Category Archives: Teaching Strategies

Question: Can You Estimate Your Credit Score?

This is a good hands-on activity that students can complete to see how various inputs impact their credit score.  We all have seen the pie chart that lists the main factors that determine your credit score.

fico-pie-chart-large

How about letting students see how real-life actions and behaviors will impact their scores.  Putting them in the role of “Credit Counselor” will make this topic more engaging to them.  So here’s the situation:

You have been assigned to be the credit counselor to both Sam and Jenna (see cases below).  You have access to this great tool:  the FICO Score Simulator which allows you to analyze their situations and come up with their credit score.

Run each of these profiles through the simulator: Continue reading

How Can We Teach Our Children/Students to Be Financially Adept?

According to a summary of available research, the answer is to teach them MATH (from WSJ):

We focus on teaching finance in school when regular math is much more effective at helping children manage money. We cram their heads full of financial facts and strategies years before they’ll actually need any of it—ensuring that they won’t remember the lessons when they’re most needed. And we squirm about discussing our own family income and debt, giving children fears and false impressions they may never shake off.

Other insights from the article: Continue reading

What Makes a Great Business Teacher?

This Inside Higher Ed headline caught my attention recently because as a teacher I am always interested in getting insights from students about what they value from a teacher.  Also, since we support personal finance educators at Next Gen Personal Finance, I am always curious how we can help them in the classroom with our lessons and resources.

The results from a survey of almost 1,000 students at four U.S. business schools found that the top 10 attributes that students were looking for are (drumroll please):   Continue reading

Activity: Creating an Emergency Savings Account

Hat tip to Brian Page for pointing out this set of financial calculators at myFICO.  The webpage provides financial calculators on credit cards, mortgage, new home purchase, home refinance, home equity, auto finance and college education and budgeting and banking.  The structure of the page is engaging as it provides a list of questions that take a student to a calculator which enables the students to answer the specific question.  I will plan on creating an activity each week that corresponds to this page.

Here’s a quick article from the Mint.com blog describing the importance of an emergency fund.

Now on the financial calcuators.  The question is “How much should I set aside from emergencies?” which takes a student to a set of inputs (which students can adjust): Continue reading

The Great Debate: Is There A Student Loan Bubble?

Here’s a great way to develop your student’s critical thinking skills and teach them about the student loan issue in the process.  Google “student loan bubble” and you get over 700,000 results.  With so many news outlets reporting on it, why not have students read and interpret articles, charts, data and videos to develop their own opinion.

Here are a few resources to get them started but it would also be great to have them build their media literacy skills by finding high quality videos, articles, charts to support their arguments.

There is not a student loan bubble:

  • U.S. student debt burden falling more on top earners, easing bubble fears (Reuters):

Young Americans with big college debts are often portrayed as struggling to pay their bills. The reality is somewhat different – those owing super-sized student loans tend to be higher paid.  A Reuters analysis of Federal Reserve data shows that over the past two decades the young with higher incomes have gone from owing less of the debt than the average household to owing considerably more.

  • Viewpoint:  Stop calling student loans a bubble (Time):

But for frothophobes, the most dangerous bubble going today is in higher education. Don’t believe me? A quick Google search will reveal hundreds of storiesforetelling of a crisis when the student loan bubble finally bursts.  But let’s get a grip. When you take a closer look at higher education, you realize that while we do indeed have some problems to address, a bubble situation it is not.

There is a Student Loan Bubble  Continue reading

Teaching Strategy: Everyone A Personal Finance Advice Columnist

Seeing this Time article soliciting advice from readers on a personal finance question made me think of a way to assess what students have learned at the end of a lesson or unit.  Here is the key part of the article:

Did you ever want to be a personal-finance advice columnist? Well, here’s your chance.  In MONEY’s “Readers to the Rescue” department, we publish questions from readers seeking help with sticky financial situations, along with advice from other readers on how to solve those problems.

So, how can you apply this to the classroom?

  1. Have students brainstorm and develop a list of questions about the unit/lesson just completed. Make the questions as student-specific and personal as possible.   4-5 questions should be sufficient.
  2. Post the list of questions and have students pick one question to answer (not their own).  They should write from a “personal finance advice columnist” perspective and should answer the question in a few sentences and write in a style that their friends could understand.
  3. Arrange the responses under each question that it is answering.  Students then have the opportunity to vote on the best response to each question.
  4. Votes are tallied and you can facilitate a conversation to discuss answers to these questions.