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Does Pluralism in Economics Education Make Better Educated, Happier Students? A Qualitative Analysis

Andrew Mearman (), Tim Wakeley, Gamila Shoib and Don Webber ()
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Tim Wakeley: Griffith University
Gamila Shoib: Griffith University

International Review of Economic Education, 2011, vol. 10, issue 2, 50-62

Abstract: This paper contributes to the debate on pluralism in the economics curriculum. Here pluralism means a diversity of theoretical perspectives. One set of pedagogical arguments for pluralism are those found in 'liberal' philosophy of education. To this end, the first part of the paper presents arguments for pluralism based on 'liberal' pedagogical arguments. The paper also notes more instrumental arguments for pluralism and the barriers to such an approach. Finally, the paper considers new primary evidence from focus groups on student perceptions of economics. This evidence shows support for the arguments that a pluralist curriculum is popular and develops cognitive capacities of criticism, comparison and analysis – exactly those argued for in (liberal) pedagogical discussion – as well as judgement, understanding and writing skills. However, pluralism as a teaching strategy may be more difficult for those delivering it.

Date: 2011
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