This paper offers an analysis of selected first-year teaching–learning environments in economics. Evidence is derived from 41 semi-structured interviews conducted as part of the Enhancing Teaching–Learning Environments in Undergraduate Courses (ETL) Project with staff and students in three introductory economics modules from three different UK economics departments. The literature about teaching and learning economics at university level suggests that teaching–learning environments in economics adhere to a fairly uniform format and, as expected, each of the modules investigated was found to follow a content-driven lecture–tutorial approach, complemented by the use of textbooks and tutorial question sheets. The paper discusses the implications of such an approach for student learning. By applying and extending Biggs’ notion of constructive alignment, variation between the three settings is attributed to attempts to align the environments with the students whom each module accommodates, in particular with students with and without previous knowledge of economics. The inductive, problem-first approach is interpreted as one possible way of aligning the teaching–learning environment with students, as it takes the importance of real-world examples and application of theory for student learning into account. This differs fundamentally from the more common deductive, theory-first approach.
|International Review of Economics Education
|Published - 2004