The Handbook for Economics Lecturers

4.3 Summary of the parallel perspectives approach

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Overall, the module offers a thoroughgoing parallel perspectives approach, which manages to cover all the required orthodox concepts as well as heterodox concepts. The comparative and critical approach starts on day one and is reinforced through the entire module, in exercises, class discussions and assessment (see below). Although the author has not formally tested whether this approach generated better marks for students, it certainly improved student perceptions of the introductory microeconomics module and seemed to attract more students to opt for economics. The author employed a similar method in modules on intermediate microeconomics, industrial economics, and economics of the environment. In the first case, orthodox and heterodox were contrasted in the same way as in the level 1 module, but considering higher-level material. In the second case, three perspectives were used: neo-classical, Marxist and new institutionalist. In the third case, environmental economics was contrasted with ecological economics. In all three cases, the contrast began almost on day one of the module and was pursued throughout.