Welcome to the Spring issue of Teaching Business and Economics.

This issue has an unashamed bias towards practice and techniques designed to boost student knowledge and understanding.

Educational guru Dylan William claims that Cognitive Load Theory is ‘the single most important thing for teachers to know’. Before deciding whether he is right, turn to Jade Slater’s article in which she explains how an understanding of the brain’s memory systems can transform student knowledge retention.

On the subject of knowledge retention, Adrian Lyons OFSTED’s National Lead for Economics, Business and Enterprise, explains the importance of underpinning enterprise education with a firm foundation of knowledge rather than just skills.

Roger Loxley at Newcastle Royal Grammar School explains why he introduced more regular ‘low stakes’ testing into his teaching and the impact it has had on the performance of his students. His approach, he says, recognizes the value of learning knowledge, the importance of regular practice to secure knowledge and the benefit of getting students used to being tested so that high-stakes tests are less of a shock to the system. He also explains how he uses technology to reduce marking load and inform planning and learning.

Self-assessment and peer-assessment are increasingly recognized as valuable tools for learning. Dependent as they are however on the co-operation and engagement of students themselves Adam Hutsby shares the findings of his research both into the impact of both assessment methods on his students and their feelings about the value of these techniques.

In this issue we also have a special feature on the new BTEC Tech Award in Enterprise. Colin Leith from Edexcel explains the design of the award and Remy Shelton shares her experiences of planning for and delivering the award for the first time at her centre.

Whether you teach economics or not, low levels of economic literacy continue to be a concern to many of us in education and the wider society. At the end of last year, the economics education pressure group ECNMY ran a high profile meeting to discuss the problem and potential solutions. Caroline Loewenstein was there and has provided members with an informative  and insightful report.

If you want to discuss Brexit with students at the moment but fear the explosive consequences of what has become an emotive and polarizing issue, Russ Woodward and Tim Veal have a solution. Take a topic like foreign direct investment they recommend and keep the conversation objective. They explain how.

Finally, this issues closes with a reminder about how little we all really know about the world around us. Ruth Corderoy, reviewing the book ‘Factfulness’ by the late Hans Rosling shares his analysis of the poor grasp we have of important quantifiable data such as population growth, levels of immigration, standards of healthcare, despite confidence to the contrary. The implication being that we must all do more to encourage students to gather quantitative data behind emotive issues and help them develop the skills to accurately interpret the data they find.

I hope that will keep your brain cells ticking over during the Easter holidays and provide some ideas for the summer term to come.

Have a restful Easter.

Gareth

Gareth can be contacted at
director@ebea.org.uk