September 2022

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  
Blog powered by Typepad

« Russ Roberts on the Difficulties of Definitive Tests | Main | Two Reviews on Foreign Intervention »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The video is very cool! This is actually my favourite Coltrane track that Coltrane has not composed himself.....

I practiced music a lot as a teenager (and even earlier), and although practicing music was enormously important to me at that time of my life, I cannot say it served me a lot later in life, at least not in a way that I am consciously aware of.


Extremely cool. Loved your words about teaching.

I actually think you can have an amazing influence on kids in the 14-18 age range. I don't you can have that influence in that age with kids about economics proper, but broader ideas about moral responsibility, commitment to excellence, etc., etc.

Do you think you could have the same impact with teaching economics to kids your son's age, as the music teacher (or coach in athletes cases) could?


Interesting you ask Pete. I'm not sure one can in general, because I'm not sure kids that age are at a stage of intellectual development that can enable them to grasp economics fully enough. (Obviously, some are, but a much smaller percentage than college aged kids.)

That said, over the course of Andrew's experience in the public schools here, I've visited his classes three times to talk about economics. Once in 5th grade, where they had a unit on economics that was actually pretty good - scarcity and opportunity cost believe it or not. I did a simple version of the trading game with them and it worked GREAT. Not sure one could do much more than that.

This year, the 12th grade AP Gov't teacher (who is a big lefty) had me in twice. Once was to talk about regulation and then again to talk about Keynesian economics and the recession. I really appreciate her willingness to give me that space. But both of those were tough, even with AP level kids. Most of them just aren't intellectually mature enough or engaged enough in current events or politics to be motivated to see why any of it might be interesting or important.

It would be, I think, very interesting to try to teach an intro econ course using EWOT as the text in a high school setting. It might work. It would be also interesting to give them Russ Roberts' "The Price of Everything" and see how that goes.

But in general, it would be very hard to motivate kids in high school social science the way you can in music/arts/sports where the kids are more likely to be open to the passion and where there's an immediacy about doing well.

One of the things I learned watching my son (and my daughter, both in music and theatre) is how important it is as a teacher to give students "authentic tasks." For example, having kids write a letter to the editor is better than a "short paper". And it's better yet if you actually make them send them in, or at least read them aloud to the rest of the class. When the audience for your work is someone other than the teacher, you take the task more seriously because YOU are on the line.

In music, arts, and sports, that is ALWAYS the case. My kids know how to prepare, they know to handle pressure, and they have developed poise in all kinds of areas precisely because their educational experience has been FULL of those sorts of "authentic tasks." Capturing that in other parts of the pre-college curriculum and in the college classroom is really the key to student learning. And if students are learning, you are teaching well.

I meant of course: unless one intends to become a professional musician. In all other cases, the point of making music is in the music itself and the fun it provides. The utility of it for later life is very indirect, in terms of such skills as: ability to concentrate, focus, discipline, sense of perfectionism. In that sense I may indeed have benefited from my early music experience...

A fellow NMU undergrad friend of mine and son of one of my econ professors teaches high school economics using The Economic Way of Thinking text. He's been doing it for about ten years now. It works great for him -- and he covers all of the chapters!

I enjoyed the music. Tenor Madness--I thought this was Sonny Rollins and not Coltrane but it might be both.

Hooray for classical jazz--that happy middle between Dixie and modern. Once a year I go to a "jazz party" to hear the greats, and maybe I will lisenting to one of these young men in time.

By the way, it's great to see the kids playing some real jazz.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Our Books