Helping Students to Become Money Smart

By Supon, Viola | Journal of Instructional Psychology, March 2012 | Go to article overview
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Helping Students to Become Money Smart

Supon, Viola, Journal of Instructional Psychology

Being money smart has value that offers individuals skills for a lifetime. "Lawmakers had no way of knowing in 2007 that the U. S. economic situation would be where it is today, making financial education for students now even more crucial than at any other time in recent history" (Black, 2009, p. 1). According to Beverly & Burkhalter (2005, p. 1), financial education or financial literacy is the "knowledge and skills related to money management." With the increased focus on preparing students for high-stakes testing in schools, a reasonable approach to teaching students about being money smart (financial literacy) is through varied instructional methods. It is recognized that the knowledge of money enables "changes in financial behavior" (Johnson & Sherraden, 2007, p. 122). Hence, from early childhood to adulthood, the value of money has significance. "To ensure that students make sound financial decisions as adults, financial education ,experts contend that schools and families should start fostering financial literacy before the teen years" (Allen, 2009, p. 5). As teachers and educators, we are responsible to enhance learning in our classrooms and prepare students. Therefore, it is necessary to explore the opportunities and strategies to teach students to be money smart. Godfrey (2006) states, "Our children are financially illiterate and unable to inherit the global economy unless we start to educate them in elementary school" (p. 1).


The purpose of this paper is to determine the significance of teaching financial literacy, relate suggested teaching strategies for instructing money today, and point out resources relative to instructing financial literacy. Significance of Financial Literacy

It is apparent that "interest in personal finance education in U.S. schools has increased significantly since the 1990s" (Walstad, Rebeck, & MacDonald, 2010, p. 336). The researchers also point out when students took an economic course in high school they attained concepts related to financial knowledge. Further, Classroom Connection (2008, p. 7) cites research from the National Council on Economic Education indicating that "41 states now require educational standards be implemented for economics." While the research continues to evolve, the significance of teaching financial literacy encompasses benefits. These include providing opportunities for students to learn the value of money while promoting responsibility. Students are acquiring skills for learning time management skills. They can begin to develop an awareness of monetary means, evaluate unnecessary purchases, and increase their work ethics. Students have the opportunity to learn appropriate choices relative to purchases which definitely includes prior planning for the money being spent. This enables students to be more analytical and cognizant of the advertising world. They begin to comprehend the difference between luxuries and necessities. In our digital, yet disposal society, students must distinguish between their needs and desires. By building a foundation for the significance of money, students are learning mathematical concepts and developing a sense of logic. The role of teachers has transformed to encompass more than just academic content and mentoring. Teachers have the immense duty to prepare students to be informed citizens in their community. In today's society, learning fiscal responsibility and financial literacy are required skills to becoming a functioning member of society.

Teaching Strategies

Teacher preparation and the amount of instructional time available are important factors if students are to gain financial knowledge. Teachers must be familiar with the content and use appropriate strategies of delivery to their students. Strategies begin by introducing students to basic vocabulary terms relative to today's money and seizing opportunities for incorporating financial knowledge into lessons and/or courses in the school curriculum.

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