One of the ideas I explored this summer was the finding that students bring misconceptions into a course that need to be explicitly refuted if learning is to be transferable. It turns out that there is not that much known about what these misconceptions are in economics. What I plan to do this term is start each new topic with a question that illustrates a possible misconception. For example, for the topic we began yesterday (The Theories of Supply and Demand), I posed the following question:
An increase in the price of a product leads to a decrease in the amount people buy (what economists call ‘the quantity demanded’). But an increase in demand for a product leads to an increase in the price.
Is this a paradox?
Before the end of the topic, I’ll make an explicit effort to show students how that question should be answered.
I also plan to pay careful attention to what the students are learning and having trouble learning this semester so that I’ll have a better idea next time what the misconceptions are.