Top-Down, Middle-Out, and Bottom-Up Processes: A Cognitive Perspective of Teaching and Learning Exconomics

23 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2005

See all articles by Ling Po Shiu

Ling Po Shiu

Department of Educational Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Chor-yiu Sin

Hong Kong Baptist University

Date Written: April 29, 2005

Abstract

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

Shiu, Ling Po and Sin, Chor-yiu, Top-Down, Middle-Out, and Bottom-Up Processes: A Cognitive Perspective of Teaching and Learning Exconomics (April 29, 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=752464 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.752464

Ling Po Shiu (Contact Author)

Department of Educational Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong ( email )

Hong Kong
Hong Kong
852-2609-6961 (Phone)
852-2603-6921 (Fax)

Chor-yiu Sin

Hong Kong Baptist University ( email )

Department of Economics
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Hong Kong

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