Teaching Money Management to Kids

An article by Richard James Rogers (author of The Quick Guide to Classroom Management).

Looking back at the Richard who was a school kid in the 90s is a happy experience. He had a naive excitement in all of his subjects, and really wanted to make his teachers proud of him. He enjoyed learning, and he decided from an early age that he wanted to help other kids learn things.

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Today he is a high school science teacher, and the author of this blog.

Some would say that he is a classic story of expected success: starting from a working-class background in which his parents had divorced when he was around 2-years-old, to becoming a university graduate, then teacher, then author and now blogger.

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But was it really enough in the 34-year time period that elapsed?

Invisible Anchors

Everyone told me that I could do it. Everyone encouraged me along the way. Nobody really doubted me.

Few people told me what I would later learn – that as we rise we are also pulled down by relatively unknown forces – ‘invisible anchors’.

The demons that many people face remain hidden in the closet of mediocrity, which often has a large sign on the front that reads ‘I have achieved success’.

We have been deceived, to a certain extent.

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These invisible anchors include:

  • Lust and the inefficient pursuit of its gratification
  • Alcohol and drugs (of which peer-pressure to ‘try’ can be massive)
  • Procrastination (amplified today by the compulsive use of mobile technology)
  • The mismanagement of money

George S. Clason speaks

For a large part of my working career my expenditure matched my income. I earned money and then I spent it. I lived paycheck-to-paycheck, no matter how large the paycheck increased over time.

Thankfully, I married an investment banker, and that changed things. She pointed out some of my errors and together we worked hard to achieve a milestone that many people set for themselves – we purchased a large house here in Bangkok.

But the balance sheet was still, well, balanced – what came in, went back out again.

Then, I discovered The Richest Man in Babylon, and it changed everything.

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The rules I put in place were as follows:

  • Save at least 10% of every penny you earn
  • Control your expenditure
  • Secure your lending – don’t lend money to anyone without securing an asset of equal value beforehand (e,g. jewelry that can be returned when the debt has been repaid)
  • Invest your money with trustworthy people and ventures – don’t ask a gardener to purchase gemstones or cryptocurrencies on your behalf, for example)
  • Have integrity: In this digital age of people-policing-each-other (sorry to say it how it is), one false move can destroy everything. Fraud, infidelity and even a temper-tantrum on an airplane (remember the Korean ‘nut-rage heiress’ and her sister?) can severely effect peoples’ trust in you and your business.
  • High risk, high return. Low risk, low return. High risk investments (such as stock) can yield very high returns, but they can also crash. Low-risk investments (such as real-estate) tend to slowly increase in value over time. The trick is dividing our money sensibly between the two types.
  • Rich people say “I control my life”. Poor people say “life happens to me”. I got this one from T. Harv Eker (author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind) and it really was a game0-changer for me when I changed my mindset from ‘I’m controlled’ to ‘I control’. I think it’s worth teaching kids that some people can’t help being poor though, despite their best efforts (people living in desperate conditions in the developing world, for example). However, for those of us privileged enough to have life’s basic necessities our mindset can literally take us from broke to rich).

The pioneer class

I taught these principles to my students in an ECA after school, once a week. I coupled these principles with the science of Platform Building (digital marketing and brand creation) and the kids loved designing their brands, logos and websites.

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I currently have 17 students signed up to continue the ECA from next week onwards, which is quite a large group as far as ECAs go.

Last year I also gave the students the option of taking an exam in Money Management principles, and a small group took it up. They earned certificates and learnt skills that will serve them incredibly well for the rest of their lives.

My thoughts on money management

It should be a compulsory life-skill that is taught at every level of secondary school. From games like Monopoly, to money-management simulations like those at practicalmoneyskills.com, there are a range of fun and useful ways to teach this essential subject.

A personal development

I’m currently studying for a Professional Certificate in FinTech (Financial Technology, which includes crytocurrencies and blockchain) with the University of Hong Kong.

I plan to take what I learn and teach it to my money management students in the ECA.

Finance and the way we use money is changing rapidly, and teachers everywhere would do well to skill up.

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Using Tablets in Teaching

An article by Richard James Rogers (author of The Quick Guide to Classroom Management).

I remember when the first iPad came out. As a chunky, cumbersome device that seemed to defy the goals of most other devices (maximizing, rather than minimising space), it lent itself mercilessly to all manner of jokes – many centered around sanitary towels.

In an educational context, however, school leaders and teachers were quick to see the benefits that tablets could bring to the classroom. They had large screens, longer battery life than smartphones and seemed more robust than laptops.

I’ve just purchased the latest generation of iPad – the iPad Pro 2018. It’s a beautiful device and I’m finding that it is helping me with a number of things in my job as a teacher.

I’d like to share my findings with you.

Parents’ evening

In the past I would bring student notebooks, data printed on paper and my own thoughts and suggestions to parents’ evening. This was inefficient, and involved quite a lot of heavy-carrying.

Now I use my iPad Pro and it’s brilliant:

  • I scan student work to my iPad using the CamScanner app (this is an app were you basically take a photograph and the iPad scans the photo like a document). I can then show the parents the student work on my iPad screen – I can even zoom in to show specific details.
  • With a simple ‘double-tap’ of the Apple Pencil on the home screen, I can open a notes page allowing me to write things down that I discuss with parents
  • My iPad can link to Google Sheets, so I can literally show the parents the latest assessment data for that class and discuss the progress of the student

Here’s a screen shot of some notes I made in a recent parents’ evening on the IPad Pro:

Some notes I made with a parent at a recent parents’ evening. As you can see, I’m still getting used to writing with the Apple Pencil.

 

Annotating student work

Probably the biggest way that the IPad Pro has helped me with my job is by allowing me to quickly annotate student work with the Apple Pencil, and then save that work as a pdf.

I teach IB Diploma Chemistry and one of the IB’s requirements is that student coursework be uploaded to their system in pdf format, and annotated if possible. Some teachers simply mark the work by hand and scan it, whereas others annotate the work with typed comments using Adobe Acrobat. I personally prefer the flexibility and depth of color of annotation that the Apple Pencil allows me. Just look at these examples below:

Where I see work annotation going in the future

I must admit that I am already amazed at the amount of printing and hassle that VLEs like Google Classroom have saved me. However, I see the ‘paperless’ classroom going a step further with tablets that have sketch capabilities, such as the iPad Pro. Students will be able to use these devices to annotate each other’s work (peer assessment) and annotate their own (self-assessment). The need for printing may be removed altogether, which saves trees and cuts costs.

But what about apps?

Ah yes, no good blog post about tablets would be complete without a list of favorite apps. Please allow me a moment on this.

Along with the advantages of using tablets that I’ve already mentioned, including the capability of students to annotate each other’s work, a number of great learning apps exist that can really take student achievement to the next level.

One of my favorites is the Gojimo app.

Gojimo contains question banks from a wide-variety of subjects and exam-boards (including IGCSE and A-Levels). It includes loads of multiple choice questions with model answers when kids get the questions wrong. There’s even a live-chat feature that students can use when they’re stuck.

I like using Gojimo on my iPad during private-tutoring/mentoring sessions. It’s a good way to get students focused and provides lots of source material for revision.

Another of my favorites, already mentioned, is the Noteability app:

I like this app because it has basically replaced all of my notebooks, and my wife is very happy about that!

I use Noteability for a wide-variety of things including:

  • Lesson-planning
  • Making notes in meetings
  • Annotating student work

For students, I can see Noteability being using in a range of creative ways:

  • Making revision notes
  • Annotating their own work, or each other’s
  • Creating assignments and presentations (Noteability allows users to copy content from the web seamlessly using ‘split-screen’ mode)
  • Making notes in class

There is the possibility that tablets may even replace traditional school notebooks in future too – removing the need for 11-year-old kids to carry really heavy bags around school all day (and this has already been linked to back problems).

Using Noteability to make classnotes in ‘split-screen’ mode

Conclusion

Tablets have the power to really take over many aspects of teaching, and this can save teachers and students time, energy, hassle and paper! I’ve only scratched the surface of what tablets can do in this short blog post (I haven’t talked about movie making with iMovie for example).

I’m glad I purchased my iPad Pro. It cannot replace all of the features of a laptop, but there are lots of cool things it can do!

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