Heterodox Economics

A National Workshop, Bristol, Wednesday 3 May 2006

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In the second of a series of subject-specific teaching economics workshops, Teaching Heterodox Economics was held on Wednesday May 3rd at the Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol.

The day was based upon the participants' responses to questions about their interests and concerns in the area of heterodoxy and pluralism. The first topic tackled the meaning of "heterodox" and, not surprisingly, left attendees with more questions than answers. But they relished the chance to spend time on this intellectual exercise. The middle session focussed on how lecturers "squeeze" heterodox ideas and concepts into the curriculum. Three models were studied and discussed:

  1. teaching an orthodox course but including bits and pieces of heterodoxy where possible,
  2. teaching orthodox economics in parallel with heterodox ideas, or
  3. teaching a "straight" heterodox course (e.g., Marxist Economics or History of Economic Thought).

The final session looked at innovative techniques for using heterodox concepts in the classroom, such as tweaking existing experiments and games, or using electronic media such as blogging.

The evaluation forms revealed that 100% of the participants agreed or strongly agreed that the workshop had been useful to them. The sharing of experiences and ideas was cited as the highlight, with one participant commenting: "It was really very useful to meet up with other heterodox economics teachers. Very nice venue & good catering."

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