Academic journal article Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research

Enabling Environments to Advance Economics Education: A Factorial Design

Academic journal article Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research

Enabling Environments to Advance Economics Education: A Factorial Design

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

In today's ever-changing and increasingly competitive financial marketplace, knowledge is power. We are living in an age in which the information and communications revolution has inundated teachers with more information than ever before, even as the financial marketplace has become more complex. But simply having more information does not necessarily mean teachers have more knowledge educating learners on the basics of economics is an issue of critical importance. South Africa is going through several education reforms in order to prepare more learners for challenges and success in the 21st century and beyond. The global economy has changed many of the ways we live and do business. It is critical that we equip our students, the workforce of tomorrow, with an understanding of how the economy works, and knowing how it affects everything from money management to small business to large corporations. A foundation in economic and financial literacy will inspire entrepreneurship, innovation, and prepare students to successfully adapt to a dynamic marketplace.

The purpose of this study is to use the exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to identify and interpret the underlying and common factors in respondents' responses that may influence their choice in creating powerful enabling teaching environments to advance economics education.

LITERATURE REVIEW

In the current view on learning, constructivism has a central position. Learning is seen as an active process of interpreting and constructing individual knowledge representations (Vermunt, 2003; De Corte, 2003). Learners have to process information actively and construct the knowledge through experience. Bolhuis (2003) posit that active knowledge construction in context contributes to advanced thinking and learning activities, resulting in high quality knowledge acquisition. Problem-solving skills are essential for living in a complex society. People are confronted with a variety of problems in daily life and at work. In order to effectively solve problems, three categories of skills are required (Van Merrienboer & Paas, 2003; De Corte, 1990, 2003): (a) the flexible application of a well-organized domain-specific knowledge base, (b) systematic search strategies for problem analysis and transformation, and (c) metacognitive skills. Because real-life problems have a context that differs from the learning context, learners should also be able to transfer knowledge and skills they learned at school to new situations. They have to become competent in applying the knowledge in their worlds, beyond the school walls. In education, it is not a matter of reaching short-term goals, but of integrating acquired knowledge and skills with more general goals, such as understanding the surrounding reality, and adapting to changing circumstances (Dijkstra, 2001). Furthermore, people currently have at their disposal vast amounts of information, due to an increase in use of modern media, such as the Internet. In order to satisfy information needs, people have to find their way through what is available. This requires the ability to select, process, and organize information. Moreover, fast changes in work, technology, and society make it impossible to teach students everything at school, and during their youth. Individuals need to continuously update their knowledge, attitudes, and skills after graduation, however, without the support from teachers. They have to develop their professional competencies independently. An important goal of modern education is to prepare students for this lifelong process of learning. Students should acquire a self-directed way of learning: they should mainly regulate their learning processes themselves, and should be able to work without the help of others, and learn in an experiential way (Vermunt, 2003; Van Hout-Wolters, Simons, & Volet, 2000). In brief, education should be directed at reaching goals with regard to the acquisition of high quality knowledge, problem-solving skills, transfer of knowledge and skills, and self-directed learning skills. …

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