The world seems like a particularly scary place this week. Markets are down all over the world, Italy and China are under quarantine, and it seems like this is only the beginning of the COVID19 (previously known as Corona, previously known as the Wuhan) epidemic. Everyone's been saying we're overdue for a recession, and a global emergency seems like as good a bet of any to be the catalyst for such a thing...
So anyway, that's been on my mind lately! I've also been thinking back to the last time there was a recession, way back in 2008. I was but a wee lad of 20 just entering my junior year of college at NYU. Though the ground events were happening hard and fast right mere miles away, I really had no sense of what was going on or what it all meant.
To be honest, I didn't think it would affect me at all. It was that perfect blend of upbringing, ego, and youth - see, I was always taught that if you work hard and keep your head down, you'd be able to succeed no matter what. That's the mantra we're given at school and at home. Do your work, do it well, let the rest sort itself out.
Except it doesn't always shake out like that, does it? Sometimes you get swept up in a thing out of your control, like a global pandemic or global recession. Or a global pandemic leading to global recession. Anyway - the point I want to reiterate is that I had no real sense of what a recession was or how it could effect the last time one happened, and I'd be willing to be a couple of pennies that many of my students are in the same position I was back in 2008!
So... part of my week has been spent wondering how to best teach global economics and recession in a way that will be understandable to my kids. And of course the subtext behind all understanding is teaching.
Off the top of my head, here are some ideas I'm floating around:
Gamification - The economy is an interaction of participants. Creating some sort of barter /. currency game that shows how global supply chains work and how they can be disrupted by something like COVID seems like a cool way to learn. Caveat: I don't think my own understanding of the economy is strong enough to abstract something so complicated into a fun and meaningful game. So hmmm.
Group Discussion - Always a good choice as it gives you a framework to bounce off of and when done well can create agency and participation among students. The key to any sort of group discussion is building enough kindling of information for the students to be able to take and run with... and if there isn't enough ideas bouncing around.. well, we've all had bad group discussions in the past, right? I'll probably implement some form of a group discussion and supplement it with a list of say ten questions that help stimulate debate. Alright, let's just hash it out here:
3. Article Sharing - Coach Miles recommended Marketplace's How worried should we be about the COVID-19 and the economy? I guess the litmus test is if something helps you understand, it stands to reason it will help your students understand. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. On the flipside, articles take a while to read and process and letting that take over a 1-2 hour session is also not the most engaging or stimulating use of a student's time. The radio show above is 27 minutes... hm.
So yeah, I don't really have the answers right now. I don't think anyone does. Some other random thoughts associated with COVID19 / the economy:
Okay, that's it from me. Keep calm and quarantine on!