12 October 2012

Financial Literacy is a Learning Opportunity

Learning opportunities come in many shapes and forms. Perhaps it's the student who smears blood red lipstick in a lesson and needs to be reminded that putting on make-up in class is as inappropriate as brushing one's teeth; it could be that learners are curious about other religions and cultural habits. Having worked in the Middle East for many years now, I recall the urgency of one student who wanted to understand why Westerners drank alcohol - not to judge, but simply to understand. 

Increasingly I will pause my intended lesson plan to address learners' inquiries during class time. Not because I do not respect the curriculum and syllabus I am required to cover - as a member of a department those duties are naturally respected. On the other hand, when students have so many tools to aid their learning process, from printed books to e-publications, learning centres to the many tools, apps and sites which foster learning and offer revisions, it is classroom time which is still the centre of inquiry. It is in the classroom that students will feel more at ease to disagree, question, debate with each other. It is these learning opportunities that I am especially tuned in to, for they are what students want to learn rather than what they are told to learn. 

Does this imply a free wheeling classroom out of pedagogical control?

Not in the least. They are moments which surface in lessons. Moments when students want answers, want to understand. 

And then the lesson continues, as students are satisfied, or have been jolted into thinking more critically about life's realities. 

One reality that cannot be ignored is how the cost of living has increased tremendously as many economies falter and weaken around the world. Hence, financial literacy, always necessary, becomes even more urgent to be addressed in class. Habits are formed at an early age. Having an awareness of finances, no matter how simple, is part of learning, becoming autonomous and growing up. 

Agent Piggy is designed for children from 5 to 12, a virtual piggy bank for children to understand how to manage their pocket money, for instance. 

Agent Piggy Product Demo from Agent Piggy on Vimeo.

Here are other suggestions designed for young learners and teens to become more aware of finances. 

Piggy Bank by Disney is appealing as there are different games for young learners to engage in as they learn.

H.I.P. Pocket Change is another site which is great for young learners, offering different games to involve learners.

Rick KidSmartKid challenges learners to solve financial problems, while Sense and Dollars challenges teens' understanding of finances.

Cha-Ching includes games, quizzes and songs - all about finances, including the crucial question:

Personalize a character and proceed with a quest to spend money while saving money to achieve one's goals, Savings Quest is yet another activity which raises awareness and engages learners.

What other ways do you suggest for teaching financial literacy?

Further suggestions:

Banzai! Financial Literacy Online

Better Money Habits

Fool Proof Me - Real Consumer Education

Money Metropolis


Planet Orange

Resources and Lesson Plans for Financial Literacy

The Mint

Your Life, Your Money, Your World (Game)

(from: Your Life, Your Money )

Video - How to Make a Budget and Stick to It

The Great Piggy Bank Adventure

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