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.
A national, or state curriculum can only stretch so far, and often they leave several life skills going wanting. One life skill in particular that I think has a natural place in school is financial literacy. Globally, the inclusion of financial literacy in national curriculums is very patchy. In both New Zealand and Australia it doesn’t reside firmly in the core curricula, and both have what could be considered add-ons instead (the Financial Capability Progressions, and the National Consumer and Financial Literacy Framework respectively).
In the UK, financial literacy is a compulsory aspect of the curriculum, and so too is it in certain States of North America – the latter largely being a response to the latest global financial crisis. If you happen to teach in an environment that doesn’t make room for financial literacy here’s my advice on how to successfully establish it as a staple of your classroom regardless.
The first step is to get parents onboard with the notion of financial literacy being taught in their children’s class. The reason why this step is important as a thick layer of culture lays overtop of personal finances. It’s worth considering whether money is spoken about widely in society and in families where you teach and be careful in how you approach the topic. Regardless, when it boils down, every parent wants their child to be prepared financially, so this is what you need to communicate.
The next step is to explore the best way to deliver financial education in your class. It doesn’t have to consume large amounts of your time and can integrate really nicely into your existing lessons if you get a little creative. I’ve gone ahead and outlined some of these ideas in my previous blog post which I’d encourage you to read. You’ll see the introduction of financial literacy can be as light or in-depth as you desire, and there are even existing solutions out there to help.
As we all know, in order to ensure the introduction is engaging and worthwhile, you’ll want the acceptance of your students. Be respectful of the major variance you will face in existing student comprehension, as for some the subject of money will have been totally ignored to date. This variance can intimidate some students, so it’s important that the concepts are gradually introduced over time. And remember once both parents and students are excited about this new classroom addition, your lessons are merely the spark that will ignite much deeper and meaningful financial conversations at home, as the more touch points with financial literacy the better.
Lastly, everything is always better in numbers. Rather than take the entire workload of introducing a new concept on your own shoulders, why not get other staff and the leadership team on board? By encouraging others to explore the concepts in their classroom you’ll amplify the lessons you’re giving (as students will cross-pollinate ideas in the playground), but you’ll create your own local support network. You can all try ideas, report back, and iterate again until you find the most effective financial education system for the students at your school.
It’s unfortunate that these skills aren’t already compulsory everywhere, but like anything, if you see enough value in it it’s possible to integrate financial literacy into your everyday class. If you are thinking of getting something up and running, or already teach financial literacy at your school I’d love to hear from you.