From Window magazine: 'Teaching the value of a dollar'

Mary Lane Gallagher

As director of economics education at Western, Pam Whalley knows new teachers graduating from WWU will need a strong knowledge of economic principles to teach those concepts to kids.

To really make the lessons stick, they may need some chocolate chip cookies, too.

“And I strongly recommend you include some health-food cookies,” she tells her students in Economics 446, Economics for the Teacher.

“My goal is to make sure our teachers have the background and the training when they leave Western to make economics come to life in the classroom,” Whalley says.

Whalley, the director of WWU’s Center for Economics Education, is one of the state’s top experts in the subject. In addition to courses for pre-service teachers, Whalley also leads workshops around the state for teachers already in the classroom. And she is president of the Washington Council on Economics Education, housed at WWU’s College of Business and Economics.

The cookies Whalley passes out in little baggies in Economics for the Teacher will help illustrate a simple method to get kids to develop the most important skill they’ll need to navigate our increasingly complex economy: decision-making. From high school dropouts and teen-age pregnancies to credit card debt and catastrophic mortgages, evidence abounds that people of all ages make bad economic decisions.

Read the full story on the Web site for Window magazine.

Monday, January 4, 2010 - 9:35am
Cookie criteria: Brittany Esbenshade ponders a cookie in a decision-making exercise. | Photo by Rachel Bayne

Cookie criteria: Brittany Esbenshade ponders a cookie in a decision-making exercise. | Photo by Rachel Bayne