Student-directed financial literacy education at Otago Boys

Gwyn Pratley & Tim Hyslop

Gwyn Pratley & Tim Hyslop

TIC of Economics and Business Studies & Teacher of Accounting, Economic and Social Studies

Shifting to a student-centred financial literacy programme

Otago Boys’ High School is using Banqer High for the first time this year to augment their Financial Literacy provision, “Previously, we used resources created by our teachers, which were good quality but structured in a way that didn’t allow for the diversity of learning styles in a typical classroom. Students found them quite regimented.”

The department ran a trial of Banqer High in Term 4 of last year, moving to a  more student-centred approach, “The expansions in Banqer High covered everything that we needed in terms of content, and the boys enjoyed working at their own pace and making their own decisions.” Following the successful trial, with assistance from our Support Partner, Partners Life, Gwyn and Tim integrated the program into their Year 10 Economics syllabus. This six-month course, running three hours weekly, is chosen by roughly 150 students - a substantial three-quarters of the Year 10 cohort.

male students in a classroom using banqer on their laptops

Banqer High supports a new approach to financial education and independent learning

The revamped financial education course incorporates the Banqer High programme and worksheets with supplementary teacher-made resources,

The great thing about Banqer High is that all the students can engage with it from the start, no matter their level of prior knowledge and accelerate at their own speed. We monitor their progress through the teacher platform and can clearly see who needs support. Then we focus our attention on these students, revisiting content as required.

Students are encouraged to work independently, make their own decisions, and share their reflections: "We’ve had some deep, rich conversations about career choices. Some students are averse to debt and fail to see a student loan as an investment in their future. Others can see the long-term benefit. Some engage with investing in Kiwisaver or the stock market, and some don’t. Everyone has something to add to the conversation, and when you look at the leader board, it isn’t your typically high achieving students sitting in the top three for net worth.”

Unleashing the potential of diverse, student-directed discussions

Gwyn and Tim see the value in Banqer High’s online gamified approach, “It is exciting from a teaching point of view to see how much the boys are enjoying our modified teaching practice. The boys love a leader board, and there is a lot of focus on who is winning in class and between classes, but they also clearly see the long-term impact of early financial decisions as the algorithms play out. Discussion about who is topping the leader board and why highlights the key learning points and not in a teacher-led way.”

The core learning concepts have been further reinforced by linking Banqer High to current economic events and trends, “As a class, we have talked about their generation potentially not being able to afford to buy a house and having to rent, and what they could do to avoid that situation. They haven’t had these types of conversations before and it has really got them thinking.”

male students in a classroom on their laptops. one student is looking at a classmate and smiling

The discussions have extended into their home environments, where, driven by their own curiosity, the boys have initiated dialogues with their parents, questioning their decisions such as opting out of Kiwisaver, or why they place less value on owning their own home, “The students bring other perspectives into the classroom too, for example from families living in multigenerational homes or from different cultural backgrounds where there are other priorities.”

Proactive approach to teaching practices

Gwyn and Tim intend to continuously refine their teaching practices, “Now we are more aware of all the different student-led discussions that come out of each of the expansions, we want to make our lessons more focused around these.

With the imminent New Zealand curriculum refresh, Banqer High has given us a head start with its interactive approach and highly appropriate lesson plans and resources. Banqer High sits at the cutting edge of the new curriculum, and our goal is to build on that.

Their excitement mirrors the enthusiasm at Otago Boys’ High, stirred up by recent political dialogue surrounding the prospect of introducing mandatory financial literacy classes, “Our Commerce Department is excited by this potential educational initiative and we feel Banqer High has a role to play in the roll out of such education policy change in the future.”

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