We give the spotlight to Taylor’s College’s Economics lecturer, Ms Rayvathy S Kusalah as she shares about the importance of economics and how it affects our daily lives.
Have you ever wondered how the economy affects your life? And why it’s important to understand economics? We speak to Rayvathy S Kusalah, Senior Lecturer at Taylor’s College to share with us the importance of learning economics and how it affects our daily lives. With over 30 years of experience teaching economics and business modules, she currently teaches Economics for the Cambridge A Level and has been a CAIE examiner since 2016.
You’re right. Many parents or family members often talk about the importance of economics but students don’t understand why.
The study of economics explores how various stakeholders such as consumers and firms react to changes taking place in both the micro and macroeconomic environment. It’s an important subject as it provides knowledge of economic theories and their applications to our daily lives. For example, say you’re shopping for a programme to study and you chose one. Why? One reason is the fees — it’s because of the fees that you can afford the programme. But if there’s a change in pricing (fees), it’ll affect your choice of course and the institution to pursue your study as it affects your affordability to study. Hence, economics impacts you every day and the changes in the value of money will change your purchasing power.
By learning economics, you’ll learn to manage your financial resources better and make more informed decisions. It also helps you understand why certain economic events occur and tell you what your next course of action should be. For example, if you’ve a business and there’s a price increase in resources such as raw materials, you may need to diversify your suppliers to reduce costs and adapt your business to the new environment.
Economics uses a lot of logical reasoning and its theories are applicable to everyday life. I pursued the study of Economics as I found it interesting and challenging when I took Economics in STPM.
I’ve always been an avid reader. I read a lot of articles/news during my secondary school years and was intrigued about the intertwined relationship between politics and government policies and how it impacted the economy in general and our lives. A lot of economic theories are also applicable to business in general and I realised that reasoning and comprehension are the key skills to understanding economics. It’s not at all based on route learning but requires reading and understanding of its policies and applications beyond the texts.
I don’t have a particular theory that’s my favourite, but I can share an important one which is called the government economic policies. If you know, politics and economics are married — you can’t separate one from the other. Any changes to laws or regulatory frameworks can impact us. For instance, say the age to obtain a driving license is increased by the government. This will impact many people such as those entering the workforce as they may have to consider alternative means of transportation, thus affecting their mobility and potential income.
Hence, government economic policies are important knowledge to learn and are taught throughout the economics syllabus. Even if you don’t study economics, these policies will still impact you — you can’t afford to be ignorant about it.
The advanced economic theories are quite challenging for students when they study A2 in Cambridge A Level. I simplify my teaching via the use of various tools such as charts, tables, and diagrams summary. I usually simplify my notes via summary at the end of every lesson and provide opportunities for students to practise diagrams and apply the formulas for calculations during tutorials.
Students also struggle in doing essays and case studies. I teach them techniques of data analysis and essay answering techniques before they attempt these types of questions. Students are also free to see me for both virtual and in-person consultations to clear their doubts and get feedback on the work they’ve submitted. I share a lot of articles related to economics for my students to read and apply the theories leant in class to real-life applications. These articles are also part of class discussion as it makes the study of economics more interesting and relevant to students.
Many of my students have taken part in economics essay writing competitions and won awards for their essay writing. Some have done excellent videos as part of class projects and presentations. Once, I assigned my students to do research on economic systems. One particular group made a video about North Korea’s economic systems. It was truly impressive as the presentation was engaging, relevant, and was able to pique the interest and capture the attention of everyone in the class.
These projects give them opportunities to explore different aspects of economics and are tools they can put down in university application as it carries weight. In group work, they learn collaborative skills, soft skills, and even communication skills that they can't find in textbooks. There are also CSR projects by the university which I strongly encourage my students to participate in as it’s a good opportunity for them to give back and help society besides helping them to develop and explore many life skills.
I’ll tell them not to be afraid to take economics, have an open mind, and be willing to learn and explore so that the journey will be fun. Don’t take it as purely academic, make it fun & enjoyable instead. Don't worry as everyone is on the same level playing field. If you’re not open to new ideas and prospects, you can’t learn or acquire new skills to progress in life. I’d like to share a quote, “I stared at the mirror and I saw the barrier to my progress.” It simply means you’re the one restricting yourself.
And finally, don’t be afraid of numbers. Be ready to reinvent yourself through the study of Economics.
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