Thursday, April 2, 2015

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April is Financial Literacy Month:

Do High Schools Make a Difference?

by Personal Finance for Teens Unleashed 
Tpt Store: Personal Finance for Teens Unleashed

In 2011 President Obama proclaimed April as National Financial Literacy Month.  In his proclamation he stated, “Our Nation's prosperity will ultimately depend on our willingness as individuals to empower ourselves and our families with financial knowledge."

Fast forward to 2015. One thing that we can all seem to agree on as parents and educators is that an understanding of financial literacy is important to our children.  What we can’t seem to work out, according to Hank Coleman of Daily Finance, is who will teach the courses; how will school districts fund the new courses; and how will these courses fit into already overly crowded curriculums?

In addition to these logistics problems, Professor Julie Heath, director of the Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati, reports that teachers feel unqualified to teach financial literacy.  “Eighty-two percent say they are not prepared to teach these concepts," she says. 

One of the reasons for this uneasiness may be that some school districts rely on math, science, home economics and technology teachers (among others) to incorporate financial literacy lessons into their curriculum instead of offering a separate personal finance course. 

The good news is that financial literacy classes in high school do make a difference.  According to an article in USA Today (by Hadley Malcolm), a study of 65,000 college students showed that – “first-year college students required to take a financial literacy course in high school are significantly more likely than their peers who didn't take a class to be financially responsible.” 

The study revealed that, “students who took a class did better on the survey’s financial knowledge questions, were found to be more averse to debt, more likely to pay credit card bills on time, and less likely to go over their credit limit.”

If you have been asked to incorporate financial literacy into your curriculum, and are at a loss of where to start, try these two introductory lessons with your students.

The connection between Financial Freedom, Family and Dreams
In this lesson students discover and discuss how financial freedom, dreams and family are all interconnected like a series of wires. It is a fun way to get students talking about financial freedom and their dreams and goals. 

There are no right or wrong answers/questions and you never know where the conversation will lead. That makes it all the more fun. In completing this assignment students bring their own unique perspectives and life experiences to the table and learn from each other. Click here to download this FREE lesson.

Brainstorm, Review and Reflect Assignment
This lesson is based on the idea that discovery is not driven by answers but by questions. 

 “Thinking is not driven by answers but by questions. To think through or rethink anything, one must ask questions that stimulate our thought. Questions define tasks, express problems and delineate issues.” 

 “If we want thinking we must stimulate it with questions that lead students to further questions.

Foundation for Critical Thinking: The Role of Questions in Teaching, Thinking and Learning

Part 1 - Brainstorm
Directions: Use the question starters below to brainstorm a list of interesting questions about your future.  Write questions that center around your personal and financial goals and the dreams and wishes of your family.
Why                What is                  How do
Why are         Why do                  How can
Why can’t      What would            Why is
What do         Is my                      Am I
Is it                 Do I                          If I
Will my          What am                  How am
What if          How would               What will
What are      What will cause

Part 2 - Review
Review your list of brainstormed questions, and star 3 questions that seem the most interesting to you.  Discuss these three questions with other students in your teacher-assigned group.

Part 3 - Reflect
What new ideas do you have about your future goals and dreams that you did not have before?

Part 4 - Create
Create two comparative time lines, one based on your goals (financial and personal) and dreams and one based on the goals and dreams your parents have for you.
Note: Your students might like to use one of these FREE timeline creation tools at E-Learning Industry.

Part 5 – Problem Solve
  1. What obstacles do you face in reaching your personal and financial dreams?

  1. What things can you do now to help insure your future success? 
Downloadable Resources from Personal Finance for Teens Unleashed: