News, announcements and more.

Jun 28, 2016

How to bring financial literacy into the classroom

Financial Literacy is widely recognised as an important life skill, and increasingly young people need to be able to make informed decisions about managing their money by the time they leave school. Many schools are introducing financial literacy courses into their curriculum, but to do this they need to figure out where to fit it into the curriculum, decide who will teach it, and develop a course.

Hot Topics 1

Hutt Valley High School has introduced financial literacy to all Year 11’s, and the course is taught by several teachers from different subject areas. Business Studies teacher Fiona MacAlpine invited us into her classroom to see how our Young Enterprise Trust Hot Topics resources are being used to deliver financial education.

For all Year 11’s, Friday mornings are dedicated to a ‘Life Skills’ course. Throughout the year, this Life Skills course covers a range of topics – study skills, career workshops, Plunket’s ‘Tots and Toddlers’, and sessions on relationships and conflict resolution. This year, students are also doing a six-week segment on financial education, using the Young Enterprise Hot Topics resource.

Fiona, already familiar with Young Enterprise resources, proposed that the Life Skills course include the use of Hot Topics and found that the school’s Senior Management Team were very open to the idea – the biggest selling points being that in addition to their clarity and precision, the resources are free to New Zealand teachers, and that they comprise of pre-prepared lessons and student worksheets.

Many of the teachers who run a Life Skills course at Hutt Valley High School are not Business Studies teachers like Fiona – they come from various other subject areas across the school and few have previous experience teaching financial literacy. This lack of experience or familiarity with financial education is so often a barrier to teaching these skills to school students.

Life Skills course coordinator Sarah Langley says that “whilst some teachers have felt uncomfortable teaching financial education, it hasn’t necessarily been a negative thing that teachers are learning alongside their students”. She said that “being able to provide teachers with resources that include powerpoints and answers has also been helpful in building teacher confidence.”

In Fiona’s classroom, a powerpoint was started up, students were handed out a booklet of Hot Topic worksheets and asked to turn to the ‘Impulse Buying’ chapter, and the lesson began. During the lesson Fiona showed video clips and started discussions. She demonstrated just how easy it is to adapt the resources to suit the specific needs of the students.

At Hutt Valley High this year, teachers will be using six of the twelve Hot Topics: Banking, Taxation, Student Loans, Flatting, Impulse Buying and KiwiSaver. They have chosen these topics based on their relevance to the age group of their students. Relevance is critical to the success of the teaching in the classroom. Sarah says that “students have enjoyed learning about real issues that will affect them when they leave school.” Students are visibly more interested and involved in learning about financial Hot Topics that are in their near future. Sarah added that the Year 11’s have found the Flatting, Budgeting and KiwiSaver Hot Topics particularly useful.

Integrating financial education into broader Life Skills courses is just one way to help students develop their financial capability. We would love to hear how financial education is being taught at your school. If you have any feedback on our Hot Topics series, or are interested in picking them up in your classroom for the first time, get in touch with our Support Team. 

This article was originally published in the Term 2 2015 edition of Enterprise Matters.