I believe that financial literacy is one of the most imperative life skills we can impart as teachers on our students. Money is a crucial part of our lives and the management/mismanagement of money can make a difference in our health and happiness. This is not to say that having more money will make you happier, but that mismanaging your money will make your life extremely difficult. As the A Sound Investment – Financial Literacy Education in Ontario Schools says, “citizens who have a solid understanding of financial basics are more likely to navigate safely and surely through today’s complex financial world” (p7). The EduGains videos also highlight that teachers/educators start to become more aware of their own finances and also their students’ socioeconomic situations. This is important for reflecting on biases and ensuring each child can relate and benefit from lessons. Integrating financial literacy is also an excellent way to create relevance and real-world applications across curriculums.
The Scope and Sequence – Financial Literacy is a great starting point for teachers who wish to incorporate financial literacy across the different curriculums. In Social Studies, financial literacy can be a huge benefit to teaching trade and connections to countries around the world. For example, in Grade 6, trade, tourism and economic relations would easily fit in the Canada and World Connections. However, the A Sound Investment – Financial Literacy Education in Ontario Schools document highlights many gaps in our current knowledge about Canadian’s financial literacy and offers several recommendations to improve upon our education in this area. As a former employee of TD Canada Trust, I had many opportunities to meet and talk with people of all ages about their financial literacy. In fact, increase students’ confidence with money and finance is one of my highest priorities as an educator. The majority of people I spoke to had no idea how credit cards worked, how interest rates worked, how bank accounts (saving/chequing) worked and more. I think it’s a great start to introduce budgeting and economic principles in elementary school, but greater attention needs to be given to specific financial instruction in high school. Students will be communicating with banks their whole lives, through bills, credit cards, mortgages, car payments, etc. I believe we need to continue to emphasize financial literacy through the creation of a mandatory half-credit course in high school. This will give students the confidence to approach the more important financial decisions as they age, including loans (such as OSAP or non-secured school credit) and credit cards. As it stands, there is only an optional course available to students in this respect.
I have done some research in the past about the topic of financial literacy as part of a genius hour project. It is by no means a complete piece of work, but I will include a link to it here.
Please let me know any comments and suggestions you have!