The Handbook for Economics Lecturers

4. Alternative forms of small-group teaching

Broadly speaking, economics instructors will focus on either technical material (i.e. the mechanics of a model or derivations) or engage with interpretive material, based on case studies, research papers, policy reports etc. One may encounter both aspects in the same tutorial, where technical material is introduced within the context of research papers or case studies. More commonly, however, there may be more of a separation. While knowledge construction and student engagement serve as guiding principles for both, instructors may adopt slightly different pedagogical approaches in each settings.

Generally, tool-based, more technical classes may have practice and repetition as an important element in them, while interpretive sessions may focus more on critical discussion.

Of course, students should be engaged in both settings, but instructors may choose different activities to facilitate this.

This section focuses on tips and techniques for planning tutorial teaching in a number of different settings: teaching problem sets (subsection 4.1), research based teaching (subsection 4.2), computer lab teaching (subsection 4.3), revision classes (subsection 4.4) very small teaching groups (subsection 4.5), small group lectures (subsection 4.6) and the use of classroom games (subsection 4.7).