Thursday, November 22, 2007

A book worth buying and on 'Teaching Stuff'

Imperfect Knowledge Economics: Exchange Rates and Risk by Roman Frydman & Michael D. Goldberg

but only when it's cheaper.

Reviews and Commentary on the book; The Economist, John Kay,Rodrik, Menzie Chinn, Mark Thoma , Econospeak

Michael D. Goldberg's Teaching Philosophy (italics mine);
A well-designed course of study in economics contains a balance between three components: 1) real-world issues; 2) theory; and 3) empirical evidence. The issues component provides the motivation for learning economic theory. This layer should be clearly and carefully developed in the first few weeks of the course. Clearly developing this issues component communicates to students what the goals are as budding scientists and what they will hopefully be able to understand by the end of the semester. Economic theory helps to shed light on the important issues. At each step in the development of theory, the instructor should refer back to the issues and explain how the theory just taught sheds light on these issues. The empirical component helps us to sort out which theories can be applied usefully to understanding real-world issues. My experience with economics classes, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, is that the theory component is often large relative to the issues and empirical components. In such classes, the issues become theory related, e.g., are models with perfect foresight stable? In the end, students learn much theory, but have little idea of the meaning and relevance of what they have learned. In such situations, the material becomes merely “stuff” that students try to force into their heads. Nothing is more effective at killing curiosity and engagement on the part of students than teaching them stuff.

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