According to the latest study from the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC) at the George Washington University School of Business, 90 percent of teachers and 93 percent of other professionals believe that financial education should be a priority in school. Currently, an average of 65 percent of teachers are motivated to teach it, but findings indicate that professional development and their own mastery of the subject matter could increase their motivation.
Supported by the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation, Raising Awareness of the Importance of Personal Finance in School examines in depth how awareness, motivation and confidence in teaching these concepts can influence financial education in schools. GFLEC researchers collected data from teachers as well as other professionals to compare specific attitudes and experiences and determine the best ways to incentivize teachers to introduce financial education in the classroom.
“Given the evolving economic landscape, individuals in their teens are assuming far greater responsibilities for saving and investing, yet financial education in our nation’s schools has not kept pace with this seismic shift,” said Dr. Annamaria Lusardi, Denit Trust Chair of Economics and Accountancy and Academic Director of GFLEC. “Our study unveiled two primary reasons for this stagnation; educators who do not currently teach personal finance do not know where to start, and many of them feel underqualified to teach those subjects. It is time to give them the resources to turn this around.”
Some notable report findings include:
- 51 percent of teachers feel familiar with financial education, while 26 percent of other professionals feel familiar with it;
- 64 percent of teachers and 50 percent of other professionals perceive there is high demand among parents and students for financial education in school;
- 50 percent of those currently teaching personal finance cite their good understanding of the subject and their training/professional development as the most critical factors that aided them; and
- 48 percent of teachers of other subjects feel that training would boost their confidence about teaching personal finance.
Based on the findings from this study, professional development seems key in increasing confidence and motivation among teachers. Additionally, training should focus on improving teachers’ own personal financial knowledge, specific topics in financial education, and pedagogical approaches.