Would like to change the way economics is being taugth at our business college in Antwerp. No own material developed yet. Just using material available on Kate’s site.
Will you make available the basic Doughnut diagram template?
I would like to translate it to portuguese.
Hi all - I am repeating a reply I wrote to a new teacher of AP Economics in the US who asked about strategies for incorporating the ideas in Doughnut Economics. I thought that the exchange might get more visibility in this category. One point that she brought up was about the need to address the syllabus requirements of the AP course. Here is my reply:
I teach Economics in the International Baccalaureate program and some time ago tried to start a similar conversation in the IB Economics forum for teachers. So far it hasn’t gotten much traction, but I’m hoping that will change.
I think that both AP and IB teachers face the same problem. We have a packed syllabus, focused on the models and approaches that Kate critiques in the book. We are responsible for helping students achieve success on the exam and, to do that, we need to focus relentlessly on that material. As you are a new teacher, I’m not sure you understand yet how difficult it and time-consuming it can be just to get the students through the material successfully. I too would like to challenge students to go beyond the syllabus and understand fully the assumptions behind the models and to critique the narrow perspective offered by the curriculum. Unfortunately, there can be a high opportunity cost for doing so.
What we really need is for universities to revise their teaching of Economics so that the AP and IB feel that they can revise their syllabi and that the revisions will be valued and accepted by tertiary institutions.
But until then here are a few things (with low / no opportunity cost) I plan to do this coming year - I hope they give you some ideas:
Create posters of the doughnut AND the embedded economy for all the classrooms in which I teach that I can refer to regularly to remind students that dealing effectively with scarce resources is a fundamental part of what economics is supposed to be doing AND that markets are only one component of a more complex system that includes households, the commons, and the state and that all of these are embedded in the larger biosphere. I am quite interested in another conversation thread here about copyright for the images in Kate’s book and I hope she sorts that out soon.
Coordinate topics where possible with our school’s Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) teacher to get more cross-disciplinary understanding between the two subjects. This past year, for example, we managed to roughly coordinate teaching about carbon trading as one (among many) strategies to mitigate environmental damage. I was able to get all of our DP1 (Grade 11) students taking Economics, ESS, Philosophy and Theory of Knowledge together to do an interdisciplinary lesson on the question “Should the rich world pay for climate change?” where we used Michael Sandel’s broadcast on the BBC’s Global Philosopher to consider the unintended consequences of putting a price on nature. This challenged the relatively uncritical view of carbon trading put forth in their Economics materials.
Use more systems terminology in my class - two ideas (both of which are significant for the ESS course, so students get the interdisciplinary benefit):
Feedback loops. There are so many in the syllabus – wage-price spirals, multiplier effect, poverty trap – and the concept of a feedback loop can be very powerful.
Resiliency. The excessive focus on efficiency in the syllabus leads students to naive conclusions. A little lip service is given to diversification (problems of overspecialization) in international trade / exports, but the concept of economic diversity from the global level right down to the individual is not given enough attention. So when we are covering topics that deal with efficiency, specialization, economies of scale, etc. I plan on making students more aware than I have done in the past of the vulnerability that can bring (to ecosystems, national economies, firms, and individuals).
Target individual students / groups who may be able to use the ideas. For example, the IB program requires a 4,000 word extended essay from students. One ESS student wanted to write about sustainable architecture, and I introduced him to the idea of regenerative design. He got very excited about the concept and will research and write about it with the aim of proposing some ideas for the new school building we plan some years from now. Other students, who are academically capable enough to learn the syllabus and then unlearn it (in a sense) without jeopardizing their exam results, can be seeded with summer reading or interesting articles with alternative perspectives on syllabus topics.
Pass it on. Since reading Doughnut Economics, I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know who might be interested, including people involved in curriculum development in schools, organizations or with textbook publishers. Raising awareness of pluralist perspectives in Economics is critical to curriculum change.
I hope you find something useful here. Good luck with your new career!
Thank you Jennifer! This is enormously helpful.
I’ve been struggling to figure out how best to frame the first class discussion: “What is economics?” One thing the textbooks generally ignore (and of course Kate points out) is a discussion of goals. So I want to make sure to include this as part of our conversation - and I’m still trying to figure out the best way. I also take your point completely about the fact that markets are only one part of a broader, more complex system and I like the idea of putting up posters to serve as perpetual reminders.
I came across a sample of a textbook that is used at Tufts (Microeconomics in Context) that seems like it might be a great resource - Ive only skimmed the sample chapters, but it appears that the book begins with a discussion of goals and acknowledges the concept that our economy is made up of the household, commons, market, state and environment. I’ve requested a copy from the publishers, so hopefully will be able to investigate further. That said, a better book doesn’t necessary help with the AP syllabus challenge - as you rightly suggest.
What textbook do you use right now? The high school has been using Open Stax, but may change to Mankiw. I studies Mankiw in graduate school, but find parts of it infuriating. I’d be open to asking to use a better book…
Also, I’m hoping to teach my class with a heavy emphasis classroom experiments and discussions around current events. I’ve gathered as many resources as I can on games/experiments that related to each of the core topics. Have you done this before? Any feedback you can share? I’m hoping experiments might be a way to both present the intuition behind the economic theories, while naturally demonstrating the shortcomings…
By the way, I did IB in high school way back when.
The use of doughnut economics is non specific in terms of the quantities that are being exchanged and between whom or what. It is all very well to teach about the various parts of the economy but their relationships are also of great significance.
So what i am saying is that we need to be more exact in this process of money and goods, services, etc. May I suggest how I have done this? It is by using a mechanical model to grab the young student’s interest.
This model is actually a compound balance having 6 balancing arms and 19 double flows (as string tensions) of money and goods etc. To see this model look for SSRN 2600103 “A Mechanical Model for Teaching Macroeconomics”. It should be taken seriously because in my other work the same model is used to develop and analyze the subject properly.
Are you considering ever making a MOOC for those of us that can’t go to the UK? A signed certificate in Doughnut Economics would be the gem in my collection of over 100 MOOCS
yes, this is a great idea. I’m all for online resources - just as you can’t come to the UK, as a mum of young kids I can’t travel all the time and we are so lucky to have the Internet at hand. So yes, this is a plan!
I developed a graphical representation of market spirals visualized in this article, because I thought it would be an very useful tool for pupil. This is because we see people often seam not to analyse bad market spirals like payback but instead are “nudged” to behave opportunistically. So I think, this would be useful basic education.
Here´s the article with the graphic: https://marius-a-schulz.de/2018/12/15/modellierung-von-marktspiralen/ ; There is a translation widget in the menu.
I am a teacher and wants to talk about Doughnuts!
I’m creating a 6 months residential course in practical sustainability at a folk high school north of Copenhagen, Denmark. I am going to use the Doughnut as one of the key mental models to guide my students thinking and action towards a sustainable future.
I’ve created thread specifically about my course. I’d love to hear from other teachers who have used the doughnut in their teaching. In the spirit of open source, in this thread, i will be sharing any exercises or materials that i create:
we are also planing a Master Seminar on the Doughnut Economics - and we are still in the development. If anyone has any material we could use (grafics, ideas, experience), we would be very thankful. Of course, we will also share, once we have created materials. Our preliminary plan is to develop some reflecting (open) questions to guide students troughout the book. Also we would ask each group to present one chapter in more detail, with their own view, further ideas and a way on how to get started with the doughnut economy. Moreover, we like to ask them to lead a critical discussion on potential barriers or drawbacks and to develop solutions.
Looking forward for any support, remarks or comments.
Best regards Sabrina
I’m not a teacher. But I like to share good ideas, new concepts, creating collaboration and inspiring creativity.
Thus, I just organise some talks regionally about necessary changes in society and business, using the 7 ways of the Doughnut as basic line through the talks.
Hey all! Just replied to Jacobs thread with a template and method we recently adapted from one of Kate’s workshops in Amsterdam (still a testcase tho to be refined). @Julio_Campos check it out and let me know if the open files are valuable so you can translate it into Portuguese (we did that a while back for workshop in Tokyo, Japan!) then I can send it to you in high quality (upload here has its limits unfortunately )
Hi @annekevw, thank you.
Yes I can translate it, no problem, but I’ve made a portuguese version of the doughnut already.
It’s template is available in the attached ppt file. (unfortunately I’m not savvy about ppt so maybe there’s a easier way to do it). It’s fully editable.
Hope you find it useful
Doughnut.pptx (95.0 KB)
Anke The way we think abouth society is dominated by the freemarket thinking. That makes us reason in terms of households and business / consumers and producers. That artificial division suggets a higher importance of business / producers. The Economic Reality System (ERS) corrects that vision and opens the way for more collaboration and cooperation by people that can organize themselves based upon a better basic insight and overview. More details and reference to the website in ‘Systems Thinking and Complexity’ / ‘The complexity of economics resolved!’.
Jacob_Rask The way we think abouth society is dominated by the freemarket thinking. All flows we can enjoy of from the ecosystem and have to be managed with the greatest caution are neglected by pollution or plundered for the mere profit. That opens no perspective on a sustainable future. But there are more aspects of the acccepted dominating economics that prevent a clear thinking abouth the responsabilities in our societies. The Economic Reality System (ERS) defines the economic-societal system as a system of flows with the ecosystem as the indispensable soccle at the bottom of a layered structure. More details and reference to the website in ‘Systems Thinking and Complexity’ / ‘The complexity of economics resolved!’.
KAOS The Economic Reality System (ERS – WWW.ECREALSYS.ORG) is an a-typical way to look at economics with as important advantage that the reality is very recognizable in it. As an extra the equivalent of 27 A4-pages (text + schemes / use the flag to switch to the proper language) is available online and everybody can read through it at any time at his / her own pace.
There is no problem to combine the typical accepted intro based on needs, supply, and demand with ERS and the pupils will be able to situate that part of the theory in its broader context and realize the limitation of it.
I realize that my advice comes too late for fall 2018 but it can help if you have to teach more classes in the future. Good luck.
Thanks! Can I use your template for translating into Russian?
Yes, of course.
Let know if have any problems with it.
In the spring, I organised several workshop about Doughnut economics in our region. A short summery, you can find at my blog-site BUSINESSCONSTRUCTIONSITE
In the autumn, the group will continue to meet to further deepen the discussion. Success - in my opinion - I based on the fact we choose theme participants of the workshops care about to discuss the theory an its practical implication.
Next step will be to bring the workshops to other regions in The Netherlands.
For that (of course?) I made a ppt, including some background- film(fragments).