Title: Teaching about poverty and inequality: critical pedagogy and personal experience in the learner-centred classroom

Authors: Sasha Breger Bush; Roni Kay Marie O'Dell

Addresses: Department of Political Science, University of Colorado Denver, Campus Box 190, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364, USA ' Department of Political Science, Seton Hill University, 1 Seton Hill Drive, Box 306x, Greensburg, PA 15601, USA

Abstract: We argue that teaching students about poverty and inequality requires three foundational pedagogical insights and practices: 1) engaging students in dialogue; 2) building on personal experience and fostering empathy; 3) helping students to visualise action in overturning oppressive societal structures. Each is required to build an integral and powerful foundation for teaching about poverty and inequality in the college classroom. This paper reviews the foundational theoretical and evidence-based literature to suggest that poverty and inequality must be taught in dialogical, experiential ways. We detail four, successful, pedagogical activities that help students learn about poverty and inequality by engaging with personal experience: two budgeting exercises; one simulation activity; and one expansive activity that allows students to engage deeply, critically and comparatively with the personal experiences of others (via, e.g., oral histories, interviews, and photography).

Keywords: poverty; inequality; critical pedagogy; empathy; experiential learning; learner-centred teaching.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPEE.2018.092246

International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education, 2018 Vol.9 No.1/2, pp.81 - 105

Received: 02 Aug 2017
Accepted: 22 Feb 2018

Published online: 01 Jun 2018 *

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