"Suggestions to effectuate a multiparadigmatic approach to the teaching of principles of economics": a reply.

Author:Knoedler, Janet T.
Position::Notes and Communications - Teaching of economics

"Teaching the Principles of Economics: A Proposal for a Multi-paradigmatic Approach" examined institutional factors shaping path dependence toward an unnecessarily technical emphasis in undergraduate course content and how this technical emphasis in turn helps to explain declining enrollments (Knoedler and Underwood 2003). We proceeded to offer a design template that better integrates principles into an institution's general education objectives, creates greater relevance and thus greater interest in the minds of students, and fosters development of critical thinking skills.

Jack Reardon addresses the question of how to design and implement a strategy to disseminate and integrate a multiparadigmatic approach to economic education. He goes on to present six avenues for action. While the thrust of our analysis was directed toward "Principles," the multiparadigmatic model can provide a template to reconceptualize the "major."

In that spirit, our response is two-fold. First, and thanks to the cooperative efforts of many economic educators, the Association for Institutional Thought (AFIT) sponsors conference sessions to promote the development and dissemination of innovative pedagogies and support materials reflective of a multiparadigmatic approach. Examples include summaries of on-line discussion of economic issues conducted through AFEEMAIL, a professional discussion group sponsored by the Association for Evolutionary Economics (AFEE), "how to" templates to help teachers integrate "10 Things Every Principles Student Should Learn" into their courses (Knoedler and Underwood 2003, 714), "Great Stories in Economics" to provide "readings" to help undergraduates better understand how those "Things" shape understanding of economic phenomena, course syllabi from practicing institutionalists for a variety of standard and elective courses in economics, and more. These materials are available on line at the AFIT Web site (see http://afit.cba.nau.edu/teaching_institutionalism.htm). A parallel effort is also underway to bring together economic educators from other "paradigmatic traditions" to create a broader heterodox collective of like-minded educators (Cohn and Schneider 2003). The objective is consistent with those summarized above: to define and develop explicit pathways to integrate alternative paradigms into the Principles course, including the use of exploratory exercises.

Moreover, this year AFEE sponsored a teaching panel that explored how a...

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