'Building the Road You Are On' - Financial Literacy for Young People

How can economics be better taught in classroom situations such that it is relevant and accessible to the lives of the young? One way is to encourage students to put themselves in the shoes of the people they might one day become. For example, one could begin by providing plenty of material for imagination, some historical context and a few essential life-skills such as financial literacy, but the essential ingredient would be to create a space for an activity which they themselves do (even if at first in imagination only).

The aim of ‘Building The Road You Are On’ is to help to locate the individual as the agent of economic life, to develop an understanding of the relevance of organisational structures, to teach financial literacy and to enhance social skills. It is designed as a role play so that it conveys an experience of hands-on entrepreneurial activity: by allowing the imagination to work (in as much as its replicates real-life scenarios), and by developing the capacity to respond to a changing situation in a way that is reflective and analytic, but nevertheless in tune with a creative intuition. Please contact Arthur Edwards on 01452 810764 to road test this activity.

Structure and Timing

The activity takes place in four stages, described in terms of a journey to be undertaken. The stages are loosely based on the four criteria of the Quality Guarantee Mark in associative economics (www.ae-institute.com). They can either take place consecutively, over a whole day, or can be separated by a day or week.

Stage 1 – Seeing the Landscape. Scenarios are introduced, through which the some of the challenges and obstacles facing the human being in modern economic life are made apparent. These are analysed and put into context.

Stage 2 – Choosing a Vehicle. Understanding the significance of how a business is constituted as a legal entity.

Stage 3 – The Path Ahead. Through learning about accounting and financial planning, preparation is made for taking an enterprise into the future.

Stage 4 – Travelling. Managing an enterprise, seeing economics in terms of managing relationships, with oneself and with others, understanding how what one does fits into the whole greater context of economic life.

Conclusion - Follow up and implementation