Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tip 28 Choose a Textbook

Summary: Choose a textbook you love. Brief Reviews of textbooks for AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics. A plug for using print media in the classroom.

When you adopt a textbook, you adopt the author's philosophy. The first text I used was Roger Arnold's Economics by Southwestern-Thomson Learning. I adopted this book because I had used it at the community college to brush up on my economics skills and the book made connections between seemingly unrelated topics using economic thinking. For example, some of the topic in the Arnold text were "How May Crime, Outsourcing, and Multitasking Be Related?" and "Does Your College or University Price Discriminate?"

The next textbook I adopted was Krugman-Wells Economics. I was overjoyed with the amount of rigorous work this text provided. At the time I felt that the text would provide me with enough materials to differentiate and individualize instruction.

The Mankiw text is a book I seriously considered. I feel that Greg is one of the top economists in world. I have seen Mr. Mankiw on Fox News, read his blog, and like his writing delivery. When I really want to understand a macro concept, I reference his intermediate text. On several occasions I have asked Mr. Mankiw questions, and he has answered them.

I often wonder if textbooks are perfect substitutes. One thing is for certain, textbook are strategically interdependent. All come with workbooks, website with PowerPoints, videos, and test questions to name a few.

Are textbooks a complement to instruction? I think any textbook can be adapted effectively in your classroom. Choose a textbook you love.

The College Board has a review of textbooks here.

Do you think that online textbooks and digitized media are a substitute for textbooks? Is all information for a principles of economics class online? Can a student use Google,, YouTube, and amosWEB to find all of the answers to their questions without reading a textbook?

I have found that many of my AP Microeconomics students this year would prefer to have the two-minute version of a concept. But when they use the computer to learn the concept, they lose the kind of deep thinking needed for the AP test. As long as the AP test demands higher order thinking skills, you will need a textbook to prepare students for the exam.

Your comments are welcome.

About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an author blogging at Mikeroeconomics. Mr. Fladlien believes that the climate is changing in the classroom and in weather patterns.


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