Economics + Maths = Financial Capability

The challenge

While the Australian government has invested in teaching resources hosted online, the education of teachers as financial educators has not been prioritised.

Financial education at school is out of touch and failing to prepare young people for an increasingly complex and digitised financial world.

This study examined what can be done differently so that teachers know what and how to teach about finance across the curriculum.

 

Project overview

The project involved:

  • Exploring how the Australian Curriculum frames finance-related content
  • Compiling insights from educational research undertaken in Australia and overseas
  • Surveys and interviews with education professionals, teachers and students
  • The design of a bespoke course for teachers of Years 7-10

Findings

Finding 1: Secondary school students vary in their access to financial education within their families and communities.

Finding 2: Secondary school students want finance-related lessons that connect with their present and are useful to their future.

Finding 3: Financial education is typically viewed and enacted as a niche curriculum.

Finding 4: Teachers want to be shown how to design and implement better programs and lessons.

Finding 5: The discipline of mathematics, and mathematics teachers and teaching, matter.

Recommendations

Recommendation 1: Establish a shared, research-informed vision for a more holistic and modern financial education at school and communicate it clearly.

Recommendation 2: Help school leaders and teachers to enact the finance-related aspects of the Australian Curriculum v9.0 well.

Outcome

The Economics + Maths = Financial Capability course aimed to strengthen teachers’ interdisciplinary knowledge of finance-related curriculum and content, as well as their awareness of contemporary financial contexts.

From pocket money apps to gaming platforms, we introduced teachers to new ways young people are learning about money within their families and communities and modelled modern finance-related lessons.

Teachers who completed the course reported that it strengthened their classroom teaching and prepared them to influence improvements to their school’s programs.

Project report

Project team

Dr Carly Sawatzki

Dr Jill Brown

Timeline

2021–2022

Funding

$92,500

This project was proudly supported by Ecstra Foundation, a charitable foundation committed to building the financial wellbeing of Australians within a fair financial system.

 

More information

To learn more about this topic, check out these thought pieces by the researchers, published in Teacher Magazine:

Strengthening your school’s approach to financial education
Fintech education – meeting students’ interests and needs
Get crypto-cool for school: Talking about investment risks and rewards in the classroom

Keywords

economics, maths, financial capability