort. For those who are struggling in a formal program at a college or university, it is worth while to remember that self-education is also a proven route. There are many very successful people who developed knack for assimilating new information and putting it to work for themselves. If you are thinking about leaving school due to poor grades or perhaps inadequate financial resources, consider whether you have the ability to learn on your own.
Make a "post formal education" plan that will keep you learning evening if you are not in the classroom. That might even involve an professional coach who can provide guided study and...
My philosophy is to treat each student as an individual, with their own style of learning, level of knowledge and motivation. Associated with that, I focus on creating relevance in subjects to the aspirations of that person. My bottom line objective is to build their self-confidence.
Learning is an ongoing process. It provides ways to look at any problem. I have discovered that while earning my MBA from Chicago Booth School of Business (Dean's List) and a BA in Economics and Studio Art from Lafayette College (summa cum laude, Economics and Business Prize). I currently serve as an Alumni Admissions Representative for Lafayette. I have studied education as a graduate student at Pace Graduate School of Education as well in adolescent mathematics.
A great morning to start! Just completed my WyzAnt profile and greatly looking forward to tutoring students in the North New Jersey area!
As the Fall semester closes, I'll be working in Graduate study on numerous lesson and unit plans in UbD format. It's essentially a backwards-design process that matches desired learning goals with measurable performance assessments and outcomes.
Earlier in the semester I had my week filled during the day. I had two UCF students, a Valencia student, and an FlVS student. Thankfully, most of those were completed early (one joined the USAF) and now my days are wide open. If you are a college student looking for tutoring, or you have a son or daughter who is home schooled or doing FlVS, tutors are extremely busy from 4-8pm, what we call "Prime Time". Take advantage of the opportunity, and let's set something up during the day! Message me for more information.
A few weeks ago I had a chance to do something I hadn't done in quite a while, walk the halls of a high school. My neighbor (and father of my daughters best friend) is the AP Economics teacher at Los Alamitos High School in Orange County. Since I spent most of my career as a commodities broker in New York and London, and had the chance to sit first hand during events such as the Enron collapse, he asked if I would care to come share some real-world stories with his students.
I really wasn't sure what to expect. He said I could either have the whole period or just a bit. So, I prepared a few short slides and was ready to talk for 15-20 minutes about some of my experiences. In the end, the students were completely engaged and the Q&A session ran right up until the bell rang. Some students even stuck around to ask "Mr. S." a few follow up questions.
What a great experience. I hope I have the opportunity to do it again...
Economics students should be entranced with the real-world lesson plan unfolding in the news. All economics students get restive when the professor draws those seemingly incomprehensible charts on the board. Still members of Congress should have all paid more attention. All those arrows and curves are coming back to haunt us now with the federal deficit well beyond the comprehension of most taxpayers.
The lesson goes like this. Consumers are savers. They supply capital to the market in the form of savings. Businesses require capital to grow; to produce new products and services. They present the demand for capital. Here the professor draws an elegant upward sloping curve across the board, the arrow pointing toward the sky as if there would be no end to the supply of money. Then there is the demand curve, a flat line, pointing sharply downward and making it very clear that as the cost of borrowing increases, businesses will demand less capital. The meeting point of these two lines,...
Cash flow is ultimately what drives us in our personal lives or in business. We look at the Cash In's and the Cash Out's. If we have more cash coming in than cash going out, we call that Cash Flow Positive. If cash out is more, we call that Cash Flow Negative. We can be negative from time to time, but not for too long or if we don't balance it out with periods of positive.
Over that past 20 years, we, as a society, have spent MORE than what we took in (what we earned). How did we handle it? How did we make it work for so long? Credit cards and home equity loans. When the economy was going well (remember that?), credit card companies and bank mortgage companies 'gave away' credit card and mortgages and home equity loans (HEL). We borrowed the money, and that allowed us to overspend. We were cash flow negative. Well, it catches up to you eventually and the US President and Congress are wrestling with this exact same issue today. Times have changed (for the worse) and we have been...
The strength of Austrian based (Free Market) Economics
One could say that economics is the father of business, seeing as though economics is concerned with business efficiency. Unlike other social sciences, economics is concerned with axiomatic principles, specifically a priori principles.
An a priori principle is independent of experience, and hence the ability to arrive at a solution is pragmatic, and logical. For instance, an a priori principle or fact would be that all circles are round. This is a fact that does not need testing.
The power and strength of a priori principles is the fact that anyone can arrive at the solution or pinnacle, given correct logic and reason are used. This principle (a priori), which economics uses, separates it from all other social sciences.
As a result of a priori knowledge, subjectivism (which is sweeping our universities), is crushed and destroyed, since experience, and hence subjectivism has no basis and room in the economic...