Top-Down, Middle-Out, and Bottom-Up Processes: A Cognitive Perspective of Teaching and Learning Exconomics
23 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2005
Date Written: April 29, 2005
The pedagogical value of graphical representations and analyses (GR and GA) in economics education is examined in a framework of top-down and bottom-up processes of thinking. We argue, with the support of two illustrative examples, that they are useful to the extent that they provide bridges between economic theories and facts. In particular, they can facilitate learning of economics by quantifying the concepts and conceptualizing the quantities. In this sense, they are tools of middle-out processes (c.f., White, 1993, with respect to science education). We also note that over-reliance on GR and GA may lead to misconceptions on the students' part. Hence, the challenge for educators and students of economics is to connect GR and GA upwardly with theories and downwardly with the empirical world.
Keywords: Graphical representation, minimum wage, sales tax, teaching of economics
JEL Classification: A12, A21, A22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation