Today’s blog is a guest post from Micah Hocquard. Micah teaches year eight at Medbury School in Christchurch, New Zealand. He’s passionate about financial education and has been incorporating it into his curriculum for over a decade. This knowledge and experience enabled him to co-found Banqer, the financial education startup in 2015.
Financial literacy has been in the spotlight a lot recently, but there isn’t a lot of support out there for this growing teaching area. And for a lot of educators, although we all manage personal finances, well, personally, taking these lessons into your classroom can often feel like a big step. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are five quick examples of how you can introduce financial education into your class:
- Lift the financial veil: There are actually a bunch of learning opportunities that already exist in your school, you just need to take advantage of them. Take school camp for example. Are you and your faculty tossing up between different locations and activities due to cost? Why not include your students in that financial decision-making process. Cost everything out together, and rationalise a solution. This teaches excellent cost-benefit analysis skills, as well as helping develop a greater appreciation for the camp itself. Other activities this works well for are field trips, schools plays, dances or social evenings, and even new builds around your school.
- Monetise maths: For the more everyday lessons, maths lends itself perfectly to financial education incorporation. By using financial examples you can really make maths relatable and more engaging. For some reason, students particularly comprehend percentages a lot faster when problems are assigned to currencies. If you don’t believe me, try it – compounding interest is a great way to start.
- Funny money: If you haven’t heard of it, you might be scratching your head, asking funny what? But the concept is relatively simple. You print out a bunch of currency in the form of notes ($5, $10, $20 etc), and set rules outlining different ways students can earn and spend the currency. It might be behaviour based, or it simply relates to performance and efforts. Whatever you choose, you’ll see the motivation skyrocket in your class.
- Use an EdTech tool: If the concept of funny money has you curious, you may want to look into specialised tools designed to make funny money easier in your class. Not only do they lighten your load, but they also take the currency online which is certainly where the future of finance is heading. As some of you may know I’m a co-founder of Banqer. It not only replicates funny money but has a lot more financial concepts built into the platform. Check it out and contact me through the site so I can chat with you further about how we can support you.
- Bank initiatives: A lot of banks have their own financial literacy programmes. They can vary from sending a facilitator in to speak with your class, to actually opening a bank account for your students and helping them to start saving. Obviously, banks are businesses, so just keep this in mind when you engage with them for financial literacy assistance.
So there you have it, a quick cheat sheet with some ideas to kick-start financial education into your class. If you have some other ways that you introduce money lessons at school I’d love to hear these ideas, so please leave me a comment.