Edited by John B. Davis and Wilfred Dolfsma
Chapter 5: Teaching and learning in economics
Social economics aims for an economy dedicated to the achievement of individual dignity. The assumption of intrinsic worth and dignity of individuals provides a strong foundation for the human rights of all agents to self-determination and freedom (Clary et al., 2006; Lutz and Lux, 1988, 1999). Furthermore, the recognition that human dignity relates intimately to human rights lays the foundation for the inalienability of the rights of individuals not only in the context of political decisions but also in the social-economic realm (Lutz, 1999). For social economists, therefore, the dynamic and reflexive relationship between the extent to which economic processes and institutional contexts enhance individual capabilities and the impact of individuals on institutional practices is an indicator of social-economic development and progress (Sen, 1999). This chapter builds the case for the following two claims: first, that the significance of teaching and learning for social economists is bound up with their commitment to the intrinsic worth and rights of individuals to dignity, freedom and self-determination; and, second, that teaching and learning economics are integrally connected with the analytical and value foundations of economic perspectives as part of the evolution of social-economic systems, institutions, and of individuals (Emami, 2013). Two approaches to teaching and learning are contrasted in this chapter. The conventional approach sees learning as the acquisition of knowledge and information, and teaching as the delivery of these.
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