Prior to the Teacher Town Hall with Chair Yellen last week, the MN Jump$tart Coalition facilitated a panel discussion with five Minnesota teachers to get their insight on best practices for teaching financial education. Some of the key points they made are below:
- Make sure the curriculum or lesson is interactive – include a game, activity or hands-on experience that allows students to learn in real time.
- Make your classroom a safe space for students to practice making financial decisions. Making a mistake or misstep in a class or as part of a lesson (i.e. they overspend their “budget”) allows them to then learn and apply different strategies next time versus trying to manage real-life consequences that can be detrimental to their financial success. Use curriculum that supports this type of learning.
- Content should be relevant to a student’s personal experiences and goals! The panel encouraged others to make the information and curriculum relatable for students – for example, discussing how budgeting and saving play into their social lives or college plans.
- Teachers appreciate support and expertise from business professionals to help provide financial education, including acting as mentors. Many students greatly benefit from a mentorship relationship; mentors can share their own personal experiences and professional journeys, which then allows a student to better understand how their academic, career and financial success is interconnected.
- Understand that students come from various cultural and socioeconomic experiences with finances or financial responsibility and many often teach their parents and families some of the key economic and personal-finance topics they learn at school. Engaging parents and families in open conversations about finances is encouraged when possible.
Thank you to our panel of accomplished teachers: Molly Burnham, Maranatha Christian Academy; Kris Sommerville, Como Park Senior High School; Craig Spreiter, Tartan High School; Steve Steffl, St. John the Baptist School; Mike Iacarella, Edison High School.