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Experience and pluralist pedagogy: service learning as a means and an end
by Erik K. Olsen
International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education (IJPEE), Vol. 2, No. 2, 2011
Abstract: Economics teaching relies overwhelmingly on faculty lecturing, which is generally seen as a significant pedagogical problem. But this paper argues that didactic instruction is actually well-suited to the neoclassical economics that is usually taught. This approach – especially its textbook version – is typically sceptical of individual perception and inductive reasoning, relying instead on parsimonious models and deduction. Experiential learning has very limited usefulness in learning such theories. In contrast, heterodox approaches in economics typically employ both inductive and deductive reasoning. Since induction is integral to experiential learning, a pluralist curriculum offers important pedagogical advantages. Service learning exposes students to economic phenomena in their communities and challenges them to learn from that experience. This can call the instrumentalism of the textbook neoclassical approach into question and open up the classroom discussion to alternative approaches.
Online publication date: Fri, 29-Jul-2011
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