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February 18, 2008



Date: February 16 (Sat), 2008
Place: International Conference Room, Waseda University

The International Conference on Economic Education, organized by the Research Group of Economic Education, WIAPS (Waseda Institute for Asia-Pacific Studies, was held at the International Conference Room at Waseda University on February 16 (Sat), 10am - 5pm.
After Waseda Univ. Professor Michio Yamaoka gave a brief opening address, Josai Int'l Univ. Lecturer Shintaro Abe moderated the main session by first having Ms. Gail Tamaribuchi (Chair, Secondary Program, Institute for Teacher Education, University of Hawaii at Manoa) make her presentation on "Free Choice & Curriculum Decisions in U.S. Schools." She emphasized that, while economic understanding among high school studens as well as adults seems to be progressing, there is still much room for improvement, especially in some states and localities, and more efforts are needed to make economic reasonsing the 4th R in the U.S. school curriculum.
Second, Mr. Richard Rankin (Advanced Placement Economics Teacher, Iolani School, Honolulu) shared with the seminar participants some of the teaching strategies that he often use to help students remember key economic concepts such as marginal cost, opportunity cost, the role of profits, etc. He used such simple things as a red handkerchief, a lemon, a sheet of paper, a pair of scissors, etc. to make students feel and experience economic activities associated with key concepts.
Third, Ms. Kristine Castagnaro (Executive Director, HCEE) explained the "Economics Cadre" program, which was launched in September 2007 to create and support those economics teachers who might be called "economics champions" within Hawaii's public high school system. She concluded that the Economics Cadre is a realistic program under the current circumstances to encourage teachers, especially, economics champions, to advocate for inclusion of economics in the high school curriculum (see the reference below).
After lunch, the three speakers in turn took up various problems in economic education. In particular, Ms. Tamaribuchi focused on some negative impact of the "No Child Left Behind Act of 2001" on economic education, whereas Mr. Rankin talked about U.S. students' weakness as indicated by last year's national AP Economics exams and how the College Board is attempting to address those weaknesses. Finally, Ms. Castagnaro pointed out difficulties in linking native culture to economic education by sharing her experience in developing a financial literacy curriculum in relation to the native Hawaiian culture.
Free discussions and interactions between the speakers and the participants took place after the presentations as well as at the networking party. Clearly, it was a very stimulating and informative seminar for all the participants.
HCEE Website: http://econed-hawaii.org/
Economics Cadre: http://econed-hawaii.org/cadre.aspx/