When I scroll down the news section on my iPhone, I see some news post about the importance of personal finance education. However, society still needs to be reminded the importance of personal finance in schools. What should be discussed is how to correctly apply personal finance education based on the student body being served. Before using personal finance curriculum, educators should ask, “Who is my student body? What do they already know? What topics are of interest?” Would you let your doctor diagnose you with medicine without asking you questions? So why do we let educators teach personal finance to students without doing an analysis and ask questions before applying a personal finance curriculum?
Know the difference
No school district is identical, and each has different study bodies with different needs. For example, there are school districts where a majority of students are on free or reduced lunch and others were the median family income is in the six figures. So how does an educator teach personal finance when one student body barely has enough to eat and the other has plenty of choices of what to eat?
What is needed is designing a curriculum based on the student body. If your student body lives in an environment where renting an apartment and pre-paid debit cards are the norm it does not make sense to teach students about the foreign stock exchange? I am not saying you shouldn’t look at a later date but know your student body and what they are going through in life.
Ask before applying
When I was teaching personal finance to 8th graders, a decent amount was from low-income households that cared more about knowing the difference between gross income and net income than the stock exchange. I also recall a time when a member of the community volunteered to teach a personal finance topic to an inner city school and mentioned her difficult experience.
The individual did not go further into details, but after looking at the curriculum, learning about the student body, and listening about her experience I could see why there was difficult experience. There was no connection between the curriculum, the student body, and the volunteer.
To best serve students do your homework and select personal finance curriculum based on their needs, learn about their backgrounds, and ask questions.
Personal finance & entrepreneur educator and blogger. Follow Mr. J on social media @MrJRealTalk