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Learning economics by "pulling our own chestnuts out of the fire".
Economics students study the subject with a quiz that "helps us to learn by ourselves".
Students of the Economics course taught by Professor Mikel Arcelus have a novel way of learning. Arcelus launched last year - and has continued this year - the Master's in Economics Competition. "We have given it this name to emulate TV programmes such as Master Chef or Master DIY, among others," says the teacher with a smile. It is a group competition between students in which they are asked questions related to economics, and they have to answer them by finding the answers on their own. The students have a time limit - one hour and twenty minutes - "to generate a little bit of tension, and they also had penalties if they handed in their answers late," Arcelus explains. "Last year it was also done and the winners won dinners in different restaurants in the city. This year, the winners have won a rucksack and a Kukuxumusu T-shirt".
The group that won this year is made up of students Manuel Gómez, Samuel Callejo, José Pou, José Salido and María del Vigo. "They won because they scored the most points in the general classification, 287 out of 320", explains Mikel Arcelus, who adds: "It's a different way of learning, the idea is that before teaching the subject they have done some research. And in the following class, depending on how they have answered the questions, the class is taught. In other words, if we ask 10 questions and there are 3 of them that the groups have answered well, those topics are not even discussed. We insist more on those questions where they may have had more doubts," concludes the teacher at Tecnun.
José Pou is one of this year's award winners. He is studying Industrial Design Engineering and says that in the Economics course "we had two parts of group work. In one of them, that of professor Mikel Arcelus, we did three group practicals in which he presented us with different questions related to economics and we had to search the Internet and use these search skills to find out the result and thus learn about economics first hand. In other words, we had to pull our own chestnuts out of the fire. One question I really liked was the one that asked us to try to explain economics to the children, because it was not just about looking on the internet, but also about using our wits.
For her part, another of the award winners, María del Vigo, thinks it is a very good initiative "because it helps us to learn by ourselves, as we have to be the ones to look for the information. We do the research first, and in the following classes the subject is explained. I think it's a very good way to motivate us in the subject. Thanks to this I have discovered that I really like the world of economics. I had never taught this subject at school, but I see that in the end the world moves thanks to economics, so discovering how it works seems very interesting to me".