Three separate workshops, hosted by the Concordia Free Enterprise Center, help teachers infuse economic thinking into other areas of study to help improve student outcomes.

Last week, some 120 social studies teachers from across the Midwest took part in three different economics workshops at the Lambeau Field Atrium in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The event was hosted by the Concordia University Wisconsin Free Enterprise Center and the Wisconsin Council on Economic Education.

The goal of the workshops is to help teachers infuse economic thinking into other areas of study in order to help improve student outcomes, said Dr. Scott Niederjohn, professor of economics and director of the Free Enterprise Center at CUW.

“High school social studies teachers are asked to teach so many subjects—history, civics and government, psychology, economics, among others,” Niederjohn said. “We are trying to give teachers the resources to feel more comfortable with the economics content and perhaps use the powerful economic way of thinking to improve student understand in other subjects like history and civics.”

Economic thinking

The three workshops—spread across four days, July 11-14—covered various topics on economics and personal finance, including two based on textbooks co-authored by Niederjohn: Economic Episodes in American History and Economic Episodes in Civics and American Government. Other instructors included:

  • Professor Kim Holder: director of the University of West Georgia’s Center for Economics Education and Financial Literacy and senior lecturer of economics in the Richards College of Business
  • Mr. Dave Long: economics teacher at Brookfield Academy, Brookfield Wisconsin
  • Mr. Aaron Popkey: director of public affairs for the Green Bay Packers
  • Dr. Mark Schug: professor emeritus from UW-Milwaukee; president, Mark Schug Consulting Services

Generous grants made it possible to provide free registration (a refundable deposit was required to register), free textbooks, and generous perks such as free meals and lodging, Niederjohn said. “This was a wonderful event that we were very happy to host,” he explained.

“Sound, clear-eyed economic thinking seems in short supply these days, and that affects many different aspects of our society,” Niederjohn said. “We’re very happy to help so many educators learn to teach the next generation to think in these terms.”

Want in?

The Concordia Free Enterprise Center (CFEC) promotes the ideals of a free and virtuous society, which ultimately unleashes the nearly unlimited creative potential of the human spirit while producing remarkable levels of economic and human flourishing. The Center is housed in The Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center building on Concordia’s campus in Mequon, Wisconsin.