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Using great works of literature in an interdisciplinary, political economy framework

Using great works of literature in an interdisciplinary, political economy framework Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the effectiveness of teaching in economics. Design/methodology/approach – This paper provides as a case study, the authors’ reflections on a first-year “learning community” at a US liberal arts college, which combined courses on political science and economics to explore issues of political economy, including poverty and social mobility. Findings – The authors argue that, compared with standard delivery, using literature allows increased student access to and, thus, greater engagement with certain theoretical concepts. More specifically, literature can open avenues for critical thought, and challenge pre-existing views, when it illuminates controversial questions without providing obvious answers. It is this open-ended aspect of literature that seems to provide the best opportunity for increased student engagement and critical thinking. Research limitations/implications – The arguments in this paper are based on authors’ reflections and would benefit from other empirical analysis. This method of teaching only offers pedagogical opportunities, and learning gains do not occur automatically. Several features of the course design and assessment, and the interaction between disciplines, made the use of literature more likely to be successful. Practical implications – These authors also reflect more broadly on their use of literature in other courses, and provide some suggestions for specific works that might be used in further teaching and research. Originality/value – This paper contributes to current debate on teaching practice in economics, and will be of use to those seeking to challenge student viewpoints in a subtle yet effective manner. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png On the Horizon Emerald Publishing

Using great works of literature in an interdisciplinary, political economy framework

On the Horizon , Volume 23 (3): 9 – Sep 7, 2015

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1074-8121
DOI
10.1108/OTH-05-2015-0017
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the effectiveness of teaching in economics. Design/methodology/approach – This paper provides as a case study, the authors’ reflections on a first-year “learning community” at a US liberal arts college, which combined courses on political science and economics to explore issues of political economy, including poverty and social mobility. Findings – The authors argue that, compared with standard delivery, using literature allows increased student access to and, thus, greater engagement with certain theoretical concepts. More specifically, literature can open avenues for critical thought, and challenge pre-existing views, when it illuminates controversial questions without providing obvious answers. It is this open-ended aspect of literature that seems to provide the best opportunity for increased student engagement and critical thinking. Research limitations/implications – The arguments in this paper are based on authors’ reflections and would benefit from other empirical analysis. This method of teaching only offers pedagogical opportunities, and learning gains do not occur automatically. Several features of the course design and assessment, and the interaction between disciplines, made the use of literature more likely to be successful. Practical implications – These authors also reflect more broadly on their use of literature in other courses, and provide some suggestions for specific works that might be used in further teaching and research. Originality/value – This paper contributes to current debate on teaching practice in economics, and will be of use to those seeking to challenge student viewpoints in a subtle yet effective manner.

Journal

On the HorizonEmerald Publishing

Published: Sep 7, 2015

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